After a trusty pair of hiking boots? This is what you should buy and the best pairs on the market
Best women’s hiking boots UK 2022: what to look for and women’s hiking boots from Keen, Jack Wolfskin, On
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Get equipped to tackle any type of trail, and in any weather condition, with a great pair of hiking boots. There are a wide variety of options on the market when it comes to buying walking boots, and the most important decision is whether to opt for leather or cloth boots.
Leather, fabric or both?
Leather is naturally water resistant, but it can be stiff and heavy, and it takes a while to adjust and mold comfortably to your feet.
Cloth boots tend to be lighter and can feel more like wearing comfortable sneakers right out of the box, but they are less durable and less warm than leather.
Leather is best for winter and mountain hikes, while canvas is ideal for travel and more casual wear in spring and summer. If you can afford it, it’s a good idea to have a pair of each.
What to look for in a boot
Your boots should be waterproof (for wet weather) and breathable (for hot temperatures). Look for boots with built-in waterproofing technology like Gore-Tex and thick, springy soles with deep lugs (the indentation that helps give good grip); We always rate Vibram soles in tests. Good boots should include a breathable membrane to absorb sweat and keep your feet from overheating.
Check that your new boots feel comfortable when laced up securely, with enough room to wiggle your toes and not too much room to wiggle your heel. If the boots have a high ankle, your ankle should feel well supported without rubbing.
Wider feet? Look for boots that specify a wide fit, especially if you have bunions. Expect to pay around £150 for a great pair of boots, though we’ve also included a great option for tighter budgets. Take good care of your new boots and you will wear them for many seasons.
In the raw Cloudrock Edge boot
Key Specs – Material: Synthetic; Waterproof technology: Polyurethane waterproof membrane; Weight: 390g; Color Options: 1
These beautiful clear boots look a little different from your average hiking boot for good reason: they’re undyed and made with recycled materials to minimize their environmental impact.
The Edge Raw is completely waterproof and we liked the high, narrow ankle and tight lacing system, which provides great support. Impressively deep lugs also offer great grip, even in wet weather.
Each boot weighs just 390g, and the Edge Raw offers trainer-like comfort even on longer hikes.
The only downside to this smart, sustainably designed boot is that it gets dirty very quickly.
Hoka One One Tennis Boot
Key Specs – Material: Synthetic; Waterproof technology: Gore-Tex; Weight: 416g; Color Options: 1
Hoka describes these pretty crazy boots as “part hovercraft, part hiking boot,” and we have to agree.
Those massive soles really do make you feel a bit like you’re walking on air – the Tennines definitely feel delightfully light and comfortable, even if you’re racking up the miles. There’s plenty of substance here as well as style: the Tennine has reliable Gore-Tex waterproofing and rugged Vibram outsoles.
The look of these futuristic boots is a bit Marmite-like, but if you love them, you’ll definitely stand out from the crowd of hikers.
Keen Karraig Boot
Key Specs – Material: Leather; Water resistant technology: Keen.Dry; Weight: 600g; Color Options: 1
Do you love going off the beaten path? Keen’s Karraig could be your new best friend. This high-performance leather hiking boot is warm, waterproof and instantly comfortable.
We loved the high, supportive and well-padded ankle that keeps the rain out, the protected toe box, and the chunky soles, which offer great grip even on slippery surfaces.
Karraigs are not lightweight and therefore better suited to colder climates – wear them outdoors from fall to spring and they’ll be proud.
Giesswein Wool Cross X Alpine Boot
Key Specs – Material: Merino wool; Waterproof technology: waterproof; Weight: 430g; Color Options: 1
We’ve always been fans of Giesswein’s buttery-soft Merino wool sneakers, so we were excited to try out their newest foray into hiking boots, the Cross X Alpine.
Merino wool has properties that make it perfect for mountain boots: it absorbs sweat, regulates temperature and does not smell, as well as being light.
