No matter what type of walks you prefer—an easy stroll through the woods, or an energetic excursion on a tough trail—you’ll need a proper pair of walking boots. They’re less intense than hiking boots, but more sturdy and supportive than a sneaker. Ideally, they will be lightweight, waterproof, and stylish too.
That’s a lot of boxes to check, so to save you time from endlessly scrolling, we narrowed down the best walking boots from expert-favorite brands for any type of activity. Throw any of these pairs on and you’ll be properly prepared for 10,000 steps and beyond.
KEEN Targhee III Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
There’s a reason these walking boots from KEEN have been a trail favorite for more than 15 years. It doesn’t matter whether you’re hitting the mountains for a weeklong hiking excursion or simply out for an afternoon walk in the woods; either way, you can reach for these boots. Since they’re lightweight and flexible, they feel more like sneakers than traditional hiking boots, making them ideal for walks of all lengths.
Their design features are subtle, but all substantially enhance your walking experience. For instance, KEEN’s wide toe box allows plenty of room for your little piggies to spread out, while the waterproof material keeps you dry even if the trails aren’t. Best of all, they’re ultra comfortable right out of the box.
Price at time of publish: $175
Material: Leather upper, mesh lining, rubber outsole | Weight: 1 lb., 12.4 oz. | Colors: Magnet/Atlantic Blue, Toasted Coconut/Porcelain, Weiss/Boysenberry | Size Range: 5–11
Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot
“High-quality” and “budget-friendly” don’t often find themselves in the same sentence—unless you’re talking about this pair from Columbia. The durable and waterproof design is as affordable as wear-them-for-years walking boots come. Consider them the perfect blend of a sneaker and a hiking boot, combining top-tier comfort with ample support. Bonus: the Newton Ridge design is available in a variety of color combinations, so you’re bound to find a pair that coordinates with your wardrobe full of outerwear.
Price at time of publish: $100
Material: Leather/suede upper and Omni-Grip™ rubber outsole | Weight: 1 lb., 1 oz. | Colors: Elk/Mountain Red, Peatmoss/Red Onion, Stratus/Canyon Rose, Kettle/Marionberry +more | Size Range: 5–12
Best for Travel
Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid GORE-TEX Hiking Boots
Sleek and sturdy? Yes and yes. Worthy of a stroll through a city or tackling a tough trail? Also yes and yes. This pair of walking boots from Salomon is ideal for excursions of all kinds. They’re cool and cushioned enough to wear day-to-day yet grippy and stable enough for days spent on bumpy terrain. Wear these straight from Bozeman to Glacier National Park, or from Milan to the Dolomites—wherever your travels may lead you.
“So many of our customers are looking for a boot that can take them beyond the streets with the proper support needed for their outdoor adventures,” says Elizabeth Kanfer, Fashion Director of Footwear and Accessories at Nordstrom. “Salomon consistently delivers amazing style with incredible high-performance qualities.”
Price at time of publish: $190
Material: Synthetic upper and rubber outsole | Weight: .8 lb | Colors: Black/Chocolate Plum/Black, Feather Gray/Olive Night/White, Shale/Wild Ginger/Coral Gold +more | Size Range: 5–11
Best for Winter
Sorel Kinetic Breakthru Conquest Waterproof Boot
Sorel is beloved for footwear that provides top-tier protection against the elements, and they have perfected the recipe for a winter walking boot with this design. The key ingredients: a waterproof finish, a super soft microfleece lining, and a grippy rubber sole. Even on the snowiest of days, these sporty and stylish boots will keep your feet dry, warm, and stable.
“This Sorel boot hits the mark by mixing sporty functionality with great design,” says Kanfer. “It’s the perfect boot to keep you warm and dry, and looking great on easy walks that do not require technical hiking boots.”
Price at time of publish: $175
Material: Suede/leather upper, textile lining, and rubber sole | Weight: Not listed | Colors: New Cinder/ Bloodstone, Black/Sea Salt, Velvet Tan/Gum +more | Size Range: 5–12
Best for Hiking
Hoka Women's Anacapa Mid GTX
Pick a trail, any trail. These versatile boots from HOKA can accompany you on breezy walks, seriously intense hikes, or any adventure in between. Their waterproof leather uppers keep your feet warm and dry no matter the weather, while the quick-lace hook hardware and pull tabs let you throw them on or kick them off with ease. Thanks to their gripped, grooved outsoles, you’ll feel secure hiking uneven terrain, and the compression-molded midsoles leave your feet feeling extra cushioned.
