Whether you’re after waterproof walking, springy strolls or harder hikes and punishing treks, there are plenty of boots out there which will be a perfect fit this summer.
Take a look at five we tried out, to help you put your best foot forward on a summer staycation.
Berghaus Women’s Expeditor Trek 2.0 Boots
Key features: No wearing in needed, thanks to super cushioning from the EVA midsoles and OrthoLite footbed. Their split suede upper, robust, grippy soles and all-round performance makes them good value for money. They were also the easiest boots to get on and off, with a wide entry point.
Verdict: These snug-fitting – but comfy – walking boots pack a punch for the price and I did a five-miler straight from the box and didn’t suffer any ill effects around the toes or the ankles. They are reasonably lightweight and fairly generous width-wise, although I could feel a slight pinch point mid-foot by the end of the first walk, which evened out the more I used them. The grip is sufficient for tricky hills and they are also waterproof, although I suspect you won’t do the suede upper any good if you’re traipsing through boggy puddles. On the whole, a great all-rounder for the price.
Columbia Women’s Trailstorm Mid Waterproof Walking Shoe
Key features: Their weight – just 290g. Their versatility and good looks mean they wouldn’t look out of place under jeans, if you’re doing a short amble with a stop-off at the pub, or some easy sightseeing en route.
Verdict: These super-lightweight boots – which are actually billed as a walking shoe but have some ankle cushioning – are a cross between a sturdy trainer and a light walking boot. They have the comfortable springiness of a trainer – which is great for walking on dry ground – while the grip will hold you steady on more rocky terrain. They are waterproof, withstanding a bit of summer rain, but I wouldn’t be taking them into boggy winter conditions any time soon. They’re ideal for summer, when you don’t want heavy boots for meandering along easy country paths and green fields in the sunshine. Get a size up from your regular shoe fitting and you’ll do miles in total comfort.
Helly Hansen W Switchback Trail Helly Tech
Key features: Their toe and heel caps keep your feet secure and protected, they’re fully waterproof and feel sturdy, despite being relatively light.
Verdict: These are impressively sturdy boots considering how light they feel, definitely not an enhanced trainer but with an understated, stylish look, which would appeal to both younger and older walkers. During a 10-miler across mixed terrain, they had a sure grip providing stability on rocky, unstable downhill slopes, while the cushioning on super hard surfaces made you feel like you were walking on cotton wool. Get yourself a size up if you want to wear thick socks with them in the winter, but the spongy, comfortable materials used around the ankle and the tongue should assure you of a blister-free trek.
Merrell Moab Speed Mid GORE-TEX
Key features: The mid-sole has extra cushioning, which protects the balls of your foot, along with a ‘rockplate’ which helps reduce the impact of unforgiving sharp rocks or stones underfoot.
Verdict: With a Gore-Tex lining you can count on, I yomped through muddy fields and shallow puddles and stayed dry – it’s worth paying an extra few quid for the knowledge you won’t be squelching in your boots. In our unpredictable British summers, though, you want plenty of breathability which these boots have in spades. After trying them out on a warm spring day in thin socks, my feet emerged as dry as a bone. Eco-warriors may be impressed with the 100% recycled laces, which didn’t feel flimsy, the recycled mesh lining and 30% recycled rubber in the outsole.
AKU Alterra Mid GTX
Key features: The outer sole and impressive grip helps prevent you stumbling on rocky, uneven ground, while there’s excellent protection around the ankle, yet it still feels spongy and comfortable.
Verdict: The Italian specialist brand Aku says these sturdy boots are designed for medium terrain and longer rambles over mixed ground, but these were by far the toughest boots, with such impressive grippy soles that I think they’re just as suitable for winter walks. They may be a little extravagant – and a bit heavier looking – for easier summer rambles, but if you’re a hardcore hiker with aims of climbing challenging peaks this summer, these are just the job. And right on cue, Aku has brought out a new lighter weight version of the same boot, so look out for the Alterra Lite Mid GTX.