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Group Tests and Best Buys

Best Lightweight Walking Boots Reviewed

We've reviewed and rated six of the best new lightweight boots on the market.

Walking boots are getting lighter and more minimal and we’ve tested six cracking new models that range from streamlined barefoot-type minimal types through to more fully featured, but still light all-rounders that could make your day on hills faster and more enjoyable.

Why go light?

You’ll feel nimbler on your feet, be lifting less weight over the course of the day and it could, if you go for a barefoot option, even reduce aches and injuries.

Navigation

Check out the boots by either scrolling down the page or jumping to your preferred brand by using the links below. All the products are in alphabetical orderto make life a little easier.

adidas | Asolo | Brasher | Ecco | Merrell | Keen | Verdict

adidas Terrex Fast R Mid GTX – £140 / 860g

Review

We loved the original adidas Terrex Fast X Mid for its unassuming do-it-all qualities and the way it incorporated technolgy from the sportswear giant’s running shoes into an excellent lightweight outdoors trainer and the new Fast R moves things on again. It’s slightly lighter with sparser padding and a snug but comfortable fit, but its ace in the hole is a new rubber compound from tyre giant Continental which gives deceptive grip both in the dry and the wet across a wide range of surfaces.

It’s so good, says adidas that it offers more friction in the wet than competitors’s rubber in dry conditions. Proper sure-footed lightweight that you shouldn’t dismiss because adidas isn’t always viewed as an ‘outdoorsy’ brand.

Verdict

Like all lightweight walking boots, the Fast R adds a real zing to your step and thanks to that Continental rubber and adidas running shoe tech, there’s no price to pay in grip or cushioning terms either. It’s simply discretely comfortable and reliable.

Our one quibble so far is that the combination of a snug last and that reduced padding, particularly around the ankle and tongue area means it’s not as instantly comfortable as the slightly heavier Fast X Mid, which also sports the Continental rubber, but has more padding.

We’d try both before buying.

Pros

Light, precise, comfortable, great all-round grip especially in the wet, neat speed-lacing system.

Cons

Snug fit may not agree with broader feet.

Performance: 4.5
Reliability: 4.5
Value: 4.0

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ASOLO Creek GV – £140 / 890g

Review

It looks like an odd cross between a rock shoe and an alpine walking boot, but a huge amount of development has gone into the Creek with Italian boot specialist Asolo working with sole masters Vibram to optimise fit.

Not only that, the sole unit is an interesting minimal, but rugged unit that gives great ground feel and stability, but at the price of cushioning. Tough but minmal choice.

Verdict

We’re in a bit of a quandary with the Asolo Creek GV. On one hand we love the glove-like fit and have a sneaking affection for the unusual looks and the low-slung stability and light weight also tick out boxes. On the other hand, we’d like just a tad more cushioning underfoot in the sort of rocky terrain where the design seems to make most sense.

That said, we suspect with more use we might simply adapt to them as our feet strengthen. For not though, the OM jury is out.

Pros

Great fit, tough feel, light, good stability, decent grip in dry conditions, unusual streamlined looks.

Cons

Limited cushioning, unusual streamlined looks.

Performance: 3.5
Reliability: 4.0
Value: 3.5

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Brasher Supalite Active GTX – £130 / 1090g

Review

The original Brasher Supalite – still in the range – was a light, comfortable, but oddly eccentric-looking leather boot. The new for 2013 Supalite Active is an improved, fabric-uppered version that not only looks a lot more, well, normal, but also has a brilliant balance of comfort, lightness and underfoot grip in UK conditions.

The generous padding gives instant comfort out of the box and Brasher’s fit suits a lot of wider-footed Brits. Cracking lightweight all-rounder.

Verdict

A cracking mix of traditional Brasher virtues like instant comfort and well-developed features and lighweight construction that gives imrepssive performance straight out of the box. They also look a little more contemporary than previous Supalites, which may help to sway those who see the brand as a bit old-fashioned.

Pros

Light, comfortable and roomy with good all-round grip, more normal looking.

Cons

Not as light or low as the new generation of super lightweight hikers. Shallower lugs than most Brasher boots.

