The Best Walking Boots for your money!One of the most essential pieces of equipment to have when setting off round the UK in our glorious weather is a functional pair of walking boots! Whether you are going hiking, camping or backpacking, the right set of shoes goes a long way to make your trip a bit more relaxing.
The ideal shoes will help you to remain comfortable while walking on various tough terrains, protect your feet from getting blisters, as well as allow you to cope with any adverse weather that Mother Nature throws at you.However, well-made walking boots do not come cheap; if you intend to buy on a budget, you might have to do a great deal of due diligence. Luckily, it’s not a lost cause for you! Several manufacturers offer high-quality adventure walking boots in their product lines that are designed for the budget buyer. We are here to make sure that you don’t go in circles when you start your search for the best pair of of best budget walking boots. If you're also in the market for GPS Watches, check our our recent article on the Best Budget Smart Watch.
Budget Walking Boots - Buyer's Guide
DurabilityMore often than not, you’ll have a choice between fabric and leather models when buying a pair of walking boots. Traditional full grain leather boots tend to be heavier and this may be a burden over distant treks, but will last for eons with the appropriate maintenance. They also require a break-in period after being bought, although mold comfortably to your feet over time.
Because of their thickness, full grain leather boots will keep your feet warmer inside and make a great choice for the winter season.Fabric boots, on the other hand, are lighter and come in handy when you have to spend the whole day walking. They are also more breathable and better suited for summer walking adventure. On the flip side, they offer less warmth and less durability in tough hiking conditions. Fabrics such as suede may look good but require a lot of care to maintain. In the end, it’s up to you to do the balancing act and consider the tradeoff between comfort and durability when choosing the material for your walkers boots.
SupportThere are two things to keep in mind when determining the amount of internal support offered by a pair of hiking boots. Firstly, it’s the shanks! Typically, these are 3-5mm thick inserts found between the midsole and the outsole of the shoe. They serve to add stiffness to the midsole and reduce the pressure on your feet as you walk.
Shanks may cover the whole length of midsole or just extended halfway depending on the design of the shoe. The other facet of internal support is the plates.They are the thin and semi-flexible inserts placed below the shank. Primarily, they work to protect your feet from bruises when you are trudging on uneven terrains like rocks and tree roots. You want to find a pair of boots that employ the perfect combination of plates and shanks. This will offer you maximum support for the length of time you will be out walking and prevents muscle fatigue and soreness.
WaterproofingThe best walk boots you can buy should be waterproof. This is a crucial element that serves to shield you against the elements, especially when it starts to rain or when it is snowing. Usually, manufacturers use treatments like DWR or Gore-Tex to prevent moisture from getting inside the shoe. This will keep your feet dry and warm even when you have to step on puddles and wade through marshy ground.
It also shields against undesirable fungal infections that result from prolonged exposure to wetness.When searching for a pair of hiking boots, ensure that the brand you buy is described as “fully waterproof” and not “water-resistant”! A water-resistant shoe can only keep light showers off but fail miserably when the weather is adverse, e.g. blizzards and hailstorms.
TractionThe best hiking boots for men should be designed with rugged vibram rubber soles with deep lugs to offer maximum grip on slippery terrain. Bootmakers employ a certain technology known as Vibram to toughen the outer soles of the shoe. This results in bouncy soles with the right tread pattern to keep you on your twos when the ground is unstable.
Brands that couple Vibram soles and Gore-Tex technologies tend to offer a more than decent performance.However, they also don’t come cheap and you might have to search extensively to find both features on a budget walking boot!
FitWhichever type of hiking boots you select, you must ensure that they fit you perfectly. There should be enough room in the toe box area for your feet to wriggle, as well as the back area to give your heel some room to turn. The shoes should not be too tight as this will end causing bruising and the formation of corns. On the other hand, they shouldn’t be too loose that your feet slide inside them. This can be very dangerous on slippery or uneven ground, and may easily result in a sprained ankle. Ideally, look for a shoe that fits snugly. If possible, try on the shoes while still in the store and walk in them a little to get the feel. This will let you know whether it’s the appropriate size for your feet. Nevertheless, note that full grain leather hiking shoes require a break-in period and might feel tight out of the box. However, they eventually mold to your feet after a few walking sessions and get more comfortable.
