Best Walking Boots 2023 | Leather And Synthetic Boots For Multi-Terrain Hiking - Outdoors Magic

Outdoors Gear, Equipment, News, Reviews, Forums, Walking Routes and More at


Walking Boots

Best Walking Boots 2023 | Leather And Synthetic Boots For Multi-Terrain Hiking

Light but protective, grippy and waterproof. Those are the key qualities to look for in a hiking boot for three-season walking. Here are the options that tick those boxes...

Three- season boots are your workhorse, the everything boot. These are the walking boots you throw in the car for a weekend walk across Wales or that you wear to take the dog for a wander in the woods. Three-season says it all really; for everything except using crampons in steep snow, these spring to autumn walking boots will do just fine.

During summer, however, many of the boots on test here will run hot, and a pair of trail or trail running shoes are probably best on low ground. Up on the mountains, no matter the weather, the stability of a high collar is recommended among the ankle-crunching rocks.

What To Look For When Buying Walking Boots

There is a myriad of elements to look at when searching for the best three-season walking boots, and even among this category, there’s a wide range of styles. It all depends on what you’ll be using them for.

Three-Season Walking Boots Buyer’s Guide

Lightweight Walking Boots Buyer’s Guide

Best Walking Shoes

For scrambling and summer mountaineering, you need a pair of boots that fit snugly and hold your toes for a decisive climb on steep rock. Boots such as the Hanwag and La Sportiva examples here also have stiffer soles. For that kind of stuff, it’s worth checking out our round up of the best mountaineering boots we posted recently.

For long-distance mountain walking without too much steep ground, then aim for a pair with a wider toe cap to let your feet relax and balance. We’d file the Danner and the Keen boots here under the category.

A Boot Fitting Guide

Once you’ve decided on end use, it’s time to start looking at fit. There should be enough room for your toes to wiggle and overall, once laced up, they should feel snug and secure with no hotspots that could lead to rubbing or blisters. The days of ‘breaking-in’ shoes are almost over. While they all benefit from time to get to know your feet, most will feel good walking out of the shop. All of these boots will have half-size increments.

Fit and comfort are of the paramount importance and should override any other considerations, but it’s also worth thinking about the material used. Leather is very durable but needs more looking after. It also tends to be heavier than synthetic materials. Consider too the waterproof membrane. Not all boots have a waterproof lining. Having one will mean they keep your feet dry (usually) but will run hot no matter how breathable the manufacturers claim the membrane is. It’s the same situation as you’ll find with even the best waterproof jackets out there. Most of the boots here have a Gore-Tex membrane or something similar. It’s less critical on leather boots as cowhide is naturally water resistant if treated.

Other elements to think about include the outsole. Will the lugs stand up against the wet soil of Britain or are they designed for trotting across dry Californian rock? Are the laces easy to tighten?
You usually just know when you’ve got the right boot for you, so if something is not quite right, move on.

Our Team’s Pick of the Best Walking Boots for 2023

  • Best Overall Walking Boot: Hanwag Banks GTX

  • Best Lightweight Walking Boot: Haglöfs Duality

  • Best Max-Cushioned Walking Boot: Hoka One One Stinson Mid GTX

  • Best Boot for Mountain Hikes: Aku Superalp V-Light GTX

  • Best Budget Walking Boot: Haglöfs Skuta Eco Proof

  • Best Vegan-Friendly Hiking Boots: Lowa Trek Evo GTX


Best Overall Walking Boot

Hanwag Banks GTX

Price: £200
Weight: 720g
Best for: Hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Comfortable, durable

Hanwag’s popular Banks boot, originally released 16 years ago, has been updated for 2020 with new materials and a slightly modernised design and fit. It’s still as stable, durable and comfortable as ever, so seems made for managing a day wading through sticky peat on top of Kinder Scout or for navigating the bogland of Rannoch Moor.

The Banks proved its versatility while on Jack's Rake. Photo: Jordan Tiernan

It also comes in a number of different variations to cater for different foot shapes. The standard model has their StraightFit last which gives a nice amount of space around the toes to let them sit naturally, then there’s the new SF Extra version which offers a wider fit around the ball of the foot. There are ladies specific variations of both of these models, plus a narrow fit option as well.

If you want something reliable enough and comfortable enough for a big day hike, or maybe even a national trail, the Banks GTX would be a very safe bet.

