Walking Shoes 2010
Before we get our top 5 walking shoe recommendations underway, let’s first discuss why you should choose a walking shoe in preference to a traditional walking boot.
From a technical perspective, walking shoes are pretty much the same as walking boots, but with a lower cuff. This means that while they offer less ankle support for long treks, they are lighter and help to maximise movement whilst walking. Walking shoes are perfectly waterproof as well with the more advanced designs sporting all manner of moisture wicking and porous technologies including Gore-Tex membranes, rich full grain leather uppers.
While walking shoes may not supply the same full blown ankle support thank hiking boots do for those really hardcore hikes, a good pair of walking shoes will be perfectly fine for all manner of treks from long walks to casual strolls with a canine companion.
A good walking shoe will be waterproof, breathable, lightweight and suitably stylish, all whilst offering excellent grip and shock absorption for roaming the countryside in complete. So stony paths, muddy fields and even water should be the last of your worries.
To find out which walking shoes are the best, we’ve selected some of the best from a mixture of brands and price points. Obviously an £80 walking shoe will outperform the rest, or so you’d hope. So to level the playing field, we’re going to award 3 prizes to the 5 nominations, which are Best Value, Best Performance and Best Looks. Obviously we’ll take all factors into account while selecting each walking shoe. After all, there’s no sense in wearing a pair of pretty outdoor shoes if they’re not waterproof and fall to bits after a short stroll.
Our Top 5 Walking Shoes
Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slam Gore-Tex XCR – Teak
Merrell makes some of the most comfortable shoes in the world and so their walking shoes are no exception. The Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slam Gore-Tex XCR – Teak is the finest example of the Merrell outdoor range, featuring great looks, a Gore-Tex XCR gasket construction from which it takes its name as well as Gore-Tex XCR fabric lining and a breathable mesh upper. Suffice to say that any excess heat or sweat is going to get wicked away in microseconds and not a drop of wind or water will be getting in either! From the price, it’s clear to see that you’re paying for a lot of technology wrapped in good looks for exceptional comfort and premium quality performance.
Salomon Exit Peak – Dark Clay and Autobahn
The best selling Salomon walking shoes have a wide range of features and fine quality materials making them an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts looking to spend no more than £60. Crafted from nubuck leather and slit suede leather, they’re lightweight, breathable and moisture wicking, but only water resistant, not waterproof. The attention to detail has been put into the little extras as well as good looks like the heel foam, mudguard, protective toe cap and Contagrip outsole. A great pair of walking shoes for high performance on a warm, dry day, but not ideal for wet weather.
Brasher Diablo XCR – Nut
Brasher are renowned for their brown walking boots, so it’s no surprise that they’ve expanded their range by branching out into brown walking shoes! Brasher shoes are excellent as always, providing beautifully crafted footwear with a sense of traditional while incorporating all manner of modern technologies in their design. While they may not be amongst the cheapest walking shoes our top 5, they are one of the best and it makes you wish that Brasher would shout about the technical features of their footwear a little more. But what we can tell you is that the Brasher Diablo XCR – Nut is not only beautiful and brown, but a versatile pair of Brasher shoes made from suede and tough mesh panels with a Vibram Planet sole unit for exceptional grip from the industry’s leading outsole manufacturer. Most importantly of all, the Brasher Diablo XCR takes its name from its Gore-Tex XCR membrane, which, like the Merrell Chameleon offers fast cooling comfort and absolute waterproof protection. You could very comfortable run through a stream with these Brasher shoes and they’re exceptionally comfortable to wear as well.
Hi-Tec Auckland WP – Brown and Yellow
What kind of top 5 would this be without our reigning champion in walking footwear? If you missed this article, check out our Hi-Tec Auckland WP Review to see why we think this is the best walking shoe that money can buy. Hi-Tec’s humble offering to the walking world really has it all. Waterproof protection, suede leather, moisture wicking lining, athletic trainer inspired last and a great gripping outsole. While not as technically perfected as the Merrell or Salomon, Hi-Tec Auckland WP walking shoes offer all the essentials and some very good looks, making them an ideal choice for a wide range of walkers.
New Balance – MO1520GT
New Balance have joined the walking trainer club with their New Balance – MO1520GT walking shoe. Similar in many ways to the Brasher, this model draws its design from the long history of New Balance running shoes as a sleek and durable multi sport shoe incorporating athletic features with outdoor styling. This shoe also takes its name (GT) from the Gore-Tex XCR membrane integrated into the upper, providing cool, dry comfort as well as both wind and waterproof protection. Meanwhile the split sued/mesh upper is lightweight, but hardwearing. Just like their running trainers, these New Balance – MO1520GT walking shoes are ideal for trail running, walking or simply relaxing. Meanwhile the Vibram outsole provides a versatile grip for embracing the outdoors in a wide variety of urban and woodland environments.
While all of these walking shoes are perfect for trail running, trekking or light strolling, each of them offers something that the others don’t whether it’s value for money, good looks or outstanding technical performance and comfort. So we’ve selected 3 that stand out from the crowd of other walking shoes.
Best Value for Money: Hi-Tec Auckland WP – Brown and Yellow
If you read out recent review of the Hi-Tec Auckland WP, you will see exactly why this walking shoe is the best that money can buy for under £40. Normally with walking shoes you get what you pay for, so the Hi-Tec Auckland is quite a bargain by offering all the essentials including waterproof protection while being tough, lightweight and good looking with a great gripping Vibram outsole. If you’re on a budget and don’t mind deviating from the expected Brasher or Salomon outdoor shoes, Hi-Tec are the company to keep your eye on for functional and affordable footwear in the outdoor market.
Best Performance: Merrell Chameleon Wrap Slam Gore-Tex XCR – Teak
When it comes to comfort and performance Merrell and Gore-Tex are a match made in heaven. Merrell are renowned for the comfort of their footwear while Gore-Tex is the world leader in breathable, waterproof protection. Top this off with a fantastic design, a long list of foot supporting technologies and an outsole from Vibram and you couldn’t wish for more. The price is rather steep, but well worth every penny spent.
Salomon Exit Peak – Dark Clay and Autobahn
While I would have liked to give this award to the New Balance – MO1520GT, I just couldn’t justify the cost, especially when the Brasher offers the same technologies and similar looks for less. And so the award for Best Looking walking shoe goes to the Salomon Exit Peak – Dark Clay and Autobahn for its cool colours, and subtle, but eye catching details and little logos. A pity that it’s not waterproof, but when it comes to looking good and enjoying the warm weather when your shoes won’t be caked in mud for once, it’s perfect!
So whatever you’re looking for in your next pair of walking shoes, our top 5 should have something for everyone. But if you’d like to browse a wider range of walking shoes, then you could check out Fitness Footwear or Webtogs who offer the web’s widest choice of sports and outdoor shoes.