Best Value Hiking Boots 2024 - Outdoors Magic

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Best Value Hiking Boots 2024

Whether you’re new to the outdoors scene or a seasoned hiker on a tight budget, here are bargain boots that will do the job for anyone

Have you ever walked into an outdoors shop and felt that you’d need to re-mortgage the house to afford the kit you’re eyeing up? We’d hazard a guess that you might well have. It’s true: although spending time outdoors is free, buying adventure gear can break the bank. But fear not. We’ve already produced a comprehensive best value budget outdoor gear list, which is well worth checking out. And to add to that, we’ve done even more of the legwork for you here, by pulling together a list of the best value walking boots.

Ranging from approximately £50 to £150, these boots are sturdy, comfortable and reliable. They’re all waterproof too, so should have enough to cope with whatever you throw at them – and, best of all, getting your hands on them won’t empty your wallet.

The Best Value Hiking Boots Reviewed

With dozens of boots out there, what should you look for? This group test includes ten of the best value hiking boots around, comparing features and performance. We’ve picked out an overall best buy and highlighted our top picks under £100 for those on a particularly tight budget. If you’re not concerned about prices, head over to our full list of the best walking boots we’ve reviewed.

  • Hi-Tec Ravine WP – Best Overall Budget Hiking Boot
  • Aku Alterra Lite Mid GTX
  • Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
  • Craghoppers Kiwi Trek
  • The North Face Hedgehog Futurelight
  • Haglöfs Skuta Mid Proof Eco
  • Columbia Peakfreak XCRSN II Xcel Mid Outdry
  • Merrell Moab III Mid GTX
  • Keen Targhee III Mid WP
  • Hi-Gear Snowdon II

 

Best Overall Value Hiking Boots

Hi-Tec Ravine WP Hiking Boots

Price: £140
Weight: 1,500g

The Hi-Tec Ravine WP boots are high on performance and low on price. They are, in fact, easily the best all-leather boots on test here. Featuring a full grain oiled 2.2mm nubuck leather upper, the Ravine boots have a reassuringly traditional look and feel. Where other modern fabric boots have a tendency to leak over time, this simple, classic leather design – with minimal weak points for potential water ingress – is great at keeping your feet dry.

“The Hi-Tec Ravine WPs are one of the best value hiking boots around.”

The boots utilise Hi-Tec’s own Dri-Tec waterproof and breathable membrane. As such, the Ravine WP boots stood up to the worst weather the Scottish Highlands could throw at us during our field tests. The moisture-wicking liner meant our feet didn’t get overly sweaty. The shock-absorbing rubber outsole provides good traction on all terrains. The soft foam collar provides comfort around the ankle, avoiding any unwanted rubbing or friction. The soles provide good support and cushioning. Admittedly, the boots are rather heavy and feel somewhat cumbersome compared to the lightest boots on test. But if you prefer a classic leather boot and dry feet are a priority (of course they are!), then the Hi-Tec Ravine WPs are one of the best value hiking boots around.

BUY NOW: DECATHLON.CO.UK

 

Aku Alterra Lite GTX

Price: £127
Weight: 445g

Aku make excellent well-crafted boots that tend to come at quite high prices, so this option from them presents excellent value.

In case you don’t know Aku, it’s an Italian brand with boot making heritage and all of their boots are produced within Europe. We’ve tested out a lot of their products over the years, including this pair, and we’ve always been impressed by their quality and performance.

With the Alterra Lite GTX, you get Gore-tex waterproof and breathable protection, a grippy, protective and cushioned sole and then a lightweight upper that, from our experience testing this these, fits like a sock. All these elements combine to make for a boot that we found to be ideal for fast hiking and long-distance walking and trekking from spring through to autumn. As it’s on the light side, just bear in mind that you probably want something a little sturdier if you’re planning on any big trips with a heavy hiking backpack.

BUY NOW: ALPINETREK.CO.UK

 

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

Price: £140
Weight: 1280g

The third iteration in the popular Quest series, this is a boot designed for fast and light hiking on technical terrain – think trail walking in the Pyrenees or scrambling in Snowdonia. Salomon say it was developed with running shoe-adapted technology, the evidence of this being a slightly flexible chassis and a low-ish overall weight.