Full Specifications

Huge range of sizes and fits / Slightly larger forefoot for enhanced walking comfort / Reinforced PU foam wedge / Robust cast metal lace hooks / Inside stitch-and-turn seams for abrasion resistance / GORE-TEX lining



Best Lightweight Hiking Boot

Haglöfs Duality AT1

Price: £240 (AT1)
Weight: 363g (per shoe)
Best for: Summer hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Versatile, eco-friendly

The Haglöfs Duality AT1 is a hiking boot that comes with two sets of midsoles, each one designed to help the shoe handle different terrain. The red midsole brings a nice bit of cushioning underfoot to make this suited to country walks, gentler hill walks and also just road or pavement use, while the grey midsole stiffens the sole unit up. This shields your feet from sharp rocks and roots, making the boot suitable for mountain terrain and more challenging trails.

An aggressive, trail shoe-like outsole. Photo: Chris Johnson
Even the laces are made from recycled materials. Photo: Chris Johnson

The super comfy knitted upper is made from 100% recycled polyester, so too are the laces and the webbing on the heel, and the sole unit is easy to remove and replace should any issues occur. Haglöfs have also used Bloom Foam to make the midsoles, which utilises algal blooms taken from waterways. By removing it, these waterways are essentially turned back into much healthier ecosystems for marine life to thrive. Using this instead of your more typical plastic-based foam made from non-renewables also has its obvious benefits in terms of environmental impact as well.

The mesh upper makes this an extremely comfortable shoe to wear, one with a sock-like fit. Fortunately it also has a decent amount of durability to it as well thanks to the premium leather Haglöfs have used (this, by the way, comes from a tannery that meets a set of stringent ethical and environmental standards). It’s very lightweight at just 363g (per shoe) so you certainly feel very agile in these.

Though the AT1 boot isn’t waterproof, for £20 extra you can get a version that has a Gore-Tex lining (the AT1 GT). There’s also the AT2, which has a lower cut ankle.

Full Specifications

Sizes: men’s UK 6.5-12.5, women’s UK 4-8.5 / Exchangeable midsole / Premium sustainable leather with fluorocarbon free DWR / AHAR Plus (ASICS High Abrasion Resistance Rubber) outsole / Algae-based BLOOM FOAM in midsoles for excellent comfort, saving fresh water and CO2 / Knitted upper with sock comfort, made from 100% recycled polyester / Finger loop webbing on heel and tongue / Webbing and laces made from 100% recycled polyester

Chosen for our Green Gear Guide 2021. Read the full Haglofs Duality AT1 review



Best Boot for Mountain Hikes

AKU Superalp V-Light GTX

Price: £275
Weight: 630g
Best for: Mountain hiking, rocky terrain
Key attributes: Eco-friendly, well-built, grippy

AKU is a family owned company that’s been making boots for hiking and mountaineering since the early 1990s and the Superalp V-Light GTX is one of their latest launches. It’s the kind of thing that’d be absolutely perfect for, say, a hike over the scree, bumpy tracks and boulder fields encountered along the Alta Via multi-day trails through the Dolomites.

Our gear tester James using the Superalps on the Cumbria Way. Photos: Joe Whitmore

No animal leather is used here and AKU have also abandoned the use of old acrylic-based solvents in the glues in favour of a much eco-friendlier water-based option. Better still, the Italian brand has made sure that the majority of plastics they’ve used come from recycled materials. 99% recycled fabrics are used for the upper, for instance, and there’s a fully recycled backer to the Gore-tex membrane. The laces are made from recycled polyester too.

AKU’s proprietary Air 8000 fabric definitely brings a lot of breathability to the table, keeping the environment around your feet cool in hot climates or when you’re working hard. According to the brand, laboratory tests carried out by Gore-tex confirm that uppers made with the exclusive AKU AIR 8000 system offer a level of breathability up to 11.5 times higher than normal standards.

Full Specifications

99% recycled plastic for upper / fully recycled Gore-tex membrane backer / recycled polyester laces / no animal leather / large  rubber rand / breathable Air 8000 fabric / Vibram Curcuma outsole / 5mm lug depth.

Selected for our Green Gear Guide 2023 – Read our full AKU Superalp V-Light GTX boots review.



