Walking shoes and boots have changed. No longer are you necessarily looking for a traditional leather boot to tackle hikes and more; youu can now buy fast and light all-terrain shoes and boots with the same level of comfort that you’d expect from a pair of sturdy sneakers.
After all, while a decent pair of boots is a Godsend for a day spent walking in the Lake District, it’s not necessarily what you want for a fairly flat few miles – it might still be muddy, of course, but you don’t need the same rigidity. Added to which, many boots can feel quite restrictive and heavy, too.
These walking shoes then, are designed to be a lighter alternative to leather boots – however, be warned that they’re just not as good in bad weather, so if you’re going hiking where it’s going to rain all week or you need to cross streams, you’ll probably need something a bit more substantial.
Most walking shoes do have a waterproof lining, many ultilise Gore-Tex and have synthetic uppers rather than leather – more breathable, but as we mentioned, less weather-resistant. Here’s our pick.
Our pick of the latest walking shoes and boots
Haglöfs Duality AT1 Gore-Tex
Sustainable, stylish and surprisingly versatile, the PFC free, recycled polyester toting Duality ATI boasts trainer like levels of comfort for all-day mooching, waterproofing in case you make friends with a muddy puddle, and, ingeniously, a choice of interchangeable midsoles, one of which is soft and flexible for all-day casual wear, the other has added stiffness, guarding your feet from rocks and roots when you head off the beaten path. In reality, most people will never swap away from the softer midsoles – they’re great for casual off-tarmac trail walks as well as in town – but if you do, you’ll not only help justify the high price with the 2-4-1 deal on walking boots and trainers but, when combined with the ASICS rubber sole, also enjoy excellent support for when the going underfoot gets tougher.
Adidas TERREX AX4
Choose anything from the Terrex range 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 slathered in a thick layer of Continental tyre rubber.
Nike ACG Mountain Fly Low GORE-TEX
This impossibly cool pair of sneakers will serve you as well in Shoreditch as Snowdonia, but with Gore-Tex waterproof upper and plush React midsole you’ll enjoy bouncy fun all the way to the summit. The chunky lacing system really hugs your feet for added security over rough terrain, while the big toe bumper protects them from boulder stubbings.
Salomon Outpulse GTX
Based around Salomon’s class-leading trail running tech, but geared towards those moving at a more sedate pace, these Gore-Tex shoes are brilliant on trails and towpaths thanks in part to Fuze Surge foam that offers excellent energy return and cushioning, and Contagrip rubber outsoles give grip on wet and dry terrain. Also available without waterproofing if you want your feet to breathe.
AKU Rock DFS GTX
A versatile and technical approach shoe designed for climbers but appreciated by virtually everyone who wears them. The uppers are made from suede and AKU’s own innovation Air 8000, which is both warm and highly breathable. There’s a broad rubber rand and toe box for added protection, while the grippy Vibram sole and dual lacing system – tweak tightness in two places depending if you’re walking or climbing – is brilliantly innovative.