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Gear Review: 2-3 season walking boots (2024)

As usual with our reviews, the prices given here are the manufacturer’s recommended price – Walkhighlands has no affiliation with any retailers and you will usually be able to find most of these discounted for less. All weights given are per pair; the women’s shoes were tested by Helen and the men’s by Paul, so weights are given for the actual pair tested – note the sizes.

Hanwag: Blueridge Lady ES

RRP: £185
Weight: 1.1kg (women’s UK size 6)
Upper: Suede and 100% recycled fabric, Hanwag EcoShell waterproof membrane
Midsole: PU
Sole: Hanwag Hike Pro

Comfort is first and foremost with this mid height, category AB boot – a super cushioned tongue, snug-fitting soft upper with generously padded ankle collar combined with a decent lacing system has meant a good fit from the get go. The outer is reinforced at the heel with a low rand and small toe bumper to reduce abrasion damage. The sole has a good deal of flex so is suitable for hard-packed trails as well as softer ground but this level of flex won’t suit everyone. I particularly liked the wide tread which make the sole super grippy and stable. I found them on the warm side maybe due to the close fit. Waterproofing has held out well although the suede does wet out quickly in damp conditions – a non-waterproof lined version (LL) is also available which would be good for warm, dry conditions. Hanwag have clearly put some thought into sustainability using recycled fabric, no PFC’s, and sourcing materials and making the boot in Europe, plus they offer a re-soling service. A versatile option for day walks and lighter backpacking when prolonged soaking is not likely to be an issue.

Available in men’s sizes UK 6 – 13 in 5 colours and women’s UK 3.5 – 9 in 4 colours, some half sizes for both.

Salewa Alp Trainer 2 Mid

RRP: £200
Weight: 1.2kg (men’s UK size 11)
Upper: 1.4 – 1.6mm suede, Gore-Tex lining
Footbed: Two interchangeable layers
Midsole: EVA
Sole: Vibram

Although described as mids and having the word ‘trainer’ in the name, these actually have the highest ankle cuffs of all the boots in this review. In no way do they feel clumpy though – the suede uppers are very soft and well padded, and there is plenty of flex in the Vibram sole unit too. Salewa say the ‘trainers’ are designed for rugged Alpine use, and there’s a generous rubber rand round the front for protection on rocks and scree. An unusual feature is the steel cable that provides more support around the ankle and mid section; it is adjusted using the laces and gives a little more possible adjustment to the fit. The footbeds are made in two sections which snap together to make it possible to further alter the volume – you can use either or both together. I’ve found these to be extremely comfortable boots whilst also providing plenty of protection on rockier terrain – a great choice for the mountains outside of the winter season.

Available in four colours in both men’s (sizes 6 – 13) and women’s (3 – 9) versions; there’s a shoe option in addition to the mids.

La Sportiva: Ultra Raptor II Mid Leather GTX

RRP: £185
Weight: 760g (Women’s UK 6)
Upper: Nubuck leather, Gore-Tex lining
Footbed: Ortholite hybrid
Midsole: Memlex Eva
Sole: FriXion Blue

A lighter, waterproof-lined boot made with leather uppers, robust toe bumper and high ankle design so that it can be used in tougher conditions and weather than many comparable lightweight boots. The feel and fit is more like a trail shoe, with a good ability to adjust the lacing despite the lack of a locking eyelet. The fit is on the slightly narrow side but there is a wide version. The ankle collar has a neat design with an elasticated section at the achilles providing comfort and helping prevent dirt and snow getting in. Not overly hot despite the Gore-Tex lining, it has proved very waterproof so far and is helped on boggy ground by being that little bit higher than many mid boots. I really liked the hard toe bumper and reinforced rand areas making it a decent option for scree and other high-abrasion situations. The sole is more flexible than I was expecting and although the lugs are not very deep I’ve found it to be grippy on rock and mud.

Available in men’s sizes UK 5 – 15.5 and 6 colours and women’s UK 4.5 – 43 in 5 colours, with some half sizes and wide fit version for both.