Best Max-Cushioned Walking Boot

Hoka One One Stinson Mid GTX

OM editor Will wearing the Stinson’s while hiking up Blencathra in the Lake District.

Price: £160
Weight: 481g (per boot)
Best for: Long-distance hiking, trekking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Comfortable, well-cushioned

Built for long-distance comfort, this is a boot with plenty of plush cushioning. Considering the flexibility of the sole and the Stinson’s overall lightweight nature, we’d say it’s best suited to three-season use.

There’s a minor toe bumper to protect the upper. Photo: Mike Brindley

The uppers are nubuck leather, backed with a Gore-Tex membrane for full waterproof protection. There’s a modest toe bumper to protect from rocks, a tall ankle cuff with a comfy moulded foam and then side wings that work well with the laces and the tongue to give a wraparound hold. It feels like a well-made boot, with quality features and materials throughout.

Full Specifications

Sizes men’s UK 6.5-13.5 / Waterproof Nubuck leather upper and GORE-TEX waterproof bootie / Moulded foam collar / Gusseted tongue / Wide midsole and accommodating fit ensure a comfortable ride / High volume CMEVA midsole for lightweight cushioning / 4mm lugs

Chosen for our 2020 Outdoor 100. Read our full Hoka One One Stinson Mid GTX review



Best Vegan-Friendly Hiking Boot

Lowa Trek Evo GTX Mid

Our team using the Lowa Trek Evo in the Langdale Valley while hiking the Cumbria Way. Photo: Joe Whitmore

Price: £230
Weight: 920g
Best for: Trail hikes, country walks, light treks
Key attributes: Sustainable design thinking, light and supportive, vegan-friendly

This is one of just a few products to make it into our exclusive Green Gear Guide this year. Why? Well, it’s not a totally carbon-neutral product, but we thought Lowa deserved commendation for focussing on making sure this can be resoled. 

While you do see quite a lot of mountaineering boots that can be resoled, you don’t see many in the lightweight category, so it’s refreshing to see Lowa take this approach here. Far too many boots go to landfill simply due to the tread wearing out early. 

This also doesn’t use any leather or glues derived from animals. In fact, it’s fully vegan-friendly. 

During our tests with this in the Lake District, we were impressed by its traction, cushioning and support. We also liked the lacing system, which gives a nice dialled-in fit. 

It makes a great three-season all rounder for hiking, hillwalking and backpacking. It comes in at a decent weight – not superlight but light enough – and it’s still sturdy and robust enough to take into the mountains with a heavy pack. All in all, it’s a very versatile boot with a modern design that works well for mixed terrain.

Full Specifications

Sizes: 3 1/2 to 9 (UK) / Upper: fabric, synthetic / Waterproof liner: Gore-tex / Outsole: Vibram Rock Track Sense / Midsole: PU / Two-zone lacing system / Fully resoleable.

Selected for our Green Gear Guide – take a closer look at the Lowa Trek Evo GTX Mid



Best Budget Walking Boot

Haglöfs Skuta Mid Eco Proof

Price: £135
Weight: 950g
Best for: Hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Comfortable, eco-friendly

As we’ve come to expect from Swedish brand Haglofs, the Skuta Mid Proof Eco has been built with sustainability in mind. This has been done by avoiding the use of any nasty chemicals in its creation. What we’re specifically referring to are those PFCs or perfluorinated compounds, which have been proven to be environmentally hazardous. In an impressively bold move, Haglöfs have said they’ll actually be phasing out fluorocarbons from their complete range by 2020.

Eco friendliness aside, we think that these are a nice-looking boot, successfully blending that traditional leather look with a modern style to create something that looks high-tech without being over the top or ‘out there’. It’s generously cushioned and fairly flexible midsole features both EVA foam and a shock absorbing gel so you can expect comfort over distances. All-in-all, a great boot at a decent price as well.

Full Specifications

Sizes 6.5-12.5 (UK) / waterproof, fluorocarbon free Proof Eco membrane / Gel rearfoot cushioning / moulded EVA midsole / premium eco-friendly leather / Asics high abrasion resistance rubber

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – take a closer look at the Haglofs Skuta Mid Proof Eco here



Best of the Rest


Keen Ridge Flex

Price: £150
595g (per pair)
Best for: Hiking and hillwalking
Key attributes: Versatile, eco-friendly

Footwear specialists Keen tend to think a little bit out of the box with their designs. Case in point the Keen Uneek sandal… Google it. With this design, the Keen Ridge Flex, they’ve created a boot that draws upon the same kind of mechanics used on a bendy bus, incorporating a built-in TPU ‘bellows’ to reduce the amount of resistance to the natural flex of your stride. We can vouch for it. It works. These boots feel very comfortable and easy to walk in and the bellows should actually reduce the risk of these boots wearing out at that typical flashpoint at the toes that you normally see on footwear.

