Walks And Walking – Top 5 Walking Boots
Regular readers of Walks And Walking will know my favourite walking boots are The North Face Mens Jannu II GTX technical hiking boots. After nearly 3 years of walking they have started to lose some of their water resistance due to the rubber cracking around the toe of the boots so I have decided to buy a new pair of walking boots. No fault of the boot at all, it’s just the general wear and tear of me clambering over rocks, walking across marshlands and generally testing them to the full extreme in places like Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons.
Here is my comprehensive guide to the top 5 walking boots suitable for all types of walks, walking and walking routes. In my selection process I researched walking boots online before getting professional advice by visiting in-store. For the different types of walks I do I need a robust leather walking boot that is waterproof with a vibram sole, outstanding grip and some flexibility for hill walking, coastal walks and with the occasional mountain ascents thrown in.
Here are my top 5 choices:
1. The North Face Jannu II GTX
If you are looking for a classic high cut leather boot that bristles with the latest technology, then lace up a pair of Jannu II boots. These boots are built for tough, demanding all terrain multi day expeditions. The one piece leather features Gore-Tex ® waterproof protection and breathability. This is paired with a rubber toecap, heel mudguards and a tongue that stops debris falling into the boot.
An X-Frame™ crib gives you the stability needed over any terrain you may come across, whilst Heal Cradle™ technology keeps the heal firmly in the right place in the boot. The Vibram ® rubber outsole, with its grippy, self-cleaning lugs, means that you can rely on these boots on even the most slippery surfaces.
A superior, beautifully engineered boot, the Jannu II will stay the course on the toughest paths in the toughest conditions.
Expect to pay between £100 – £150
2. Scarpa SL Activ (B1)
This definitive leather boot is part of Scarpa’s new Activ Fit range, which focuses on offering total reliability, optimum comfort and style for trekking and hill walking.
The new fit is ergonomically designed for even better foot hold and natural rolling action to make every step more efficient. A Memory Foam moulded foot bed offers essential support on the hill as well as under-foot insulation, and the Cocona® lining helps transfer moisture away from the foot. The SL Activ also features a new sole engineered for superior stability and maximum traction and grip.
If you are looking for a reliable, solid walking boot with excellent support and cushioning for your feet to ensure comfort on the hill, the Scarpa SL Activ has got it all.
Expect to pay about £220
3. Haglofs Trail Mid GT
The Trail Mid is a boot which, despite its low weight, offers excellent stability and ankle protection for more challenging walks with a pack.
Built on a stable Vibram Skeleton sole, the water repellent leather upper is augmented with a waterproof and breathable Gore Tex lining to keep the rain at bay. Toes and heels sport rubber reinforcements and embossed ribs support the leather, preventing deformation over time. As well as support, odour protection comes from the Polygiene treated SOLE mouldable footbeds.
Expect to pay between £100 – £150
4. Berghaus Explorer Ridge GTX
Tough and hard wearing boots for more challenging 2-3 season walks. A Gore-Tex lining keeps your feet at a comfortable temperature as well as keeping them dry and the high quality leather uppers are supple, with good support.
Expect to pay about £120
5. Meindl Burma Pro GTX
All the benefits of leather (durability, comfort and weatherproofness) with the added reassurance of a 100% waterproof Gore-Tex lining. Meindl DIGAfix lacing system helps to create a perfect fit, especially around the heel area. Memory Foam system(MFS) also gives an exceptional fit.
Expect to pay about £180
And the winner is!
After visiting a few different outdoor retailers I ended up in Cotswold Outdoor, Holborn London. The chap that helped me really knew his stuff and I had short-listed my selection down to an agonising two pairs; the Meindl and the Scarpa. Whilst the Meindl felt extremely comfortable it seemed a little too flexible and I thought that may mean they weren’t going to be quite up for a decent climb in the snow (which I am bound to do this year) whereas the Scarpa felt like I could kick down brick walls, let alone footholds in the ice!
It was a close call but I chose the Scarpa boots, quite expensive but they should last a lot longer than my The North Face boots, due to the construction of the boot and the option to get them resoled if need be. The extra-thick 2.8mm HS12 Sherpa Leather used in the boot’s upper is more durable, water resistant and breathable than standard leather, and also dries quicker.
They are not Gore-Tex lined but after serious consideration I thought the pure leather build would allow my feet to breathe more easily. I do get very sweaty when walking and although Gore-Tex means your feet don’t get wet from the outside elements, my socks are always drenched when I take my boots off defeating the object of having a waterproof lining. I’ll have to make sure I regularly waterproof my new boots to prevent cracks but I have always kept my boots in good upkeep so that shouldn’t be an issue. I look forward to breaking them in slowly with some short walks in Epping Forest over the next few weeks.
You can read an independent review of the Scarpa SL here: Trail Magazine Award – Best In Test
A good pair of walking boots are absolutely essential for all types of walks and walking so please research carefully and visit your local outdoor retailer and seek professional advice for the boots that best fit your feet size and width. Check out each of the retailers advertising on this website for special offers, new product launches or flash sales to get the best deal once you’ve chosen the right boots for you. A really good set of boots should last you at least 10 years so making the right choice and investment will mean you won’t need to replace them for many, many years and after many, many walking adventures!