BreathabilityBreathability is an essential feature than any decent hiking boots should have, especially if you plan to set off on the trail in the summer months. Manufacturers use breathable fabrics to enhance the free flow of air inside and outside the shoe when the conditions get too hot and humid.
Sweaty feet can be too uncomfortable and mess up your adventure. They also cause blistering and may resulting in a condition known as “athlete’s foot” when it keeps on for a while.The best way to prevent this is by making sure the pair of hiking boots you select offers a decent degree of breathability.
What Are The Best Walking Boots?
Merrell Moab 2 MidIf you only hit the trail once in a while, then the Merrell Moab 2 Mid hiking boots will be a nice pair to have around for when you crave the outdoors. They are not the toughest shoes out there, but they’ll do just fine for those light hikers looking to explore some “friendly” open spaces. Despite their affordable price, these shoes score decently across various metrics. The Moabs have a waterproof membrane, but they won’t resist heavy rainfall. They also manage to remain breathable enough to keep your feet cool and fresh when it gets hot and humid. You’ll appreciate the effort the manufacturer put on the ankle support and the easy-to-use lacing system ensures you get the correct fit easily.
Another great thing about these hiking shoes is that they have no break-in period. They are comfy straight out of the box.The tongue and collar are cushioned for added comfort while the insole features convenient arch support. You also get a flexible footbed to reduce rigidity while walking. Generally, these shoes offer modest stability with their low on the ankle design. This is why most people who buy them are light hikers and not extreme mountaineers or backpackers. They will do well in relatively flat terrain and the outsole is strong enough to withstand wear and tear.
The tread pattern on these walking boots does not go particularly deep, so walking on slippery ground might be a bit of trouble.This limits the nature of terrains these boots can be used in. The best traction you get out of them is when the trail is a dry dirt road or the tarmac. Finally, you can find this shoe in with a waterproof membrane or non-waterproof membrane design. If you’re going for those summer hikes , the non-waterproof membrane version will be a better choice since they offer much better breathability. Pros
- Great over short distances
- Comfortable fit right out of the box
- Ease to use lacing system
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Can’t handle adverse conditions
- Grip and traction are wanting
Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX
One of our Favourite Boots here at ArcticDryThe X Ultra 3 Mid GTX from Salomon is a high-performance hiking boot, but unlike the Moab 2 above, it shines both in lightweight and extreme trails. It is conveniently lightweight to enhance your agility while hiking and comes with a grippy rubber outsole to ensure you remain upright on all kinds of surfaces.
The shoe’s rugged construction promises to keep it going even through rough and extended use.It is pretty comfortable, you’d think you’re wearing a trailing running shoe with a sculpted insole, supportive collar, and cushioned tongue. Salomon didn’t compromise when it comes to quality features on these shoes. Gore-Tex material has been incorporated into the build of the shoe to ensure that no moisture gets inside when it starts to rain. This, however, maintains nice breathability, which will come in handy when your feet get hot and sweaty. The heel and toe box are solidly made to protect your digits when walking on rough and rocky trails. This pair of hiking boots is suitable for both day hiking and backpacking adventures. Its outsole was upgraded from its previous version to include improved downhill traction while offering you flexibility and durability. Buyers will also like the shoe is available in a variety of sizes to cater for different types of feet.
The Gore-Tex used on the Ultra 3s make for great waterproofing performance in shallow water.Pros
- Suitable for all types of hiking
- Great traction
- Waterproof and breathable
- Impressive arch support
- Underwhelming Quicklace system
Berghaus Hillmaster II Gore-Tex BootsAt its price range, the Hillmaster II from Berghaus is the best three-season hiking boot you can buy. The company built on the success of past Hillmaster models to create an improved design that borrows from the features that made this line so popular while adding a few extras. This hiking boot is designed with a wide entry and the first three rows of cleats feature open hooks. This makes it easy for you to wear and remove them, even when your hands are numb from cold or your socks are too thick. Its metal eyelets make for fast closure, as well as a tight fit without spending too much energy. The locking eyelets also enable you to determine the tension across your arches to prevent tightening your foot. Thanks to Gore-Tex material on the outer shell, the shoe is guaranteed to remain waterproof for the period you’ll be using and stave off any moisture that ambushes you in the middle of the journey.
