The Top 5 Walking Boots Reviewed
If you’re thinking about hitting the trails this year, then your choice of footwear is no doubt at the top of your list of priorities. Nothing is worse for body or soul than blisters all over your feet while you’re trying to enjoy yourself in nature. The good news is that there are many hiking and walking boots out there that are specially designed to take the load off any one particular section of the foot and distribute pressure evenly.
Walking boot technology has moved on considerably over the last couple of decades. No longer are hikers restricted to wearing big, heavy and clumsy boots which strip flesh from bone if you’re not wearing two pairs of socks. Instead, manufacturers have started giving people what they want: light, durable, and grippy boots which combine new materials with old.
Choosing the right walking boot, however, can still be a challenge, so in this review, we’re going to investigate some of the advantages and features of the best walking boots currently available on the market. Let’s dive right in.
For those of you in a hurry, our choice for the Best Walking Boots is the Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II.
Best Overall Walking Boots
Columbia wanted the New Ridge Plus II to be a do-it-all outdoor boot that offered some “quality-of-life” perks for the wearer. The biggest perk is undoubtedly the waterproofing technology – something that we see more and more of in the outdoor equipment category. The company uses a special kind of waterproofing which it says can withstand all the mud and abrasion that walkers are likely to encounter as they plod along trails and climb up mountains.
Unfortunately, as with any waterproofing technology on boots, there are issues. Although the waterproofing application itself appears to be sufficient to prevent your toes from getting soggy, the gap between the tongue of the boot at the upper isn’t watertight, meaning that it’s fairly easy for water to penetrate into the cavity. While some users have found that things improve once the boot is broken in, others have had on-running problems.
What about dry weather performance? While the boots might not be the most stylish offering (mainly thanks to the affordable price), they do come in substantially lighter than many walking boots of old, thanks to the combination of old materials with new. The sole is made from a grippy rubber, and the upper from natural leather – a plus for people who want comfort.
Columbia has also considered the fact that people wear a different kind of sock while hiking and so provides extra width at the top of the boot where it meets the ankle. Wearing two pairs of socks or a single, thick sock should be no problem with this boot. See our roundup of the best socks for walking for more options.
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: This Columbia Men's Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof hiking boot features Techlite lightweight midsole for long lasting comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return as well as Omni-Grip advanced traction rubber sole for slip-free movement.
- HANDY FEATURES: This men's hiking boot is crafted of a waterproof full-grain leather and suede lightweight construction as well as a durable mesh tongue for breathability and comfort during treacherous days out on the trail or on the mountain.
- ADJUSTABLE FEATURES: The Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof II hiking boot features a lace-up closure for an adjustable, secure fit.
- DURABILITY: This men's waterproof hiking boot is lightweight and durable.
- This Columbia Men's Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof hiking boot is the perfect waterproof addition to a treacherous day out on the trail or up the mountain.
Best Walking Boots For Women
The Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus boot is a boot for all seasons. At home in both desert terrain and temperate forests, this is a boot that you can take anywhere and know that you’ve got something reliable keeping you planted on the ground, dry and blister-free.
Just as with the men’s Newton Ridge, Columbia’s women’s offering beds in quickly (within a few miles of hiking). This means that it’s the kind of boot that you can buy on the internet before a hiking trip and then break in while you’re out on the trail (no practice runs or tedious marches around the local park).
The boot is also surprisingly lightweight, given the specs. It features Columbia’s waterproofing technology, a special kind of grippy rubber sole with multi-directional grip capabilities, and standard adjustable lacing, allowing you to accommodate wider or taller feet (or both).
One of the downsides, though, is that the boot appears to have breathability issues. Thanks to all the synthetic materials, waterproofing, and additional layers, it’s easy for the person wearing the shoe to begin suffering from sticky, sweaty feet: not something that you want on a long hike out in the wilderness. Sure, these boots offer excellent performance in cold weather, but if you decide to take them out in the summer, then you’ll need to think very carefully about the kind of socks that you pair with them.