Now, the hard part: choosing a color. They’re available in five standout hues that are sure to provide you with plenty of compliments.
Price at time of publish: $185
Material: Lightweight nubuck leather/GORE-TEX® upper, EVA midsole, and rubber outsole | Weight: 1 lb., 12 oz. | Colors: Elderberry/Grape Wine, Dune/Lilac Marble, Hot Sauce/Cherry Mahogany +more | Size Range: 6–11
Best for Plantar Fasciitis
Timberland Women's Mt. Maddsen Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots
Plantar fasciitis is no fun, but walking long distances still should be. This pair of leather Timberland boots is the best if you’re suffering from heel pain—and even just provide extra support if you’re not. They feature ultra-cushy footbeds that provide a soft, shock-absorbing landing for each step. The footbeds are removable though, so if you prefer your own insoles, there’s room for whatever eases your pain.
Price at time of publish: $120
Material: Leather upper, ReBOTL™ fabric lining containing at least 50% recycled plastic, and rubber outsole | Weight: 2.44 lbs | Colors: Light Brown, Wheat, Grey +more | Size Range: 6–11
Teva Geotrecca Hiker Boots
Nothing will cut a nice walk short like cold, wet feet. So to avoid that scenario, we recommend opting for a waterproof pair of walking boots. (Most on this list are!) But Teva’s Geotrecca Boots take the cake for our favorite waterproof design since they prove you don’t have to sacrifice style for functionality. The cool, detailed upper features a waterproof membrane constructed with synthetic leather that simultaneously seals out water while letting moisture (ahem, sweat) escape with maximum breathability. Plus, they have all the other features of a high-quality walking boot too, such as cushy foam insoles made from recycled materials, grippy rubber outsoles, and a lightweight feel that won’t give you sore ankles.
Price at time of publish: $150
Material: Recycled polyester/spandex upper, recycled nylon/polyester lining, EVA midsole, and rubber outsole | Weight: Not listed | Colors: Balsam/Burlwood, Sesame/Sand Dune, Caribou/Carmine | Size Range: 5–12
Danner The Prowess
When you rock these mid-calf military-style walking boots, everyone you pass on the trails will know you mean business. While tough looking, they’re not tough to wear, since the supremely cushy insoles feel marshmallow-like. Don’t believe us? Scroll through the reviews and you’ll find recurring themes. Buyers rave about how comfortable, lightweight, sturdy, and supportive these boots are. A downside is they’re not inherently water-resistant, but a quick spritz of a waterproofing spray will protect them from damage and keep your feet warm.
Price at time of publish: $160
Material: Suede leather and nylon upper, mesh lining, and Danner® Tanicus outsole | Weight: 4 lbs | Colors: Coyote | Size Range: 5–12
Best for Uneven Terrain
KEEN Voyageur Hiking Boots
No matter how tricky the terrain you’re walking on, these KEEN boots are bound to keep you on your feet. That’s thanks to a few clever design components, including the high-traction rubber outsoles and the rounded front end, which allows your toes to spread out to help you balance. The springy midsole makes miles of walking through uneven terrain a breeze too.
Emily Fullerton, Senior Designer and Product Developer at Duluth Trading Co., is a fan. “The KEEN Voyageur is a great low-rise hiking shoe that is lighter and more nimble than a full hiking boot, but still provides a rugged knobby tread and internal shank for improved traction and support on rocky terrain,” she says. “It also balances breathability with a water-resistant leather upper so you’re ready for hot temperatures or rainy mornings.”
Price at time of publish: $155
Material: Leather and mesh upper, rubber sole, nylon shank | Weight: Not listed | Colors: Harvest Yellow | Size Range: 6.5–11
Rag & Bone Shiloh Hiking Boot
You’re bound to turn heads while wearing these cream-colored, combat-style hiking boots. They seamlessly blend fashion and function, with their tough lugged sole and streamlined style. Considering their serious price tag though, you may want to save these for strolling on clean sidewalks and leave the wet trails to a different pair of walking boots.
“This beautiful cream boot from Rag & Bone gives you the feeling of a hiking boot with the tread sole, but is actually the perfect option for dressing up any casual weekend look,” says Kanfer.
