Our hiking and walking boots can be full height boots or mid boots in leather or synthetic materials. Walking boots which are waterproof will protect your feet in standard or wide boot fittings. Gore-Tex hiking boots are waterproof and breathable for active use when feet need to breathe to stop blisters when hiking and walking.
Ensure walking boots are properly fitted so follow our walking boots fitting guide below.
Full Grain Leather walking boots
This is durable,tough with excellent abrasion resistance, breathable and has natural water repellency. Full grain leather boots are mainly used for rugged terrain and wet weather. It can come in different thicknesses, needs less stitching in the manufacturing process and can be easily cleaned and waxed.
Nubuck leather hiking boots
This is full grain leather but buffed for a different finish has good water and abrasion resistance and is breathable too. It is more flexible than standard full grain and can be waxed over if preferred for a smooth look, or re-waterproofed with a spray.
Fabric & leather walking boot material
In this type of boot polyester or nylon is usually used together with less expensive leathers. Waterproof linings are used in synthetic boot models as there is no natural waterproofing.
How to choose the right hiking boot
- Weight can be a practical consideration and relevant for different types of hiking. For example, if you are doing a backpacking trip to Thailand you might prefer a light but sturdy boot like something from our Salomon or Mammut range which is waterproof and has good ankle support.
- Although Alpine style boots like the Scarpa Kailash Pro GTX or Zamberlan Vioz are heavier, these more traditional styles are better for stability on varying terrain. Leather boots in general mould to the foot and keep their shape better than synthetic varieties and remain strong for a long time.
- It's worth considering a boots waterproof capability. Most boots are now manufactured with a waterproof membrane or lining like Gore-Tex that allow feet to breathe and stay dry. Water in boots can cause odour build up, blisters and can get really uncomfortable, so worth paying the extra for a good quality boot with a waterproof lining.
- Stubbed toes and twisted ankles are the two most common hiking injuries. Think about the type of terrain you will encounter. Rough terrain requires more ankle support and steep inclines can hurt toes so make sure the boot has enough room.
- The way a boot looks can have an important role to play. The traditional style has been around a long time but synthetic boots often look more modern and technical or mimic the leather style. Its definitely down to personal preference on this one.
Walking Boot Fitting Guide - how to fit hiking boots
Try out these few simple tests with your boots to ensure you have the correct fit.
- Finger Test: Put an unlaced boot on and slide a finger behind your foot. If it doesn't fit easily the boot will be too tight.
- Sensory Test: Without socks try the boot on and feel all the places(if any) where the boot feels tight. Take note of any pinching or pressure areas.
- Stride Test: What happens when you walk? Do they flex in the right place when you bend your foot? any pressure on top of the toes? does the heel stay secure or move up and down a lot within the boot? (you may find this occurs more on one foot more than the other as there is usually a slight size difference. This can often be rectified by using a thin liner sock underneath your normal one or using a heel counter to take up the excess room).
- Slant Test: Find a slanted area or a flight of stairs and think how the boot might perform going down hill. Does your foot slide around or move forward too much within or is it held securely by the lacing system? do your toes touch the end of the boot?
Other useful tips
- Try new footwear on in the late afternoon or evening as feet expand slightly.
- Wear your favourite walking socks.
- Don't forget to put in orthotics if you use them normally.
- Remember toes need plenty of room and shouldn't be touching the end or feel squashed in any way.