Despite, the material is still breathable enough to ensure your feet don’t suffocate when the temperature rises.The heel and ankle support are engineered to offer maximum stability and prevent sprains when walking on unstable terrain However, if the route is too treacherous, then you might want to look higher up the shelf for better stability. The soles feature deep enough lugs to offer decent grip and this is reinforced by anti-clogging properties. Overall, the fit is snug and comfortable. This is because the shoe is uniquely tailored to individual users, so you have no tight spots to worry about. Your comfort is guaranteed by the inclusion of fabric lining inside, ankle foam pads, as well as memory foam on the tongue and collar.
The leather outer material is quite durable, and it will be a while before you buy a new hiking boot.Nonetheless, this means that the Hillmaster IIs have a break-in period. They are notable tight straight out of the box but it gets better over time. You can shorten the break-in period by using Dubbin wax on the different flex points inside the boot. On the downside, these boots are pretty weighty. At 1500g, they can easily drag you down on long treks and turn into a burden when you’re scaling steep hills. Luckily, the thick Vibram soles should ensure that you never lose your footing, even when the surface gets slippery. Pros
- Waterproof yet breathable
- Offers a tailored fit
- Easy to wear and remove
- Pretty heavy
- Reduced lugs limits traction on steep slopes
Salomon’s Quest 4d 3 GTX High Rise Hiking BootsThis a mid-weight, high cut hiking boot that was made for adventures on technical training. It is the kind of brand you go to if you’re into scree skating, trail hiking, or even scrambling over ice and slush. According to the manufacturer, the Quest 4d 3s by Salomon are engineered with shoe-adopted technology. But you might not agree with this when you try them out as the boots are pretty weighty. On the bright side, the flexible chassis makes for a comfortable time when hiking in these boots. The lacing system also allows for a range of motions, which lets you customise the fit to your preference.
The eyelet in the middle of the shoe features little gripping teeth that allow you to tighten the fit further when you want.Meanwhile, the ankle lacing system pulls your heel to the back of the foot, ensuring that there is plenty of room in the toe box for your digits to wriggle free and keeps them from sliding forward during steep descents. For a renowned brand like Salomon, you’d expect a lot on the side of comfort, which the manufacturer doesn’t disappoint. To start with, the Cordura-type fabric upper material pairs with the suede nubuck leather to deliver a smooth feel around your foot while a rubber bumper protects your toes from injury when you trip on a rock or root. A Gore-Tex lining on the walls of these hiking boots help to make it waterproof to ensure your feet remain toasty and cozy when it rains. Also, a removable Ortholite insole combines with an EVA foam midsole to offer plenty of cushioning, which helps to soak in the shock when you walk on hard ground.
You still get more padding on the heel for extra comfort while the rubber outsole will keep you on your twos when the surface gets slippery.If you’re a hardcore backpacker interest in tackling extremely rugged terrains, then the Salomon Quest 4d 3s will prove to be a good hiking companion. The ankle support is impressive and the sturdy fit keeps you from sliding inside the shoe. The shoe is also quite breathable despite being fundamentally being waterproof hiking boots, which allows your feet some ample breathing room when hiking in hot environments. On the downside, the shoes are on the upper side of cheap hiking boots. Although the price makes sense for a hard-wearing boot meant for extreme trails. Furthermore, they are heavy and might not be a great choice for the inexperienced hikers. If you don’t have the stamina to walk endless miles, I recommend you find an alternative from the other options in this review. Pros
- Highly breathable
- Plenty of padding for comfort
- Rugged design
Merrell MQM Flex Mid GTX BootMerrell describe these walking boots for men as a lightweight, waterproof, and protective walking shoes designed for scaling mountains fast. A glance at the Merrell MQM Flex Mid Hiking Boots and you will agree with the manufacturer's claims. The shoe has a low design that allows it to maintain a lightweight profile, perfect for walking fast and easy. You’ll appreciate the technology invested in this shoe to ensure it delivers unrivaled performance among cheap hiking boots. Among the most impressive is the Gore-Tex membrane which offers top of the line waterproofing, as well as breathability. This means the MQMs will serve you diligently in the rain and under the sun.