Performance: 4.5
Reliability: 4.5
Value: 4.5

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Ecco BIOM Terrain – £160 / 1140g

Review

Danish footwear giants Ecco may not be known for their walking boots, but the new BIOM Terrain is based on thousands of hours of research into optimum fit and uses high tec construction along with materials like yak leather and kevlar to produce a lightweight boot that’s a cracking all-rounder.

Not cheap, but a lot of performance for your money.

Verdict

So far we’re really impressed. The BIOM Terrains are decently light – same ballpark as a Brasher Supalite – have a really comfortable fit, grip tenaciously on every surface we’ve tried and, if the claims for the yak leather uppers and protective Kevlar and rubber reinforcements are to be believed, should last decently too.

It’s early days, but if you’re after a lightweight walking boot that does it all, we reckon you should add the Ecco to your list. It’s relatively expensive for sure, but it’s also a lot of boot for your money. Looking good.

Pros

Light, comfortable, grippy underfoot, interesting technologies.

Cons

Brand relatively new to the outdoors.

Performance: 4.5
Reliability: 4.5
Value: 4.0

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Merrell Mix Master Mid Waterproof – £110 / 606g

Review

The lightest boot in the test, the Merrell Mix Master Mid is a higher-ankled version of Merrell’s lightweight Mix Master trail shoe and, not surprisingly, performs in a very similar way. It’s sparsely cushioned with minimal structure, but very precise and stable as a result wity deceptive levels of grip from the studded sole unit.

It takes a little getting used to and can feel harsh on rockier terrain, but if you want to go minimal, but not full on barefoot, it’s a great option.

Verdict

The Mix Master Mid sits at the lighter end of the lightweight boot scale and repays you with a great blend of grip and precision. It’s not the most cushioned of shoes, which makes it an acquired taste on rockier terrain, but it’s more forgiving than a full-on barefoot shoe making it a good introduction if you’re a little wary of going super-minimalist straight away.

Pros

Light, minimalist, snug, nimble grippy and comfortable plus can double for occasional trail runs.

Cons

A little hard on your feet initially, not as tough as some heavier shoes.

Performance: 4.0
Reliability: 4.0
Value: 4.0

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KEEN Marshall Mid WP – £120 / 950g

Review

KEEN has already done super minimal with the CNX range, but the Marshall Mid is all about taking the slightly clumpy KEEN hiking range and slimming it down with a slightly snugger fit, lighter, more flexible uppers and a sole unit that while it’s not barefoot, sits lower to the ground with less cushioning.

It’s a good lightweight all-rounder with plenty of space for broader British feet up front.

Verdict

The slimmed-down sports coupé cousin of KEENs full-weight hiking shoes, the Marshall Mid is light, fexible and generally super comfortable. The only downs are that the wide, thinly padded forefoot takes some getting used to on harder ground and the lacing system isn’t as slick as some, which can lead to a bit of internal sliding on steeper descents.

Mostly though it’s good news for those who like KEEN’s fit but want a lighter, more precise boot. There’s also a Low version.

Pros

Light, sensitive, broad fit with good initial comfort.

Cons

Lacing system a little sticky, minimal forefoot protection.

Performance: 4.0
Reliability: 4.0
Value: 4.0

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Which Should You Choose?

There’s no right answer, in a nutshell, it all depends on your priorities. If you’re looking for lightness and agility and not too concerned about cushioning then Merrell’s Mix Master Mid is a nimble lightweight. At the other end of the scale, the Ecco and Brasher Boots are more conventional, well-cushioned lightweight all-rounders that give instant comfort while the new Keen Marshall is impressively neat, but less protective for the forefoot.

The adidas Fast R is a cracking lighweight outdoors trainer come mid, that often gets overlooked because adidas isn’t seen as an outdoors brand, but does a really good job helped by excellent grip from that new rubber compound, while last but not least, the Asolo Creek is an odd, but interesting mix of great fit along with a tough-feeling, but not particularly cushioned sole unit that may be the answer for anyone wanting a mountain-friendly lightweight that has barefoot elements, but with more underfoot protection.

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