Shoes designed for long walks banish blisters and let you enjoy your hikes, and in many cases, walking shoes are more suitable than boots. The shoes are lighter and often more comfortable, and they are ideal for hot weather when a full boot can make your feet a little too warm. Walking shoes are also more versatile – they’re great for a city break – and are generally less expensive than boots. A decent pair, however, is still a substantial investment and should last you a long time, so it’s worth understanding your options. Our buying guide should help.
Walking shoe buying guide
By far the most important thing is fit, so try them on before committing, ideally at a store that offers a shoe fitting service. At the very least, make sure you can easily return pairs purchased online. If you can, go up and down an incline with them – good stores will have a ramp – making sure your heels don’t slip on the way up and your toes don’t hit the toes of the shoes on the way down.
Choosing between a leather and synthetic upper may seem like a major decision to make, but don’t worry too much. Neither is a factor in the level of waterproofing, as both types will rely on a waterproof membrane to achieve this. Both should be comfortable right out of the box, although you can expect the leather ones to improve the more you wear them. Synthetic uppers are generally lighter than leather uppers, but they may not last as long.
The best walking shoes for women
Scarpa Cyrus GTX WMN
What better place to start than a pair of brown nubuck leather shoes? While these aren’t the best choices for adventurous walks, the waterproof Gore-Tex liner means they’re far from just a nice-weather pair – and they’re padded and supportive enough to keep you looking good. comfortable along the trails.
Buy from Scarpa | Â£ 145
Merrell Moab 2 Fan
Merrell has an excellent reputation for its out-of-the-box comfort, and with its reasonably generous toe box, this shoe is suitable for a variety of foot shapes. The upper is a blend of suede and breathable synthetic mesh, and with the lack of a waterproof membrane, it’s a good option for walking in hot weather. Costing less than Â£ 100 doesn’t hurt either.
Buy from Merrell | Â£ 90
Inov-8 Roclite G 315 GTX
If you like to move fast, this shoe is a great option. It is from the same family as the trail Roclite G 275, which was worn during the setting of several running records. This fast hike version adds a Gore-Tex membrane, but retains the graphene sole for unmatched traction on varied terrain.
Buy Roclite G 315 GTX | Â£ 145
Meindl Activo GTX walking shoe
The Activo is part of the Comfort-Fit range, which is aimed at walkers with wider feet. With more movement space in the front of the shoe and a two-zone lace-up system, it is well suited for casual walkers who value comfort. However, it does not neglect the other essential characteristics for walkers: it has a Gore-Tex membrane and a sole that will be able to find grip with happiness on the trails.
Buy from Ellis Brigham | Â£ 152.50
Lowa Renegade GTX Lo WS
The Renegade’s nubuck leather upper should adapt to your foot over time for an extremely comfortable fit, and the Gore-Tex membrane will also keep your feet dry. The Vibram sole offers a combination of support and the right amount of flex. There is also a wider range of sizes than usual, ranging from 2.5 to 10 in the UK.
Buy from Lowa | Â£ 165
La Sportiva TX Guide
This pair takes a lot of inspiration from climbing shoes, from the protective strip to the asymmetric lacing for a secure fit. The sole is constructed from double compounds to give a climbing zone in the toe and more pronounced studs in the heel. It features a sturdy, abrasion resistant upper and the tongue is designed to prevent debris from entering the shoe. All of this makes it a great all-rounder for walking in hills and mountains, although it should be noted that there is no waterproof membrane. The fit is also a bit narrower than other brands.
Buy at La Sportiva | Â£ 145