The Women’s Newton Ridge Plus, therefore, is a women’s specific hiking boot that comes with all of the technologies that you’d expect to find on the men’s range. However, the choice of materials means that breathability might not be good enough for some, especially in hot weather. For walking in very warm temperatures a good pair of walking sandals might be better.
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Columbia Women's Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot features our lightweight, durable midsole for long lasting comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return as well as an advanced traction rubber sole for slip-free movement on rough ground.
- HANDY FEATURES: Treacherous days out on the trail are comfortable and worry-free with this boot's waterproof full-grain leather and mesh bootie construction and its durable mesh tongue for breathability.
- ADJUSTABLE FEATURES: The Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot features a lace-up closure for an adjustable, secure fit.
- FEMININE STYLE: This women's waterproof hiking boot delivers style and durability with its contrasting color combinations and soft mesh exterior.
- OMNI-GRIP: This multi-terrain traction system matches specially formulated compounds and treads to specific environments. A dual-zone winter tread pattern ensures solid footing on surfaces such as ice and snow.
Best Walking Boots For Men
Merrell wanted to create a walking boot that would improve upon the company’s long line of illustrious hiking footwear. The hope was that the Moab 2 would do just that. But did it?
The main upgrade of the Moab 2 is the waterproofing technology. Like other big players in the hiking and walking boot industry, Merrell is responding to customer demands for boots to keep their feet dry as they wade through puddles, rivers, and wet, dense grass. The company uses a special kind of waterproofing technology similar to that used by other manufacturers, but the implementation of the technology is somewhat lacking.
It is perhaps not accurate to market the Moab 2 as a waterproof boot. Water-resistant might be more to the point. Hikers have found that these boots tend to let water in (even when new), in normal wet conditions (such as walking through grass in the rain). Waterproof boots should keep socks dry in these conditions, but the Moab doesn’t.
With that said, there are positives to this boot. The design is attractive. And the Vibram soles (made by Vibram, the company responsible for toe-shoes) are grippy and high-performance. The boot has a degree of flexibility that many other rigid walking boots do not, making it easier to traverse rocks and uneven ground.
The comfort factor is exceptional too. The boots are lightweight and make an excellent companion on a hunting trip for situations where you spend many hours trekking through thick forest and brush.
Merrell is a brand that many people in the hiking boot market recognize. It’s been around for a while. But despite the company’s longevity, they’re still getting to grips with waterproofing. Because they can let water in, these boots may be disappointing for people who are dead-set on keeping their feet dry no matter what the weather or the terrain.
- M Select DRY seals out water and lets moisture escape so you stay dry when you're on the move.Molded nylon arch shank
- Performance suede leather and mesh upper
- Bellows, closed-cell foam tongue keeps moisture and debris out. Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability, 5mm lug depth
- Protective rubber toe cap, Breathable mesh lining
- Vibram TC5+ sole, 5mm lug depth
Best Walking Boots For Winter
The Timberland Men’s White Ledge is among the most stylish of walking boots currently available on the market. Thanks to its elegant branding, 100 percent leather upper, and rustproof speed lace hardware, this is one good-looking boot.
It’s important to note, however, that the Timberland isn’t all about style. It has substance too. Perhaps the most significant feature of the boot – and something which differentiates it from the competition – is the implementation of the company’s breathable footbed which wicks moisture away from the wearer. You can wear this boot all day, even in hot weather, and not suffer from any excess sweating.
However, for all the boot’s pluses, there are some niggling quality control issues. For starters, the attractive eyelets around the collar of the shoe are riveted to the boot material. The problem is that these eyelets can come loose if you pull hard on the laces. Because of the way that they fix to the shoe, they cannot be replaced easily and usually require you to take the boot to a professional repair shop.