Price at time of publish: $262–$280 (originally $595)
Material: Leather upper, synthetic lining, and synthetic outsole | Weight: 1 lb., 5 oz. | Colors: Cream, Black | Size Range: 5–11
Outdoor Afro + REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots
For a more casual pair of walking boots, check out this pair which is an REI exclusive. It features a lower ankle line, blurring the lines between a sneaker and a hiking boot. The breathable sock-like upper gently hugs your ankles without feeling too constraining, yet still keeps debris out of your shoes. They’re also waterproof, lightweight, and made from mostly recycled materials. Win, win, and win.
Price at time of publish: $150
Material: Recycled polyester upper, nylon shank, EVA midsole, and rubber outsole | Weight: 1 lb., 13 oz. | Colors: Black/Sea Glass/Papaya | Size Range: 6–11, plus wide sizing
For a walking boot that will provide comfort and stability while simultaneously protecting your feet from the elements, we recommend the KEEN Targhee II Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots. Another sturdy shoe that comes in a wide range of colors at a lower price point, we’re turning to Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped.
What to Look for in Walking Boots
Most walking boots are made out of leather, suede, or synthetic materials. The type of material you choose is completely subjective, but keep in mind that there are upsides and downsides to each. Leather and suede are durable and water-resistant, but not the most breathable, and require a break-in period. Synthetics, like nylon and polyester, are lighter, usually less expensive, and dry faster, but they can wear down faster too. For the best of both worlds, choose a boot that features elements of each material.
No one needs cramped toes. Instead, shop for walking boots with a wider toe box, like the KEEN Targhee II Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots. That way your toes can spread out, which will help you grip and balance—your toes’ intended purpose!
All walking boots are made with rubber outsoles since it provides the best traction. Take a peek at the soles of the boots before buying though. The deeper the treads, the better the grip. If you’ll be walking in muddy zones, consider a pair with widely spaced lugs, as it will make removing mud and debris easier.
Like most things in life, comfort is key when it comes to walking boots. The last thing you need three miles into a walk is a blister, so a proper fit is a must. Cushy insoles always help too. Some boots include their own or have removable ones so you can insert yours, like the Timberland Mt. Maddsen Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots. Before you hit the trails, be patient with a boot’s break-in period. Take your time, wearing them for several short stints before walking in them for hours at a time.
What is the difference between hiking boots and walking boots?
There’s a long checklist of requirements for a proper hiking boot. Not only do they have to provide support and traction for extended hikes with potentially bumpy terrain, but they also have to protect against water and weather conditions. Support for the ankles and arches is key, but so is cushioning all areas of the foot and ankle too.
While walking boots often boast similar features to hiking boots, they may be lighter, more flexible, and have softer ankle support. “There is less pressure on walking boots,” says Kanfer. “They just need to feel great, fit correctly, provide support, and, most importantly, look good!”
How do I know if a boot is good for walking before buying?
Before buying a walking boot, keep in mind the type of hikes you may go on—the terrain, how many miles you’ll walk, and the different weather elements you may endure. Will you be carrying a backpack? How heavy will it be?
When trying on a pair, either in-store or at home, Fullerton recommends wearing your loaded pack to help determine if the boots offer enough support. The heavier the backpack, the more support you’ll need, so you’ll likely want to invest in a model that includes an internal shank and stiffer sole.
How should a walking boot fit?
Since you’ll spend many hours at a time in your walking boots, you’ll want to get the fit exactly right. The most common area for blisters is on the back of the heel from the shoe slipping up and down, so be sure the heel cup cradles the shape of your foot, and that your heel stays in place while walking at your normal trail pace.
“Take note of the fit across the top of your foot to ensure there isn’t any pinching from the laces, and that the shoe is wide enough around the ball of your foot, too,” Fullerton says.
Why Trust Byrdie
Full-time freelance writer Megan McCarty has been writing about the best of the best of fashion and design for over 15 years, and her work can be seen in InStyle, Domino, Architectural Digest, Bustle, and more. When she’s not writing, you can likely find her walking or hiking—perhaps in a pair of these boots. For this piece she also interviewed two shoe experts.
Jasmine Hyman is a commerce writer and producer for Dotdash Meredith’s beauty and travel brands. Her work has also appeared in InStyle, Brides, People, and more.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any hiking boots from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.