Walking shoes and boots have changed. You’re no longer necessarily looking for a traditional leather boot to tackle hikes and more; now you can shop for fast, lightweight all-terrain shoes and boots with the same level of comfort you expect from a rugged pair of sneakers.
After all, while a good pair of boots is a godsend for a day out walking in the Lake District, it’s not necessarily what you want for a few fairly flat miles – it can still be muddy, of course, but you don’t need the same stiffness. Additionally, many boots can also feel quite restrictive and heavy.
These walking shoes are therefore designed to be a lighter alternative to leather boots – however be aware that they are just not as good in bad weather so if you are hiking where it is going to rain all week or if you must cross stream, you’ll probably need something a little more substantial.
Most walking shoes have a waterproof lining, many use Gore-Tex and have synthetic rather than leather uppers – more breathable, but as mentioned, less weather resistant. Here is our choice.
Our selection of the latest walking shoes and boots
Haglöfs Duality AT1 Gore-Tex
Durable, stylish and surprisingly versatile, the ATI Duality PFC-free recycled polyester tote offers trainer-like levels of comfort for all-day mooching, waterproofing in case you make friends with a puddle of mud and, ingeniously, a choice of interchangeable midsoles, one of which is soft and flexible for all-day casual wear, the other added stiffness, protecting your feet from rocks and roots when you go off-road . In reality, most people will never give up on the softer midsoles – they’re great for the occasional off-road as well as around town walks – but if you do, you’ll not only help justify the high price tag with the 2 – Offers 4-1 over walking shoes and trainers but when combined with the ASICS rubber sole they also have great support when the foot gets harder.
Adidas TERREX AX4
Pick anything from the Terrex lineup these days and you won’t be disappointed, but if you’re looking for a go-anywhere pair of walkers with great support and sensational traction, the AX4 is for you. Gore-tex keeps your feet dry, the upper is made from Primegreen recycled materials and the soles are covered with a thick layer of Continental tire rubber.
Nike ACG Mountain Fly Low GORE-TEX
This insanely cool pair of trainers will serve you equally well in Shoreditch and Snowdonia, but with a waterproof Gore-Tex upper and plush React midsole, you’ll enjoy bouncy fun all the way to the top. The chunky lacing system really hugs your feet for added security on rough terrain, while the big toe bumper protects them from rock bumps.
Solomon Outpulse GTX
Based on Salomon’s cutting-edge trail running technology, but aimed at those moving at a more sedate pace, these Gore-Tex shoes are brilliant on the trails and towpaths thanks in part to the Fuze Surge foam that provides excellent energy return and cushioning, and the Contagrip rubber outsoles provide grip on wet and dry terrain. Also available without waterproofing if you want your feet to breathe.
AKU Rock DFS GTX
A versatile, technical approach shoe designed for climbers but loved by virtually anyone who wears them. The uppers are made of suede and Air 8000, AKU’s own innovation, which is both warm and highly breathable. There’s a wide rubber rim and toe box for extra protection, while the grippy Vibram sole and dual lacing system – adjust the tightness in two places depending on whether you’re walking or climbing – are brilliantly innovative.