The other problem has to do support. If you don’t need ankle support while walking, then these shoes will perform adequately. If you do, however, then you may struggle: the collar of the shoe is quite short and not particularly rigid or firm.
Finally, the Men’s White Ledge is not waterproof, though Timberland claims that the full-leather upper is. These boots, therefore, are for people who want to hike in dry weather in style. They are not for those who want a companion all year round, particularly in the winter months.
- Our White Ledge Men's Hiking Boots have premium full-grain waterproof leather uppers, seam-sealed waterproof construction, and rustproof speed lace hardware with hooks at top for secure lacing.
- LOOK NO FURTHER for trail-ready performance and style. Our selection of men's hiking boots, waterproof hiking boots, casual boots, and casual shoes is designed to fit in with your outdoor-ready ensembles.
- TIMBERLAND HAS YOU COVERED whether you're looking for men's boots, women's boots, or kids boots. For the best in hiking boots, rain boots, work boots, casual shoes & boots & more, choose Timberland.
- WHAT YOU NEED IN THE OUTDOORS: Timberland has the gear you need for all your outdoor adventures, including jackets and coats for outdoor activities, backpacks and luggage & outdoor accessories.
- THE BEST IN OUTDOORS: Trust Timberland's line of high-quality men's, women's, and kids boots. hiking boots, outdoor gear, and activewear for all your activities from the trail to the sea to the streets.
Best Waterproof Walking Boots
When Skechers were designing the Men’s Relment Pelmo Chukka, they wanted to create a boot that was both attractive and suitable for snow. The company knew that most people dislike the appearance of snow hiking boots and so decided to inject some of their customary style into the market.
While the Men’s Relment Pelmo Chukka is by no means the most attractive shoe that Skechers has ever created, it is better looking than many similar shoes in its segment (see our review of the best walking shoes for travel for more examples), thanks to its suede upper and contoured sole.
Like many other shoes in this review, the Men’s Relment Pelmo Chukka isn’t so much waterproof as it is water resistant. It’ll keep your feet dry if you plow through the odd bit of snow, but it won’t if you spend an hour knee-deep in a river.
Skechers has paid particular attention to sizing and, according to most reports, has done this well. Boots come in fine size gradations and are ergonomically designed to fit most feet shapes well.
As with anything, you get what you pay for. The Skechers are at the more affordable end of the market, providing sufficient grip and good performance in the snow.
- Relax fit
- Memory foam
Recommended Walking Boot Accessories
- Softens, preserves and waterproofs your favorite vinyl or leather boots, shoes and all smooth articles of leather
- Special premium mink oil liquid formula helps repel oil and salt stains
- Active cleaners and conditioners include a poweful blend of mink oil, silicone, lanolin and pure Neatsfoot oil.
- Ideal for all articles of leather and vinyl Boots, Shoes, Gloves, Purses, Hats, Belts, Auto Car Upholstery, Furniture & All Smooth Articles of Leather
- Caution: May darken light or soft leathers. Not for use on suede or Nubuck.
Gel Boot Insole
- Designed for big and tall men whose feet and legs experience discomfort and fatigue from work and other activities
- Built with Massaging GelTechnology and reinforced arch support, they help you feel comfortable and energized all-day
- Allows you to stay on your feet longer.Outrageous Comfort - Gel waves massage the most sensitive areas on your feet and provide superior shock absorption
- Fits Casual shoes, Sneakers & Work boots/shoes.Trim to fit
- Dr. Scholl's offers a Money Back Guarantee if you're not satisfied with the product
Older walking aficionados might be interested in picking up a walking cane to help with stability.
Boots Vs. Shoes
Here is a good YouTube video talking about the differences between walking boots and shoes:
Another thing to consider is you need to make sure you are getting the right gear for the season. For example, if you are planning on hiking in the snow, you might want to check out our review of the best winter boots for men. Tackling snow and ice with boots meant for warm weather will make for an unpleasant and even dangerous hike.