The Alpine boots sport a sturdy sole with decent grip and a soft, plush inner lining, and are pleasantly light on the feet at 430g. These boots may be made with wool, but are still water-repellent enough to withstand a sudden downpour.
That said, we recommend choosing a fully waterproof boot if you’re heading into stormy weather.
Camel-Lite LCX 7” Boot
Key Specs – Material: Leather; Water resistant technology: Le Chameau LCX® technology; Weight: 625g; Color Options: 1
Le Chameau specializes in rugged hunting boots and smart wellies, but their rugged, weather-resistant boot designs are also perfect for hikers.
The LCX boot isn’t the lightest we tested at 625g, but what it loses in weight it more than makes up for in performance.
It’s fully waterproofed and can handle the worst weather you throw at it, and the large soles with deep lugs offer excellent grip on all surfaces.
The boots are also surprisingly breathable and their dark leather finish looks very stylish too. Expensive, but brilliant quality that should last for years.
Jack Wolfskin Wilderness Lite Texapore Boot
Key Specs – Material: Synthetic; Waterproof technology: Texapore; Weight: 535g; Color Options: 1
If you’re heading out into the wild, you’ll need a boot that can keep up.
Jack Wolfskin’s Wilderness Lite got top marks from us in the test: it’s comfortable, waterproof, highly breathable, and has a chunky, grippy Vibram sole that can handle just about any surface you decide to walk on.
A sturdy toe box protects your feet on rough terrain, and the lacing system keeps your foot locked in place. If you’re more into mountain hikes than country rides, this is a high-performance option.
Regatta Highton Elastic Boot
Key Specs – Material: Synthetic; Waterproof technology: Isotex; Weight: 379g; Color Options: 2
Our top pick on a budget is Regatta’s Highton Stretch boot, which definitely beats its £60 price tag.
These cloth boots weigh 379g each and are very comfortable to wear right out of the box.
Regatta’s own-brand Isotex waterproofing can handle any sudden rain showers, and the rubber soles offer decent grip. Highton Stretch boots are also suitable for vegans (many conventional hiking boots are not).
A great first hiking boot.
Sorel Kinetic Conquest Boot
Key Specs – Material: Leather, Suede; Waterproof technology: waterproof leather; Weight: 460g; Color Options: 3
Meet Sorel’s Kinetic Conquest, which feels like you’re wearing your favorite running shoes but has the look of a retro hiking boot.
The Kinetic is made with very supple and comfortable suede leather and feels pleasantly light underfoot – those large wave-shaped soles are very springy and combined with well-cushioned inner soles make these boots feel great to wear all the day.
An insulated lining also means the Kinetic Conquests stay comfortable even when the temperature drops.
We love the soft suede upper and fleece tongue of these boots, but they’re not really suited to the harshest (or muddiest) conditions, save them for more casual hikes.
Salomon Go Boot
Key Specs – Material: Synthetic; Waterproof technology: Gore-Tex; Weight: 330g; Color Options: 2
While Salomon’s feather-light Vaya boot works well for hikes year-round, it really shines in warmer climates: It’s so breathable and light, you’ll barely feel like you’re wearing boots, even on dog days of summer.
The flexible fabric feels comfortable even on all-day hikes and is fully waterproofed with Gore-Tex. The Vayas have fairly wide ankles, so you’ll need to tie them tight to get them snug.
An excellent option for hiking, traveling and backpacking.
Hanwag Banks Women’s Boot
Key Specs – Material: Nubuck leather; waterproof technology; gore-tex; Weight: 525g; Color Options: 4
There’s a lot to like about the classic Hanwag Banks boot. Combine our proven combination of Vibram soles and Gore-Tex waterproofing, and it can tackle tough, rocky terrain and very wet weather with no problem.
We also appreciate the high ankle cut, which offers great support and makes these boots ideal for use on the most challenging trails.
Banks are stiff and heavy, but become more flexible with use. A narrow version and a wider version of the boot are also available to help you get the perfect fit.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.