The ankle is cut quite high for a fast and light boot, measuring about 6 inches from the insole to the top of the collar, and this gives a decent amount of support without feeling too constricting.

The smooth lacing system provides volume adjustment flexibility, and the lacing eyelets are all made from a solid metal which are shaped to capture the laces securely – the middle eyelet even has little gripping teeth.

The upper is made from suede nubuck leather and a heavy Cordura-type fabric and both materials combine to provide a dependably thick and protective feel round the foot. There’s also extra protection at the toes thanks to the rubber bumper, and a standard Gore-Tex waterproof membrane lines the walls.

The outsole is aggressive and gives plenty of reliability on any slippery stuff, while it’s also able to shed mud. As for the midsole design, a thick layer of EVA foam gives a nice bit of shock absorption.

For hot summer days, it might run a little hot, but still this is a real all-rounder of a boot.

BUY NOW: DECATHLON.CO.UK

 

Craghoppers Kiwi Trek Boots

Price: £105
Weight: 616g 

A leather construction, classic ghillie lacing, and mocha brown colour – this new launch from Craghoppers certainly brings to mind those classic-style walking boots from years gone by. But there’s still some decent tech beneath the bonnet, including an AquaDry waterproof membrane, Vibram sole and built-in NosiLife insect repellent. What’s more it costs just £105 which ain’t bad at all.

The upper of the Kiwi Trek is made from full-grain leather. It’s quite a thin and flexible upper, more so than you’d expect given the hardy, old-fashioned aesthetic. Underneath, it has Craghoppers’ proprietary AquaDry membrane for waterproof protection and then a comfortable, wicking lining.

The outsole is made from Vibram rubber, with decent lugs, a slight heel brake and a nice sticky compound. The midsole, on the other hand, is constructed with a lightweight EVA foam footbed that moulds to your foot shape and brings good shock-absorption.

The collar, the tongue, and the inner parts of the boot are comfy too, with extra padding for podiatry support.

Selected for our Outdoor 100 2021/22. Read our full Craghoppers Kiwi Trek boots review. 

BUY NOW: SNOWANDROCK.COM

 

The North Face Hedgehog Futurelight

Price: £126
Weight:
892g

Futurelight is a waterproof membrane that was developed by The North Face only a couple of years ago, one that’s extremely lightweight and breathable due to its highly air permeable (but water blocking) nanospun construction. So, if you tend to get quite clammy feet when you wear Gore-tex boots, you might want to give this pair a try. 

Alongside that waterproof membrane, the Hedgehogs have a well designed sole unit that, thanks to its multi-directional and fairly aggressive lugs, provides a good amount of grip on slippy surfaces – it’s kind of like the sole on a trail running shoe has been stuck onto a boot. There’s also a shock absorbing dual density foam midsole and a plate that blocks out any sharp stuff on the trail – things like rocks and roots. 

It’s not really a boot for hiking in cold winter conditions, but it definitely suits three-season hikes and treks. 

BUY NOW: BLACKS.CO.UK

 

Haglöfs Skuta Mid Proof Eco

Price: £120
Weight: 950g

While this might be one of the more expensive pairs of boots in this round-up, they’re still incredibly good value considering everything they offer. We actually liked these so much that we chose them as the best boots for the whole of 2019. What do they offer? A lot. They’re comfortable over long distances, protective but still breathable, and they boast some impressive eco credentials.

“For day hikes and even long backpacking adventures, the Skuta Mids get out stamp of approval.”

Absolutely zilch nasty chemicals have been used in its creation. What we’re specifically referring to are those PFCs or perfluorinated compounds, which have been proven to be environmentally hazardous. Plenty of brands have stopped using these in the water repellent treatment that’s applied to the outer fabrics of their footwear – the DWR that makes water bead off – but not many have taken the extra step of removing all the nasty stuff contained in the waterproof membrane as well. Haglöfs have removed the lot here so kudos to them for doing that.

For day hikes and even long backpacking adventures, the Skuta Mids get out stamp of approval. Our editor Will has been wearing his pair for the past 15 months and he says they’re still holding up well without any issues.

BUY NOW: SNOWANDROCK.COM

 

 

Columbia Peakfreak XCRSN II Xcel Mid Outdry Boots

Price: £80
Weight: 720g

Designed for people who are freaks for the peaks (see what they did there?), Columbia’s Peakfreak Mids – or, to use their full name, the Peakfreak XCRSN II Xcel Mid Outdry – are ultra-lightweight, waterproof and attractive-looking boots. They are primarily designed for fast and light mountain adventures.

