The ultimate guide to men’s walking boots and shoes
How to choose your perfect pair
Jen & Sim Benson have been testing walking gear on behalf of the Ramblers since 2019.
A buyer's guide
Men’s walking boots and shoes come in a vast range of shapes, sizes, weights and uses, so it can be hard to know where to start. This guide showcases a range of styles suitable for different foot shapes and activities, from warm weather travel to rainy days in the hills. Some are light and flexible, instantly comfortable but best for less technical terrain or moving fast and light. Others have stiffer soles and a tough upper to support and protect your feet when you’re crossing rocky ground or carrying a heavy pack. All are waterproof for year-round use, but some are also available in more breathable non-waterproof versions.
In all cases we’d strongly advise going into a good outdoor shop and trying a few pairs on. It doesn’t matter how good the shoe is if it doesn’t fit you perfectly.
AKU Tengu Low GTX Shoe
Weight 1226g/pair size 45
This tough walking shoe from Italian brand AKU is best suited for mountain environments. The chunky Vibram sole is grippy on all surfaces and features a shaped toe section designed for scrambling. The sole is stiff and cushioned with a rocker action to aid walking, providing good underfoot protection when walking on rocky terrain. The upper fits like a sock and the lacing does a great job of holding your foot in place securely. An elasticated Gore-Tex inner means these are fully waterproof. The fit is on the slim side and the sizing is slightly large. Made in Europe from all European materials.
Hanwag Banks Low Shoe
Weight 958g/pair size 46
These sturdy walking shoes with a Gore-Tex membrane combine a suede and nubuck leather upper with Hanwag’s Endurance Hike sole making them ideal for longer walks on lower-level trails. The padded tongue is designed for comfort and allows easy foot entry. The sole is grippy on most surfaces but does struggle in mud. They are comfortable and tough with a roomy toe box and secure heel. With regular care these shoes will last for a long time, but when they start to wear out they can be re-soled. Made in Europe from EU-sourced materials, they’re smart enough for everyday use and also work well for travelling and walking holidays. Other versions are available including: leather-lined (non-Gore-Tex); bunion-fit; mid height; and high-top insulated winter boots.
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid Leather GTX
Weight 1006g/pair size 46
Based on a long-distance trail running shoe, these mid-height boots feel light, flexible and very comfortable with a well cushioned footbed. La Sportiva’s own sole unit is grippy on rock and trail, but the shallow tread struggles a bit in deeper mud. The hardwearing nubuck leather upper is reinforced with a rubber toe bumper. The padded ankle cuff adds protection from weather and debris without feeling restrictive or adding much weight, while Gore-Tex waterproofing keeps your feet dry. Available in standard and wide fit but sized a little small.
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
Weight 1376g/pair size 46
This classic walking boot is durable and grippy enough for any terrain but still light and comfortable enough for easier walks or travel. The padded inner and nubuck leather outer with a Gore-Tex lining is protective, supportive and comfortable straight from the box. The Vibram sole is grippy on rock and the pronounced heel aids grip in mud. The sizing runs very slightly small in length but average in width and volume. Also available in a narrower or wider fit and up to size UK15.
Jack Wolfskin Terraventure Texapore Mid
Weight 1078g/pair size 45.5
Great for less technical trails, these good-looking mid-height boots are well padded and comfortable with roomy overall fit. The grip is good on most surfaces, but the shallow tread and lack of a pronounced heel aren’t ideal for deep mud. Designed and manufactured with sustainability in mind they feature a 100% recycled synthetic upper and lining, a recycled ortholite insole, a cork/EVA midsole, recycled zinc lace hooks, and a partly recycled rubber Vibram Ecostep outsole. Jack Wolfskin is a member of the Fair Wear foundation, all its products are completely PFC-free and all recycled materials are GWS (Global Recycling Standard) accredited.
inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX boot
Offer price £75 (RRP £155)
Weight 796g/pair size 45.5
These superlight boots are great for fast and light long-distance trails or everyday walking, cleverly combining trainer-like weight and comfort with the support and protection of a walking boot. The Graphene-enhanced rubber is grippy and durable with widely spaced studs that clear mud well. The midsole and insole are nicely cushioned, and the waterproof, Gore-Tex-lined upper feels padded and supportive, while the fit at the heel feels snug and secure. The fit is average in length and width with a slightly narrow toe.
inov-8 are supporting the Ramblers. For every pair sold using the code RAMBLERS89, inov-8 will donate £10 to the Ramblers to help protect and improve the places, paths, tracks and trails we all love to wander. Simply enter the code at checkout.
Scarpa Terra GTX Boot
Weight 1344g/pair size 46
The newest version of this classic, full-grain leather, Gore-Tex-lined walking boot has a slightly wider toebox than its predecessor and improvements in some of the stitching and materials. Perfect for year-round British hill walking, it’s a comfortable and dependable boot that’s easy to look after and should last years. The upper is lightly cushioned, with a soft leather tongue and padded ankle so they feel great straight from the box. The improved lacing and shaped heel holds the foot securely. The Vibram sole and cushioned mid-sole offer good grip on most terrain and protection from rocky ground. The fit is average in length, width and volume and, although wider than previous versions, it still narrows at the toe. Made in Europe.
Berghaus Supalite II Gore-Tex Boot
Weight 1184g/pair size 46
This updated version of the classic Supalite holds true to the original with a one-piece full grain leather upper, Gore-Tex waterproofing, leather lining, low weight, and classic looks. Memory foam under the heel and toe provides a nice level of cushioning. The Vibram outsole has widely spaced lugs which are grippy and clear mud well. These are very flexible for a leather boot, which is great for comfort but lacks the protection and ankle support of more traditional leather boots, so they’re best suited to less technical paths and trails.
Scarpa Rush TRK GTX
Weight 1222g/pair size 46
A previous Walk magazine Best in Test winner, this boot offers levels of stability and protection normally found in heavier boots but without the weight. The sole is nicely cushioned and grippy on all terrain in both wet and dry conditions. It’s also stiff enough to be comfortable when walking on rocky ground. The suede upper looks great and has proven to be tough and protective during long-term testing. Generously padded at the ankle, the lacing gives a secure fit and stable feel for all-day comfort. The sizing comes up slightly large, with a wider toe that should fit most people well.
* Recommended retail prices correct at the time of writing. Please refer to manufacturer or retailer websites for the very latest pricing information.
Our gear testers, Sim & Jen Benson have a wealth of outdoor and walking experience. They provide regular gear reviews and kit advice in Walk magazine, the Ramblers quarterly magazine that forms part of your Ramblers membership benefits. Become a Ramblers member here.
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