Some images from our test trip in Snowdonia. Photos: Chris Johnson

All the usual traits of a Keen boot are there: a well-cushioned sole, nice roll to the sole unit itself, a wide toe box to let the toes sit naturally, big toe bumper and then a decent enough bit of grip. The Ridge Flex is waterproof too, thanks to the application of Keen’s proprietary Keen.Dry membrane. This, by the way, is completely free from any nasty of the PFCs that you often find in walking boots.

Full Specifications

Sizes men’s US 6-16, women’s US 2.5-8.5 / Sustainable leather uppers with KEEN.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane / Speed hook lacing / EVA foam midsole / Removable PU footbed / Shank offers lightweight support / 5mm multi-directional lugs for traction / Eco-friendly odour control.

Chosen for our Outdoor 100 2021/22. Read our full Keen Ridge Flex review.



On Cloudrock WP

Price: £180
Weight: 445g
Best for: Fast hiking
Key attributes: Well-cushioned, lightweight

If you’re looking to up your daily mileage on your hikes, you’ll love this walking boot, which is imbued with the fast-moving energy of a running shoe. As such, we’d argue this is the ideal boot for anyone taking part in a timed, multi-day, hiking challenge, like the Welsh 3000s, or just a simple long-distance yomp. Its effective waterproofing also means the boot is great for outdoor enthusiasts who like to be about and about, come rain or shine.

Founded in 2010, On are famous for their running shoes. Photo: Mike Brindley
Comfortable and grippy underfoot. Photo: Mike Brindley

The Cloudrock features On’s proprietary waterproof membrane which is guarded by a nylon upper with a light PU lamination in certain parts of the upper to add structure and protection. The rubber mudguard is more than tough enough to handle the hits, but it’s also light and flexible to elevate the boot’s overall speediness.

The Missiongrip rubber adds traction, and the clever lugs really bite down into soft trails – meaning you can properly put the pedal down and make powerful, confident, strides on them day-long marches in the hills. One downside we’ve found is that the lugs do tend to get a bit clogged up with mud and stones at times.

Something On call a ‘Speedboard’ lines the sole to provide stability, propulsion and protection from sharp stuff underfoot. With each step, the Cloudtec elements compress to soften the landing each time your foot strikes the ground and while this is happening, the Speedboard flexes – loading itself with energy from the impact. It’s all impressive sounding stuff, as is the low weight. At just 445g, speedy hiking boots don’t come much more lightweight than the Cloudrock.

Full Specifications

Sizes men’s UK 6.5-12, women’s UK 3-9 / Wind- and waterproof membrane upper / Padded collar and tongue / Rubberized mudguard / Missiongrip rubber outsole / FlexLock lacing system / Speedboard midsole / Zero-Gravity CloudTec pods.

Chosen for our 2020 Outdoor 100 – Read our full On Cloudrock shoe review.



Brandecosse Capriolo

Price: £180
Weight: 980g (per pair)
Best for: Country walking, hiking, hunting
Key attributes: Waterproof, timeless looks, precise fit

The stylish Brandecosse Capriolo walking boots feature a fully waterproof and breathable suede upper, with a robust Vibram outsole and traditional good looks. Weighing in at 980g per pair, they’re relatively lightweight for a premium shoe and offer comfort and protection on the trails.

Photos from our test trip with the Capriolo in the Highlands of Scotland.

The upper is hewn from soft but strong Italian suede, a highly breathable material that gives these boots their classic appearance. This, enhanced with a sustainably made Sympatex waterproof lining, equates to a shoe that can regulate your temperature while simultaneously keeping you dry, which makes for an ideal piece of footwear for the warmer months.

In terms of features, the Capriolo features a tough rubber toecap to achieve the level of shielding required for summer missions in the backcountry. The comprehensive lacing system goes all the way from the ankle to the toe, giving you a customisable fit depending on the shape of your foot. This is reminiscent of approach shoes, so you have the option of tightening everything up nicely for precise scrambling moves when you hit the rock.

