Best Walking Boots

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

18 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
112 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best walking boots

Last Updated July 2020

If you spend considerable time walking on trails or uneven terrain, you might be searching for better footwear. Sneakers might not be rugged enough, yet hiking boots could be too rigid or heavy. To strike a balance between the two, your best option is to invest in a pair of walking boots.

Walking boots are designed with flexible soles and well-grooved treads to support a comfortable and supportive stride. They’re ideal for prolonged walking excursions, whether you’re traveling, camping, or hitting local trails. Walking boots are also popular for work, especially for those splitting their time between indoors and outdoors on a daily basis.

If you’d like the comfort of a sneaker and the toughness of a hiking boot, look no further than walking boots. Take a step in the right direction and give our buying guide a read. We explain the attributes of walking boots, plus we share some tips to help you choose the best pair around. For our top picks, see the matrix above.

To customize your fit and support, experiment with more than one lacing style for your walking boots. You may prefer European or crisscross styles, just to name a few.

Key considerations

Walking boots vs. walking sneakers

At first glance, it’s easy to tell the difference between walking boots and walking sneakers. Unlike walking sneakers, most walking boots extend above the ankle to provide superior support and protection against sprains. Walking boots are also made with weatherproof or water-resistant materials, whereas walking sneakers are usually made from materials that are easily saturated when exposed to water.
 

Walking boots vs. hiking boots

Walking boots and hiking boots look strikingly similar, so you’ll need to take a look at the fine details to tell them apart. You’ll notice the treads on hiking boots feature deep grooves and are usually part of a molded platform outsole. Walking boots, on the other hand, have a modest grain and texture to their treads, and their outsoles aren’t always as defined as hiking boots.

The other major difference between walking boots and hiking boots is sole flexibility. Hiking boots have a rigid design, which is ideal for traversing challenging terrain. Walking boots are far more flexible, as they’re usually worn on flatter, more even ground. The flex and contouring of walking boots keep feet in the proper anatomical position, which allows for maximum points of contact with the ground.

EXPERT TIP

Walking boots are equipped with heel pull tabs. Use these to help pull on your boots and to shimmy your foot around inside for a comfortable fit.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Materials

Most walking boots are designed for all-season wear, so they’re made with top-quality materials. To maximize wear and protection, superior walking boots are made with a well-designed combination of materials.

Leather is a common choice, as it’s breathable, flexible, and long-lasting. The most common types of leather used in walking boots are nubuck, top-grain leather, and suede. As leather isn’t waterproof by nature, it’s often treated with a water-repellent coating.

Reinforced mesh paneling is often found on walking boots. Not only does it promote airflow, the lightweight material offsets the weight of heavier materials, such as leather uppers and rubber soles. These panels may also have reflective details.

Many walking boots incorporate Gore-Tex into their designs. This breathable membrane repels liquid while allowing for airflow throughout the boots. While it’s an expensive material that can drive up the price of walking boots, it’s worth the investment if you intend to walk in wet conditions.

Outsoles and treads

The outsoles and treads are the most important parts of walking boots. The outsole is typically attached to a modest platform, which prevents the foot from fully sinking into moist ground. Treads, molded into the outsole, feature grooved designs that improve your grip on terrain, whether it’s dirt, mud, or uneven ground.

The outsoles of walking boots are flexible, comparable to that of sneakers. This maximizes the points of contact with the ground, which helps you retain your balance by ensuring a stable heel-toe step. Flexibility is also what makes walking boots well suited for prolonged wear, as the boots minimize fatigue by contouring to your feet.

Ankle support

Walking boots can have low-mid, mid-top, or high-top cuts. Regardless of the cut, the ankle is always partially or fully covered to provide superior support. This shaft, or the area from the ankle to the top of the boot, is moderately rigid to keep sprains and injuries at bay – especially rolled ankles. More often than not, there’s additional padding in the shaft to cushion ankles and absorb shock and impact as you walk.

Lining

If you’d like to boost your comfort level, invest in walking boots with a lining that suits your needs. For maximum comfort and a snug, supportive fit, invest in padded linings. These are usually cotton or polyester-blend shells that smooth over seams to minimize friction and rubbing. To keep your feet warm in cooler temperatures, consider walking boots with shearling, faux shearling, plush, or fleece linings.

Insoles

Walking boots with molded insoles are contoured to place your feet in an ergonomic position. Molded insoles are typically made of high-grade memory foam, which also aids in shock absorption. While they provide support throughout your entire foot, the heel and arch areas are usually more cushioned and defined.

Some walking boots have removable insoles. This means you can replace them with custom insoles, either store-bought or prescribed by your podiatrist.

Laces

As is the case with most outdoor footwear, walking boots employ a lacing system to customize fit. Laces go all the way up the shaft, though you’ll notice that the top few eyelets are actually hooks. Depending on your lacing preferences, you can utilize the hooks for a tighter, more secure fit or leave them undone to allow a bit more flexibility around your mid-calf area.

Walking boot laces are similar to hiking boot laces in that they’re tightly woven to prevent breaking or shredding. Round shoelaces are most common, but some casual walking boots use flat laces. Many styles come packaged with an extra pair of laces as well.

EXPERT TIP

Your regular shoe size might not be the size you need in walking boots. Refer to the manufacturer’s sizing guide and measure your foot.


Staff  | BestReviews

Walking boot prices

If you’re in the market for walking boots, be prepared to spend between $50 and $200. The better the materials and construction, the more expensive the boots will be, but the longer they’ll last.

Inexpensive: Budget-friendly walking boosts cost $50 to $100 and are usually water-repellent. They’ll last for a couple of seasons of heavy use or longer if you intend to wear them casually.

Mid-range: Mid-range walking boots come in at $100 to $150. Not only do styles in this price range feature rugged construction, they’re often weatherproof for wear in rain and snow.

Expensive: Premium walking boots run $150 and up. These are designed with patented technology to improve fit, comfort, and breathability.

DID YOU KNOW?

If you have sensitive skin, be aware that walking boots may irritate the skin if you wear low-cut socks. To minimize friction and burns, wear socks that are cut higher than your walking boots.

Tips

  • Walk around inside to break in your walking boots. As is the case with all footwear, it’s best to break in your walking boots prior to wearing them on an all-day excursion.

  • Try on the boots with the socks you’ll wear with them. Always try on walking boots with the socks you intend to wear with them. This will help you gage whether the fit is too loose or snug.

  • Carry a pair of spare laces. It’s hard to predict when your laces may break, so it’s a good idea to bring a spare set with you on camping trips or when traveling abroad.

  • Store walking boots appropriately. If it’s the off-season, store your walking boots in a dark, breathable place in your home. This will minimize cracks or discoloration of the leather.

If you intend to regularly wear thicker or wool socks with your walking boots, you may need to size up to give your feet enough room.

FAQ

Q. Are walking boots available in extended sizes?
A. Walking boots are available in men’s and women’s regular sizes, but not all manufacturers offer half sizes. Only select brands offer their walking boots in wide widths, and these boots may require a special order through the manufacturer.
 

Q. How much do walking boots weigh?
A. On average, walking boots weigh between one and two pounds each. Those made with more synthetic materials, such as mesh panels, tend to be a bit lighter. Boots made predominantly from leather, on the other hand, are usually the heaviest.
 

Q. How do I remove dirt and mud from my walking boots?
A. To remove superficial dirt, scrape your boots on a coarse doormat. That should remove most of it, though you may need to use a boot brush or boot scraper to dislodge the rest. If you notice something is caked on and difficult to remove, try scrubbing the treads with a brush saturated in dish soap.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
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