“I enjoyed wearing them out and about post-adventure.”

For once, let’s start with the downsides: with more of a trainer than boot feel, the Peakfreaks don’t offer especially firm protection or stability for the ankle, and the lightweight materials aren’t as tough or rugged as all-leather boots. But, with the Peakfreaks, the numerous positives far outweigh the negatives. Columbia’s Outdry technology is a one-piece membrane that seals the stitching and any other water ingress vulnerabilities. This ensures excellent waterproofing and breathability for these lightweight boots. Meanwhile the Omni Grip outsoles have multi-directional lugs for good grip out on the trail.

The springy Techlite midsole provides good cushioning and impact absorption. I found the Peakfreaks extremely comfortable straight out of the box, so much so that I enjoyed wearing them out and about post-adventure. I felt extremely light on my feet, testing them out during fast, energetic Munro-bagging trips in Scotland. So, if light and fast is your thing – with the added bonus of reliable waterproofing – Columbia’s Peakfreak Mids are the ideal choice for any of you peak freaks out there.

BUY NOW: COLUMBIASPORTSWEAR.CO.UK

 

Merrell Moab III Mid GTX

Price: £119
Weight: 810g

No round up of the best value walking boots would be complete without the Merrell Moab III. This is a boot that’s been around (in numerous iterations) for many years now and its popularity and price point make it a big seller for the U.S. brand. We’ve had extensive experience with the Moab and what it’s always stood out for is its comfort. It gives a nice bit of space for the toes but still feels sturdy and supportive and there’s a solid plastic board at the midsole that makes these very protective over tricky terrain. 

Out of the box the breathability and the waterproofing are good. We would say, however, that you don’t tend to get that much mileage out of these before issues with the waterproofing arise. We still think they’re worthy of being included here because if you treat them delicately, say, by sticking to well-defined and easy trails, they’ll last, but those who tend to put their boots through the ringer might find the fabrics will struggle to keep up.

BUY NOW: BLACKS.CO.UK

​​

Keen Targhee III Mid WP Boots

Price: £125
Weight: 980g

These are the latest version of Keen’s award-winning Targhee range of boots. The Targhee III Mid WP builds on the fit, durability and performance of previous models, but with an updated look and new materials. Let’s not beat around the bush. This isn’t a boot for major expeditions or hardcore thru-hikes. But if you’re looking for a well-priced boot for rugged mountain day hikes or short backpacking adventures, the Targhee is undoubtedly a great choice.

“If you’re looking for a well-priced boot for rugged mountain day hikes or short backpacking adventures, the Targhee is undoubtedly a great choice.”

I tested the boots out climbing Munros in and around Fort William and found them to be immediately trail-ready, providing a comfortable fit straight out of the box. They strike a nice balance between durability and toughness for rough terrain. They’re also light and flexible enough to avoid blisters and move quickly through the mountains.

The 4mm multi-directional lugs on the rubber outsole provide good traction and grip on wet ground. Other tidy features include Keen’s in-house Keen Dry waterproof membrane, which effectively keeps your feet dry and wicks out sweat and moisture. A strong toe rand and a TPU heel-capture system offer protection and stability on uneven terrain. The boots also feature sturdy and well-built uppers, made from durable leather and rubber. So if you’re ‘keen’ (see what I did there?), to get out more, climb more mountains, and have more epic outdoors adventures, the Keen Targhee III Mids will help you achieve your goals.

Read our full Keen Targhee review.

BUY NOW: ELLIS-BRIGHAM.COM

​​

Hi-Gear Snowdon II Boots

Price: £40 (with discount card)
Weight: 1,160g

The Hi-Gear Snowdon II boots from Go Outdoors are just £40 with a store discount card, making them easily the cheapest pair on test. And, of course, as with much in life, you do get what you pay for.

The Snowdon II boots – an update on the superstore brand’s popular Snowdon boots – are, perhaps, a step-down from the other two budget leather boots here. If you’ve got the money go for the Hi-Tec or Quechua offerings, as each increase in price point does come with added quality. But let’s not do the Hi-Gear Snowdon II boots a disservice. At just £40, they are a great starter boot for beginners undertaking less rigorous countryside or mountain walks in better weather, or adventurers on a shoestring.