The Capriolo has been extensively tested by our team for nearly two years now and there’s virtually no sign of wear and tear. That’s testament to the durable construction and quality materials Brandecosse have used. Excellent boots.

Full Specifications

Scottish brand, Italian manufacturers / fully waterproof and breathable suede upper / Vibram outsole / leather midsole / memory foam footbed / three-season hiking / approach shoe-style lacing system / waterproof lining / tough rubber toecap / UK size 4 to 12/

Selected for the 2020 Outdoor 100 – take a closer look at the Brandescosse Capriolo walking boots review.



Salomon Quest 4 GTX

OM editor Will testing out the waterproof protection of the Quest 4 GTX in Pembrokeshire.

Price: £180
Weight: 1524g
Best for: Hillwalking and trekking
Key attributes: Comfortable, good flex but still supportive

The Salomon Quest, in its various iterations over the years, has been one of the best-selling boots in the UK – and with good reason. It’s a superbly comfortable boot that performs well on those days with big mileage.

The first thing to notice is how high the ankle is. It goes well above the ankle and up to the shin and this makes these boots very stable on rocky ground – the chances of going over on your ankle in them is slim. The sole has a nice bit of flex to it and plenty of cushioning and the lacing system draws in well around the foot to give you a lot of control over the fit. The outsole is reasonably aggressive and there’s a cut out at the heel for particularly impressive traction on the downhill.

That high cut ankle, the Gore-Tex lining and chunky leather and fabric uppers make the Quest fairly warm boots. There’s plenty of panelling and stitching too, which makes us question its likely long-term durability a little. But other than that, there’s not much to fault.

Full Specifications

Sizes men’s UK 6.5-13.5, women’s UK 3.5-7.5 / upper: Nubuck leather/textile / Gore-tex membrane / Ortholite insole / Contragrip outsole / protective mudguard / protective toecap / gusseted tongue / EVA foam midsole / drop: 12mm.

For more, check out our full Salomon Quest 4 GTX review.



La Sportiva TX4

Price: £200
Weight: 485g
Best for: Hiking, hillwalking, scrambling, approach
Key attributes: Precise, grippy

La Sportiva have taken their climbing shoe knowledge and applied it with great success to their range of approach shoes and boots – the Traverse X line. As the name implies, the line is designed to traverse mountainous terrain, whether that be via ferrata, mountain ridges, or easy trad climbing.

“The grip has been great over all of the terrain I’ve been testing them out on, and also the waterproofing has certainly been up to scratch,” said Outdoors Magic gear tester Anna Blackwell, who took the TX4 out during a testing trip in the Brecon Beacons. “These are right at home on rocky routes, but are also a good option for easier hiking and hillwalking as well.”

Full Specifications

Sizes 36-47.5 (EU) / available in men’s and women’s / Gore-Tex waterproof lining / shock absorbing EVA midsole / Vibram Mega-Grip outsole / Impact Brake System / climbing zone at the toe / Mythos lacing system

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – take a closer look at the La Sportiva TX4 Mid here



Adidas Terrex Free Hiker

Price: £170
Weight: 382g
Best for: Fast hiking
Key attributes: Well-cushioned, lightweight

The Free Hiker is arguably one of the biggest releases from Adidas Terrex this season; a hiking boot that features their trademark running technology – Boost.  Boost is essentially a foam-based midsole that offers large amounts of cushioning with quite a springy feeling whilst you’re walking. It makes for an impressive amount of comfort on the trails that you’ll be thankful of after a few miles in your legs.

Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson

Also underfoot, you’ve got a Continental rubber outsole with 5mm lugs that wouldn’t look out of place on a trail running shoe. It’s these lugs that give some great traction over the trails. Another similarity to a trail shoe is the weight of the Free Hiker – 382g – something that you’re again going to appreciate as you start logging those miles.

Full Specifications

Sizes 5 – 14 (UK) / available in men’s and women’s / Primeknit upper with abrasion-resistant weldings / Continental rubber outsole / Boost midsole / midsole drop: 10 mm (heel 33 mm / forefoot 23 mm) / moulded TPU toe cap / heel cap for stability on the heel.

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – take a closer look at the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker here




Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.