A good pair of hiking boots can be the difference between an enjoyable day out and one you’d rather forget. Find the right pair for you and they’ll help you to go further, higher and over terrain that would otherwise be inaccessible. Of course, choosing boots can be difficult, with huge variations in price and quality and different categories of walking boots to choose from too, but we’re here to help you there. In this article, you’ll find our recommendations for all types of hikes, ranging from casual weekend walks through to multi-week thru-hikes; your three-season work horses, options for hikes that might involve scrambles and lighter options for warm weather walking too.
If you’re after lighter boots for summer trails, you might want to check out our round up of the best walking shoes. Looking for something warm and rigid for crampons? Our best mountaineering boots has you sorted there. You’ll need a good pair of hiking socks too, of course. And if you want to learn more about how to choose a pair of hiking boots, follow that link or skip down to the bottom of this article for all our expert advice.
Our Team’s Pick of the Best Walking Boots for 2024
In this article, we’ve whittled down the 10 hiking boots that we think are the best, along with some standout category winners too. The category winners are as follows:
Best Overall Walking Boot: Aku Trekker Lite III
A Close Second: Hanwag Banks GTX
Best Lightweight Walking Boot: Salomon X Ultra 360 Edge
Best Technical Boot for Scrambling: Arc’teryx Acrux LT
Best Budget Walking Boot: Haglöfs Skuta Eco Proof
Best Vegan-Friendly Hiking Boots: Lowa Trek Evo GTX
I’ve been testing and reviewing outdoor gear on a professional basis for over a decade now. In that time, I’ve been on numerous gear awards juries, including for ISPO, the Scandinavian Outdoor Awards and OIA Awards and I’ve written for a raft of outdoor magazines and websites along the way. I have a particular fondness for the hiking trails of Wales, my home country, and have walked just about every long-distance path you can find there, including the Wales Coast Path and Offa’s Dyke, the Cambrian Way and the Beacons Way.
How We Tested Them
This list of the best walking boots is the result of a seven-year, on-going process involving careful study of the latest product launches, trips around trade shows in the UK and Germany and rigorous testing on hill walks, scrambles and multi-day backpacking trips. I’ve personally tested all of the men’s boots that are featured here, while the women’s boots were assessed by our female testers. All of the pictures you can see in this article show the products in use by our team.
Our criteria? Durability and longevity is a big factor in the selection process. Hiking boots should perform for years, especially given how much they can cost these days. As such, we wear each pair of boots over testing terrain to assess their ruggedness and pay particular attention to dependability of the membrane which is usually the first thing that wears out on a badly made pair of boots. We also look at the grip on soft, hard and wet surfaces and we assess the protection, stability, waterproofing and breathability too.
Best Overall Hiking Boot
AKU Trekker Lite III
Best for: Hillwalking, trekking
Key attributes: Well-crafted, grippy, versatile
Having tested this out over a long period now this has risen up to the top of our list to become our pick for the best overall hiking boot.
During our tests we found that the Trekker Lite III ticked a lot of boxes. Over rough ground, the sole unit was protective and able to block out sharp rocks and roots while there was still enough flex to it to save your feet from getting worn out over long distances.
The Gore-tex waterproof membrane was reliable, keeping our feet bone dry during river crossings, and the overall construction of the upper felt durable, supportive and well-crafted. It’s a boot that, from what we’ve seen, is built to last, and it’s from a brand with a good track record in terms of the longevity of their products.
This, we found, is a boot that’s a lot more capable than a lot of today’s ‘three season boots’, many of which are little more than glorified high-top trainers. They look, feel and perform like proper mountain boots, without feeling too heavy.
The Vibram sole provides a nice amount of grip on a variety of surfaces – we found it to be particularly impressive on muddy slopes – and the lugs are widely spaced so they shed dirt and debris well. There’s no dedicated climbing zone on the toe, reflecting the all-purpose nature of this boot, but the thick tread blocks at the edge of the outsole still made jamming and edging on easier scrambling terrain possible.
Sizes: 6-15 (men), 3-9 (women) / upper: suede and air8000 synthetic / Gore-tex membrane / Vibram Curcuma sole / double density EVA midsole / nylon shank / custom fit footbed.
Selected for our Outdoor 100 2023/24. Read our full AKU Trekker Lite III review.
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Our Runner Up
Hanwag Banks GTX
Best for: Hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Comfortable, durable
Hanwag’s popular Banks boot, originally released 16 years ago, received an update a couple of years ago with new materials and a slightly modernised design and fit, and it’s been a big hit with our testers ever since. It’s still as stable, durable and comfortable as ever, so it’s made for managing a day wading through sticky peat on top of Kinder Scout or for navigating the bogs of Rannoch Moor.