A pair of walking boots is undoubtedly a staple essential part of any outdoors lifestyle so it makes sense that having a pair with lasting support, comfort and durability is important as you want to be able to explore knowing that with every strike of the foot, you will remain steady and stable regardless of the terrain or weather conditions. There are a number of choices to make in picking the right boot to suit individual needs as many brands offer different features, technologies and design styles which means that you can generally find a pair for any type of weather condition but can also lead to a bit of confusion if you are looking to purchase your first pair. Most of them feature hard wearing fabrics, tough constructions and lots of technologies for comfort as standard but wearing a warm weather hiker during the winter for example can result in a very different experience from having cold weather specific boots so it helps to know what to look for.
At Walking.org we love all aspects of the outdoors and enjoy giving our knowledge and experience out so that it may help budding outdoors enthusiasts and explorers alike be better informed about choosing their own gear. In this case we have chosen our five favourite walking boots from the last year so that in 2016 everyone can see what the best has to offer.
Walking.org Best 5 Walking Boots in 2016
North Face Chute Walking Boots
The first of our top 5 walking boots are the North Face Chute Boots; designed as all-purpose footwear they work well throughout the year, though especially in wet and cold conditions. A few factors make them fully waterproof which includes a synthetic leather upper, HydroSeal membrane and welded TPU shell so they are ready to take on wet weather with ease, plus have high durability for plenty of wear. 200 grams of Primaloft Eco insulation throughout these boots easily keeps you warm while the outsoles, made from durable TNF Winter Grip rubber and featuring temperature sensitive Ice Pick lugs keep you gripped during the coldest conditions. These North Face Chute boots also have snow shoe and ankle gaiter compatibility when the snow comes down. Inside a Northotic footbed, lightweight EVA midsole and TPU arch shank make these boots very comfortable and supportive enough to last on long treks and trails.
Merrell Moab Mid GTX Walking Boots
Part of their most popular range, the Merrell Moab Mid GTX walking boots are great for hikes and trails throughout the year except for cold winter conditions. These have waterproof Dura leather with a GORE-TEX Performance Comfort Footwear lining so are very effective at keeping moisture out but also have mesh elements in the lining and on sections of the upper for ventilation and to allow moisture to easily escape from the inside. For further protection from the elements these Merrell Moab boots have bellows tongues which are designed specifically to stop debris getting past them inside the shoe, plus toe caps and heel counters that help protect against impacts and abrasion. The feet are given plenty of support and stability which adds to the overall high level of comfort you get from these Merrell boots by an Ortholite footbed which is contoured to match the shape of each foot, an EVA footframe, Nylon arch shank and Merrell Air Cushion. Underfoot is a Vibram made Multi-sport TC5+ outsole which not only grips reliably across a range of terrain but also have plenty of braking power on more difficult terrain.
Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Walking Boots
The most recent version of their impressive waterproof footwear, the Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX boots employs the same lasting stability 4D chassis construction and highly gripping non-marking Contagrip outsole but has been enhanced in other areas for an all-round better wear. The design has been given a fresh look so is more up to date but still looks familiar enough if you loved the original and has incorporated a new tongue for better comfort, plus a better lacing system so that they remain taught and tied for much longer. GORE-TEX technology is used with this top five walking boot which combined with the tough nubuck leather of the upper keeps moisture out with ease. Other elements like abrasion resistant textile, protective rubber toe and heel caps plus a mud guard rand keeps you safer against the wear and tear caused by difficult terrain. Similar to our previous two choices of walking boots for this year the Salomon Quest 4D 2 boots have a shaped footbed for cradling comfort, plus EVA constructions in the midsole along with Ortholite heel foam and sockliner for lasting cushioning.
Meindl Bhutan MFS Walking Boots
The Meindl Bhutan MFS boots are also three season footwear and merge the style of a classic hiker with modern technologies ad constructions so that they flex and move more like athletic shoes for the best of both. The advantage of being full leather means plenty of protection from the elements, plus natural durability and the addition of a GORE-TEX membrane enhances the waterproof protection without compromising on durability, plus there is a rubber rand for extra hard wear. The main component that sets the Meindl Bhutan boots apart is the Memory Foam System which is a highly comfortable foam that continually changes shape as you move to match the individual contours and movements of whomever is wearing them so gives a unique experience. The Meindl Bhutan also has a nice, soft, high ankle cuff that keeps dirt out, protects the ankle zone and gives a secure fit so doesn’t put pressure or abrasion on the area as you move. The Vibram outsole unit is deep lugged so traction is maintained, especially with its ability to shed mud so prevents any clogging.
Keen Targhee II Mid Walking Boots
Ideal for wet weather hikes and trails, The Keen Targhee II Mid height walking boots are similar to some of our others in this top 5 in that they have leather and textile upper construction but is lined with Keen’s own KEEN.DRY membrane technology for high levels of water resistance and breathability. As they are a mid-height boot, the Targhee II design gives plenty of support around the ankles and internally a metatomical dual-density footbed, EVA midsole, heel support structure and ESS arch shank all work together to give comfort and a supportive, stable and secure fit that lasts even on tough terrain during a multi-day walk. A non-marking outsole with 4mm, multi-directional lugs means that with every strike of the foot the Keen Targhee II boots is met with a secure grip and braking power if needed, plus prevents grit and dirt collecting in the treads.
Any of our favourite 5 Walking Boots for 2016 will perform well on any type of trail throughout the year bar the TNF boots that are the only ones built for winter weather as they are built for taking on what the world may throw at you on a trail so you can step in plenty of comfort and confidence.
We have also awarded some special designations for three of out Top 5 in terms of value, overall performance and style as well as we know that these factors can play an equally important part in choosing a new pair of walking boots.
Best Value: Merrell Moab Boots
The Merrell Moab walking boots we found were the best overall in terms of what they do for the price, other than not being ideal for cold winter weather they tick all the boxes for what you would need in walking footwear and at a mid-range price between these five as well.
Best Performance: Salomon Quest 4D II Boots
A lot of the details and component parts of this version of the Salomon Quest 4D boots are similar to the rest of our Top 5 but the attention to detail in smaller factors like a more secure lacing system, re-designed tongue and the 4D chassis just makes the overall comfort and support very impressive and reassuring as you walk. The outsole design is also a bonus as mud and dirt won’t clump in the lugs so just sheds away with ease so grip is maintained throughout. The price may seem daunting in comparison with the others but you do get lasting quality and performance with these boots.
Best Looks: Meindl Bhutan MFS Boots
There aren’t a bad looking pair out of the bunch but we quite liked the nod to a classic hiker style of the Meindl Bhutan MFS boots that merges modern elements to it quite nicely. This means it will appeal to traditionalists and technical outdoor enthusiasts alike, plus delivers well on durability and comfort.