The ultimate guide to women’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
Each boot manufacturer also has its own template around which the boot is built (this is known as a last). So it’s well worth trying on a few different models in order to find the perfect fit. Take them for a short walk to check for any discomfort or fit issues, such as your heel lifting which is a classic cause of blisters.
Walking boots are either made from a synthetic fabric, natural leather/suede, or a combination of the two. Full leather boots may be stiffer, more expensive, and more labour-intensive than a fabric equivalent. But with a little time and care, they quickly become a trusted walking companion and can be re-soled when worn out to extend their life. This guide showcases a variety of boots and shoes in different fabrics and for different conditions, so you can choose that ones that best suit you.
Keen Circadia Waterproof Shoe
Weight 1010g/pair size 40
This sturdy yet comfortable waterproof walking shoe features a slightly higher cut than a standard shoe for extra support at the ankle, a heel lock system for a snug and supportive fit at the back of the foot, a contoured footbed, and a smooth rolling action as you walk. The fit is fairly roomy, offering plenty of space in the toe box which is ideal for wider feet or bunions. The leather upper looks smart, while reinforced areas at the toe and heel add protection for your feet and longevity to your shoes.
Salewa Mountain Trainer 2 Gore-Tex Shoe
Weight 930g/pair size 40
This smart looking approach shoe is designed for mountain use, with a precise shape, grippy Vibram outsole, and waterproof Gore-Tex-lined suede upper. Away from the mountains it’s also a versatile all-round walking shoe, with cushioning and protection for long days out on easier trails. Superbly comfortable to wear, with a moulded footbed and to-the-toe lacing for a foot-hugging fit, it’s an ideal companion on steep, technical terrain, as well as more specialist uses such as scrambling and via ferrata, when trusting your feet is top priority.
Terrex AX4 Mid GTX
Weight 780g/pair size 40.5
Adidas Terrex is best known for trail running kit, and this shines through in these lightweight hiking boots, designed for moving fast and light across rugged terrain. Comfortable and flexible yet protective and grippy, the Continental rubber outsole offers superb traction in wet or dry conditions. The mid-height cut adds support and protection around the ankle, while Gore-Tex waterproofing keeps your feet warm and dry. Less sturdy than a traditional women’s walking boot, they’re a good choice for travel and lower-level walking with a lighter pack.
AKU Alterra Lite Mid GTX
Weight 886g/pair size 40
Some of the most comfortable women’s walking boots we’ve tested, these lightweight, mid-height boots from Italian footwear brand AKU combine a soft suede and fabric upper with a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry. Ideal for year-round walking on easier terrain, and versatile enough for everyday wear, the cushioned midsole offers comfort and protection, while the grippy outsole holds fast on rock, mud and grass. The lacing pulls the suede outer panel up and around the foot to create a snug and secure feel.
On Cloudtrax Mid
Weight 746g/pair size 40.5
These super-lightweight, mid-height boots look smart enough for everyday wear and perform well on the trails. True to their name, the feel is like walking on clouds. They are incredibly light and cushioned but without forfeiting the stability required to navigate more technical terrain. The smooth heel-toe transition feels great and increases efficiency. They’re not waterproof but they are breathable, making them a great choice for warm, dry weather walking. The design at the rear of the ankle cuff may irritate problem-prone Achilles tendons.
Hanwag Blueridge ES Boot
Weight 1030g/pair size 40.5
Made in Europe with a strong emphasis on responsible manufacturing, these versatile women’s walking boots are another great choice for year-round walking. The upper combines a waterproof, PFC-free HANWAG EcoShell membrane with robust Perwanger leather for durable protection for your feet. The Terragrip outsole has large, 4mm lugs for great all-round grip, while the midsole gives a smooth ride that’s cushioned enough for comfort while still maintaining precision for foot placements on technical terrain. The fit is fairly narrow, with a tapered toebox and wraparound lacing for a secure feel throughout the foot.
Zamberlan 311 Ultra Lite GTX
Weight 1080g/pair size 40
Handcrafted in Italy, with a full leather upper and classic styling, these walking boots are surprisingly lightweight to wear, and comfortable straight from the box with no breaking in required. There’s generous ankle padding and a soft fabric lining, a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, and a hardwearing leather outer that, with the right care, will last a lifetime. The brass lace hooks look great, too. The Vibram outsole is stiff and protective, with a chunky tread that grips well on mud and wet grass.
Berghaus Expediator Trek 2.0
Weight 848g/pair size 40
Comfortable straight from the box, these lighter-weight boots balance a cushioned and comfortable feel with a sturdy construction, waterproof membrane and hardwearing outsole. The fit is snugly supportive throughout the ankle and foot, with a generously accommodating toebox, well-suited to those with wider feet. The upper combines smart suede with mesh panels and an Achilles tendon cut-out for extra comfort. Being a lower height than a standard boot reduces restriction and pressure around the ankle.
Altberg Fremington Walking Boot
Weight 1050g/pair size 40
Handmade in Yorkshire, Altberg’s boots are available in a range of widths and foot-shapes, with a specialist boot-fitting service available. The Fremington is one of the brand’s most popular women’s walking boots, with its soft padded leather ankle cuff and smart, one-piece leather upper. The sole unit is designed with more flex, and the upper to be softer and supple, than the equivalent men's walking boot. A good choice for lower-level walking, the outsole is protective and grippy Vibram Masai rubber with a lightweight shock absorbing midlayer.
* 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. Join today from only £3.21 per month.
With over 500 Ramblers groups right across Britain there’s probably one (or more) near you. Here’s how and why you should join one for a sociable stroll.
Discover how walking can reward you with huge health benefits including a boost in mood. And it’s fun!