“At just £40, they are a great starter boot for beginners undertaking less rigorous countryside or mountain walks.”

Made from tough full-grain leather, with a cushioned footbed and CMEVA midsole, gusseted tongue and metal lace eyelets, the Snowdon IIs are designed to ‘keep your feet dry and comfortable on all-day treks’, according to Hi-Gear. We found them surprisingly comfortable, with the leather build proving soft and supple where we wanted it to be, but reassuringly strong and sturdy at the toe and heel, while the rubber outsole had decent traction on some pretty wild mountain terrain.

All in all, we were pretty impressed for the price. We wouldn’t take them out on longer expeditions or in gnarly weather, but they have plenty to offer for such a small price-tag.

BUY NOW: MILLETS.CO.UK

​​

Choosing Good Value Hiking Boots

Selecting the ideal good value hiking boots involves a blend of understanding your needs and recognising quality features.

Waterproofing

For challenging environments or unpredictable weather, seek boots with reliable waterproofing. Look for membranes like Gore-Tex or Sympatex as these will give you the best chance of your feet staying dry even amidst wet trails or streams. It’s generally held that own brand waterproof membranes can be a bit flimsy and, here at Outdoors Magic, we tend to agree with that.

Upper Construction

A key indicator of quality lies in the build and construction of the boots. Opt for well-crafted pairs that offer robustness, ankle support, and a sturdy sole suitable for your intended terrain. Brands renowned for durability and performance, such as Scarpa, Lowa, or Alt-berg, often deliver these essential qualities. Their boots do come at quite high prices though.

Lighter and more flexible boots with cushioned soles might suit less demanding trails or faster-paced hikes, providing comfort without compromising on sturdiness. We’d say that these generally don’t last anywhere near as long as robust boots.

Also, bear in mind that with leather and synthetic boots, the more panels and stitching involved, the greater the risk of the boots falling apart with use. As such, you should ideally look for boots with large panels and very little stitching or glues.

Grip

Assessing grip and traction is vital for safe and enjoyable hikes. Look for boots with deep lugs and innovative tread patterns from reputable brands like Vibram, Michelin, or Continental. It’s the same deal as with waterproof membranes here, with the own-brand soles tending to not be quite as long-lasting as soles made by specialists rubber sole manufacturers.

Buzzwords That Indicate Good Quality

  1. Gore-Tex: A waterproof and breathable membrane integrated into the boot’s construction, offering reliable protection against moisture while allowing sweat to escape, keeping your feet dry and comfortable. Other brands include Sympatex and eVent, while reputable own-brand membranes include Futurelight (The North Face), Outdry (Columbia) and B.DRy (Keen).
  2. Vibram: A renowned brand for durable, high-traction rubber outsoles. Boots featuring Vibram soles ensure excellent grip and stability on various terrains. Other brands include Michelin and Continental while reputable own-brand soles include Contragrip (Salomon), Omni-Grip (Columbia) and M-Select (Merrell).
  3. Full-grain leather: A top-quality leather that’s durable, resistant to abrasion, and provides excellent water resistance. It’s often used in the construction of hiking boots for their sturdiness and longevity.
  4. PFC-free: Indicates that the boots use alternatives to perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in their waterproofing, aligning with environmentally friendly practices and reducing potential harm to ecosystems.
  5. Ankle support: Refers to the design elements that provide stability and protection around the ankle area, crucial for navigating challenging terrains and reducing the risk of injuries.
  6. EVA midsole: Ethylene-vinyl acetate midsoles offer lightweight cushioning and support, enhancing comfort during long hikes while providing shock absorption.
  7. Heel brake: A feature on the outsole designed to aid in downhill traction and control, preventing slips and offering stability on steep descents.
  8. Toe cap: Usually made of rubber or other protective materials, toe caps safeguard the toes from rocks and impacts, enhancing the boot’s durability.
  9. Breathable lining: Moisture-wicking and breathable linings help manage sweat, keeping feet dry and preventing blisters, even during prolonged use.
  10. Recycled materials: Indicates the use of recycled components, aligning with eco-friendly practices and reducing the environmental impact of boot production.

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