What should I look for in a hiking boot?
Hiking boots have so many great features these days that hikers may feel like they don’t know where to start in looking for a pair. The following points provide several top tips to look out for when shopping for yours ahead of outdoor camping or trekking adventures:
- Upper material - Leather is more durable and waterproof than synthetic materials, but less breathable.
- Waterproofing - The more waterproof your boots are, the less breathable they are likely to be. Breathable membranes (e.g. GORE-TEX) can help combat the elements and keep your toes cool and dry.
- The outsole - The sole of your boots can be made from rubber, and have anti-clogging, shock absorption or other features to make hiking easier. Take a look at the tread and toe protection, too.
- Weight - Check the weight of boots before you buy them. If you aren’t planning anything strenuous (e.g. climbing a mountain), a lightweight walking boot is better.
- Support - Hiking boots that support your ankle can be padded and are made to offer better stability for uneven ground. Some also have lacing, memory foam tongues and cushioning for added durability and comfort.
For more advice on footwear, take a look at our full walking and hiking boots buying guide.
What are the best boots for hiking?
The best hiking boots for more serious walks in nature need to be durable and waterproof, yet breathable and lightweight.
You need a quality sole that won’t bend too much, but still gives you freedom of movement. If you are ready to cut straight to finding your perfect pair, see our blog posts for the best walking boots for women and the best mens hiking boots.
Do I need hiking boots to go camping?
If you plan on exploring the great outdoors on your camping trip, you’ll likely benefit from taking a pair of hiking boots and/or walking shoes with you.
These types of footwear will ensure you’re ready for any adventure, even if it's a last-minute decision. Simply tie your laces and hit the hills!
After all, you won’t ever regret hikes up mountains to reach the peak, even if you find yourself trekking through the mud and muck! Which, of course, is more than likely on a UK camping trip.
And remember, you don’t need to be the most athletic explorer in the world to enjoy outdoor activities. As long as you have the apparel, equipment and footwear needed to ensure you are protected and comfortable - you’ll do just fine. Simply take it at your own pace.
Hiking boots vs hiking shoes
What is the difference between hiking boots and walking shoes? And how do you know which ones you need?
Walking shoes are generally cheaper than traditional walking boots. They also tend to be lighter and rest below the ankle making them better suited to shorter walks in drier conditions with less demanding terrain. Walking boots are tough and offer more support and are better for uneven ground.
If you like to do a variety of walks, it might be best to have a pair of both on hand, so you can have the appropriate gear to choose from. See our range of walking shoes here or read our blog post on whether you should buy walking boots or walking shoes.
Are walking boots waterproof?
Waterproofing is very dependent on the material being used. For example, a leather walking boot will do the best job of keeping water out, and the top range ones also feature breathable membranes, such as GORE-TEX, allowing moisture from inside the shoe to escape while keeping outside elements out.
Synthetic camping boots also come equipped with great waterproofing features, too. As they are much more breathable than leather walking boots, they are preferable for drier and warmer weather.
However, many also come with waterproof linings or a mix of suede, leather and synthetic fabrics, helping you be ready for all elements. Gaiters can also help keep you dry if you know you are heading into muddy trails.
Whichever waterproof hiking boots you choose, make sure you take care of them with waterproof cleaning products. Find out more about how to clean walking boots.
What size walking boots do I need?
It’s often said that a walker will need to buy classic walking boots in a size bigger than your regular shoe size.
This advice originates from the fact that your feet swell throughout the day and when you are warmer. For this reason, you should try traditional walking boots on at the end of the day to get a better idea of how the fitting will feel during a hike or walk.
You should not buy hiking boots that feel too loose; they should feel snug and comfortable at all times. You should also make sure you try them on when you are wearing appropriate hiking socks to get the perfect fit.
So, whether you’re going backpacking, planning a camping holiday or even just a day trip exploring the great outdoors, make sure to check out our great range of hiking boots and walking boots.
You’ll find the best footwear at a fair price, or explore our full footwear range for plenty of superb designer options on sale at the cheapest prices.