Their M Select Grip outsoles are designed to offer steady and slip-resistant traction, thanks to the 3.5mm-deep lugs.Elsewhere, the Hyperlock heel offers needed stability and protection against sprains when you are descending steep slopes and taking sharp turns. The company’s proprietary Air Cushion and TrailProtect pad work together to provide shock absorption on rugged terrain, ensuring that your comfort on the trail is not compromised. As if that’s not enough, you get a FLEXconnect midsole that makes for flexible and natural foot movement to keep you stable and agile as you hike. All in all, there is a range of trademarked features on the MQMs that together ensure that you get a unique and elevated walking experience.
You’ll find these walking boots to be extremely comfortable. There is no risk of blisters or pinch with the snug fit they offer.Furthermore, their multipurpose design makes them suitable for a variety of outdoor adventures, including hiking, climbing, trail running and even scrambling. They also remain versatile on mud, grass, rocky, and boulder fields. Overall, these hiking boots from Merrell offer great value for money and they're among the best waterproof hiking boots you can take a chance on right now! Pros
- Multipurpose design
- Shines on different terrains
- Lightweight and comfortable
- High technology features
- Not for extreme conditions
Columbia Peakfreak XCRSN II Xcel Mid Outdry BootsThe Peakfreak Mids from Columbia were designed for hardcore climbers who like to push themselves to the limit! This ultra-lightweight pair of hiking boots come with an attractive design that enables you to stay stylish even when battling with the tough outdoors. Overall, they will serve you best on light and fast mountain adventures.
There are so many great features on these waterproof boots that help to make them the ultimate outdoor gear.For one, they employ Columbia’s OutDry technology, which is a membrane lining that seals the stitching to prevent wetness from getting inside. This results in excellent waterproofing that allows you to keep going when the heavens open. The shoes are also breathable and allow for free airflow in and out when it gets hot and sweaty inside. You won’t be dragged down by the lightweight construction even when you have to spend the whole day hiking on the trail. The use of Omni Grip outsoles means you get enough traction on slippery situations. The lugs are deep and multi-directional for enhanced grip on various surfaces.
Inside the shoe, you get a springy Techlite midsole that aims to provide plenty of cushioning and soak in the shock when walking on hardened ground, aswell as a gusseted tongue.The fit is also snug right out of the package, you won’t have to suffer through a break-in period. You will enjoy just how light they feel on your feet, and this makes them suitable for fast hiking adventures. On the downside, you might notice that the Columbia Peakfreaks feel more like trainers than boots. Aside from the super-lightweight build, they don’t offer firm ankle protection, which exposes you to the risk of a sprained ankle on unstable ground. Also, the shell is not that durable and will not hold up as well as leather boots when the conditions get extremely rugged. Pros
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Nice traction
- Ample insole padding
- Little ankle support
- Relatively light construction
The North Face Men's Hedgehog Fastpack GTXIf you’re looking for a comfortable pair of walking shoes that you can slip in for a casual walk over the weekends, the Hedgehog Fastpacks from North Face offer a practical solution in both warm and cold weather.
The shoes come with a lightweight and comfortable design, thanks to a 100% textile construction.They offer a comfortable fit without requiring a break-in period and the Gore-Tex material inside serves to keep the moisture outside. However, it is breathable enough to be used in warm conditions.
With an easy to use lacing system, you’ll have an easy to wearing the shoe and achieving the ideal fit for your next hiking adventure.A dual-density and compression-molded EVA midsole provides cushioning while walking to prevent fatigue on those endless walks. You will love the Cradle Guide midsole, which pairs with Snake Plate technology to offer you ample support as you navigate rocky sloped and uneven ground. The gum rubber outsoles offer a good grip on the ground and ensure that you don’t lose your footing on slippery ground. However, the low ankle design of these hiking boots means that you can’t wade across streams without letting in some water. Not to mention that some customers have complained that the Hedgehogs are not as waterproof as you’d expect. Pros
- Comfortable padding
- Lightweight construction
- Good grip
- Not very rugged
- Lets in water