Ultimate guide to the best walking wellies
Find your perfect pair
Wellies are just the thing for the mud and endless puddles of a great British winter. But which come out on top when it comes to walking? With their slip-on design and less-than-grippy tread, wellies can rapidly become more of a chore than a pleasure to walk in.
Fortunately, however, it is possible to find wet-weather footwear that combines the reliable waterproofing of a traditional Wellington with the comfort and traction of a walking boot.
To make things easier for you, we've tested and reviewed some of the best, along with the cosiest socks to pair them with.
Regatta Harper Cosy Ankle Wellies
With a fun print, these ankle-height wellies are ideal for damp days in the garden, walks in wet grass, travel, and other occasions when full-length wellies seem like overkill. Made from natural rubber, they're a relaxed fit. They also have a soft lining, comfortably cushioned footbed, handy loops for pulling them on, and multidirectional lugs in the sole, for traction on slippery ground.
Barbour Bede Wellington Boots
Walk magazine Best in Test
Barbour's classic, full-length rubber wellies combine a contoured footbed, for a comfortable and secure fit, with a grippy outsole that's great for wet, muddy walks, paddling and wading. The cut is straight, with a fairly generous fit, though a top buckle gives some calf-width adjustment. They also have a smart tartan lining. A sturdy rubber lip on the heel makes them easier to take off, especially when muddy.
Ariat Belford Gore-Tex Boot
Stylish yet practical, these full-length boots combine high-quality leather with a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane for ultimate comfort and protection. The calf width is adjustable, the footbed is secure and cushioned, and the outsole offers decent grip in most conditions. The leather will need regular care, especially if exposed to water - but if well looked after, they'll last. Ideal for pub walks, dog walks, and even horse riding.
Bogs Essential Light
Some of the comfiest traditional-style wellies on test, these boots are light and flexible, with a contoured footbed and a wonderfully cushioned feel - ideal for protection from rocky, stony ground, and for all-day wear. The neoprene upper is comfortable, insulating and stretchy, accommodating a range of calf sizes. A rugged outsole offers superb all-round grip - including on snow, while a rear lip allows for easy removal.
Keen Greta Tall
For longer walks or technical terrain, it's worth choosing a boot that offers a snugger and more adjustable fit than a standard welly. As well as helping you keep your footing, this will reduce the likelihood of rubbing or blisters. These comfy boots from Keen combine the height and waterproofing of a welly with the full-length lacing and protective, grippy outsole of a walking boot.
The Muck Boot Company Duck Lace-up Leather Short Boots
Combining a rubber lower panel with a smart, full-grain waterproof leather and padded fabric lace-up upper, these boots are a great option for walks with puddles and wet grass, when you don't need the full-length waterproofing of a traditional welly. The contoured, memory-foam footbed offers superb comfort and a secure fit, while the outsole is durable and grippy in all but the muddiest conditions. A great-looking and versatile boot.
Hound Racefield 2 Zipped
Walk magazine Best in Test
Handmade in Europe, these full-length, natural-rubber wellies combine a comfortable, flexible ankle with a secure and supportive foot. The 4mm neoprene insulation creates a warm and cushioned inner. They hold the foot comfortably and securely even over several miles of rough, wet and muddy trails. The deep tread grips well on mud and grass. The calf zip makes putting them on very easy, but they are also available without a zip for £109.95.
The Muck Boot Company Derwent II Short Boots
Shorter than a standard welly, but still tall enough to cope with puddles and mud, these feel less cumbersome than full-length boots, while being warm - making them great for winter walking. The all-rubber foot panel is supportive and tough, and the waterproof neoprene upper is comfortable and flexible. Good grip, on a par with the other wellies. Just bear in mind that the size and volume are larger than average.
Le Chameau Vierzon Jersey Lined Wellington Boots
These full-length, stylish boots are handcrafted from natural rubber, with a polycotton lining. They're lighter and feel cooler than other similar-height wellies, and hold the foot well during walking. The upper feels soft and flexible, offering unrestricted movement and reducing fatigue on longer walks, while the outsole offers a decent amount of grip. The fit is slim to average, while a top buckle allows calf adjustment for a secure fit.
The Dryboot Company Harris Dryboot
An all-rubber outer means these boots are completely waterproof, while full-length lacing holds the foot securely for a good fit. The upper is comfortably padded, while underfoot the tread is grippy, with an integrated steel shank for excellent protection. Best suited to wet and muddy walking, they're also good for gardening thanks to the shank. They come up large, so you may need to go down a size.
Hanwag Banks Winter GTX
This high-top winter version of a classic trekking boot combines full-length lacing with a Gore-Tex lining and leather and synthetic upper. The design provides superior fit, grip and all-day comfort compared with a welly - but isn't as high or submersible. They're also more expensive than most, and require more care. But they're a joy to wear, and will be durable and long-lasting. Best for wet-weather walks, rather than wading.
Ariat Moresby Tall waterproof Boot
These full-height, full-grain leather and suede boots offer a lighter feel and a better fit around the foot and ankle than a traditional rubber welly. However, they're pricey, and will need regular care to keep the leather looking and performing at its best. The tread is grippy, cushioned and made from partly recycled rubber. Smart, comfortable and destined for many years of use, they're ideal for walking on wet grass, moorland and forest trails.
Muddy Puddles Puddleflex Fleece Lined Wellies
A favourite with our puddle monsters for their brushed inner and soft, fleecy cuff, these boots are light and flexible - great for wet walks and splashing. They're warmer than standard wellies, but not too hot for year-round use. The sole is grippy, and there's a reflective strip on the back for visibility.
The Muck Boot Company Kids' Forager Tall Boots
Walk magazine Best in Test
With a lightweight and unrestrictive upper and a sturdy, grippy and protective sole, these boots are great for adventurous kids - they can play and climb as they would in trainers, but with waterproof protection. The soft upper can also be rolled down to make ankle boots if preferred. These boots aren't particularly warm, however, so you'll need to add cosy socks for winter.
Vivobarefoot Fulham II Kids
A firm favourite in our household, these boots are super-comfortable for walks and everyday adventures. The soles are grippy and protective, while allowing natural foot movement, and the leather uppers are sourced from small-scale farmers with free-roaming cattle. These aren't completely waterproof, so little feet may get wet in deep puddles, but they do protect against wet grass, pavement puddles and rain.
Bogs York Solid
Like the adult version, these wellies have a rubber foot section and neoprene upper. They're still totally waterproof, but offer more flex, making them comfortable for longer days out. Rated to -20 degrees C, they should also prevent cold toes, while the cut-away front and side handles make them easier to get on. There's also a grippy sole and reflective safety details on the rear.
Farlows Ranger Knitted Knee High Boot Socks
Made in the UK. these men's thick wool socks feature nylon reinforcement in the heel and toe for durability. The terry loop construction is cushioned and warm.
EDZ Merino Calf Length Boot Sock
These socks are super-soft and cosy, thanks to a durable naturally antimicrobial merino wool blend, like wearing a hug from knees to toes.
Muddy Puddles Merino Mix Socks
A great choice for little toes on wet-weather walks, these socks are made in Italy from a soft and comfortable merino wool blend in a terry loop construction.
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.
Ramblers Members also receive a 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor, home to many of the outdoor brands featured in this article and a great place to get expert advice on walking gear. When this discount is used a percentage of the purchase price is returned to the Ramblers to help us look after the places you love to explore.
Whether on canal-side towpaths or rocky summits, choosing the right footwear is essential for safe and enjoyable walking that’s good for you and your feet.
Choose the right footwear to get the maximum enjoyment from your walk. Read our expert advice on choosing the right walking boots for you.