Boot choice is one of the great variables. For a start, if a boot doesn’t fit your foot shape, it’s useless to you, no matter how good it is in other ways. Next, personal tastes vary hugely, some people like a light, nimble, flexible boot, others prefer a solid, traditional, stiff leather one that allows you to walk over pretty much anything without even a hint of its presence. Others still prefer something in the middle.
What matters is that the boot fits you and suits your ideal of what’s ideal. That said, here are a few of our favourites in different categories as a starting point.
Light And Nimble
If you like your boots on the lighter side of things, we have two favourites. The first is the innovative Arc’teryx Bora2 Mid GTX with its unusual double boot construction. It works brilliantly in damp UK conditions, has a glove-like fit and just the right balance of lightness and support.
Our second favourite is the Mammut Mercury Advanced High II GTX which just does everything well without carting around any excess weight or bulk. A really nice lightweight all-rounder.
We’re as cynical as the next journo about clever innovations, a fair few of them turn out to be gimmicks, but the Sock-Fit used by Scarpa for its R-Evo GTX does a brilliant job of providing a sock-like fit that’s complemented by the rest of a really well thought-out modern walking boot.
Stiffer underfoot, but still relatively light, is the handsome Alt Berg Nordkapp with its unusual slim-fitting A-Forme last. Finally, the new European-made KEEN Liberty Ridge is hard to fault to all-round walking use.
If you want a solid-feeling, leather-uppered boot with lots of underfoot support, there’s plenty of choice out there. Depending on your foot shape and preferences, we’d pick out the Meindl Bhutan MFS and the Zamberlan 1006 new Vioz Plus GTX RR as classic designs, but we’d also suggest the Hanwag Tatra GTX as a slightly left field call.
Finally, if you want a boot that combines comfortable all-round walking with real scrambling elan, the Scarpa Marmolada Trek GTX is a little slice of genius. Light, stiff and precise, but still great for all-round comfort and with excellent OutDry waterproofing, it rocks.
Or for a little more weight and solidity, if that’s your thing, check out the Aku Super Alp GTX which does a similar, but weightier gig and makes a great all-round mountain walking boot.