Salomon X Ultra 360 Mid GTX

RRP: £150
Weight: 950g (men’s UK size 11)
Upper: Synthetic, 50% recycled; Gore-Tex lining.
Footbed: Ortholite
Midsole: EVA foam
Sole: Salomon Contagrip

These lightweight boots were comfortable from the initial wear. Whilst at first glance they look like a mid version of a trainer, there’s slightly more stiffness and support in the sole than you might expect. The uppers are largely a tightly woven mesh with stronger reinforced areas around the base, toe and heel, and reaching up to the laces. I found the grip to be good on a variety of terrain. The fit is quite wide, especially for Salomon, which suits me; I pretty much forgot I was testing these, and had no desire to get them off after a long day- always a good sign. The price is pretty competitive too.

Available in three colours, men’s UK sizes 6.5 – 13.5, women’s UK 3.5 – 9.5.

Keen: Zionic Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boot

RRP: £159.99
Weight: 680g (Women’s UK 6)
Upper: Coated ripstop mesh with TPU reinforcement, Keen.Dry waterproof membrane
Footbed: PU insole with Eco Anti-Odour
Midsole: EVA
Sole: TPU

The lightest boot on test, these have been comfortable from the first hike. The upper fabric is more robust than some Keen boots and has some (but less than many Keen models) reinforcement at the toe and high scruff areas. However after a fair bit of use in wet conditions I’m starting to see a little wear at the flex points. Padding at the ankle is good and the cushioned tongue has stretchy sewn-in sides which helps keen debris out. I like the little loop at the back of the heel that helps you pull them on.

As with most Keen models this will fit the wider foot with plenty of room in the toe but there is less adjustment possible with the lacing system as the laces start fairly high up and there’s no locking eyelet. There’s a pronounced heel-to-toe drop (17mm) which gives a rolling movement, good for many surfaces and faster moving but may not suit everyone. The waterproof membrane has so far held out and the boot has been pretty quick drying but I wouldn’t recommend it for prolonged very wet conditions – as always it’s a compromise between weight/comfort and durability/long term waterproofing. The sole is surprisingly grippy, working well on mixed terrain and in wet conditions.

Available in men’s sizes UK 6 – 14 and women’s UK 4 – 8 with some half sizes, four colours.

Zamberlan New Trail Lite EVO GTX

RRP: £240
Weight: 1.18kg (Men’s UK 11)
Upper: One piece 1.6mm-1.8mm Nubuck leather; Gore-Tex lining
Footbed: Nylon 3mm
Midsole: EVA wedge
Sole: Vibram

These are very well made mid-height traditional 2 – 3 season walking boots. Although the sole is a little stiffer than others in this test and the tongue less padded, these are still comfy boots if they suit your foot shape. The last is quite narrow, and is towards the small end for the stated size – so be sure to try them on before purchase if you can. Although the RRP is on the high side, I found them fairly easy to find at a lower price. I’ve never been completely convinced that leather boots need the waterproof lining – making them warmer than they would otherwise be in hotter weather. The single piece leather uppers and solid construction mean that these will likely outlast most of their competitors – a solid choice.

Available in men’s UK EU 6.5 – 14 and women’s 4 – 9 with half sizes for both and three colours.

Altberg: Fremington Ladies

RRP: £219.99
Weight: 1.125kg (Women’s UK 6)
Upper: Leather with Sympatex waterproof/breathable lining
Footbed: Trek Airgrid Black
Midsole: Tri-Flex
Sole: Vibram

Billed as suitable for the medium level hikes in the Yorkshire Dales, this boot is tougher with a stiffer sole than I was expecting from that description. However, this is compared to the Richmond-based manufacturers’ usual range, most of them very solid, long-lasting boots. The one piece leather upper is paired with a 4 layer breathable waterproof membrane, a pretty rigid vibram sole and a high rand and toe bumper protecting the boot from abrasion. The tongue is nicely padded and with a locking mechanism on the 3rd eyelet down, the lace tension can be adjusted well and stays in place. There is a good amount of cushioning around the ankle. This is a tough boot which has stood up well to a large amount of bog bashing. As a long term wearer of Altberg’s winter boots, these have a similarly solid, reliable feel and I’d expect them to really last a long time – Altberg also offers a re-soling service. With 5 width options on offer, this is a boot you should try on. A great option for poor weather and rough terrain.

Available in men’s sizes 7.5 – 13 UK and women’s 3- 8.5 UK, all half sizes and 5 different widths available. The men’s version has a slightly stiffer sole.

Altra Olympus 5 Mid GTX

RRP: £190
Weight: 980g (men’s size 11)
Upper: Suede and synthetic, Gore-Tex lining
Footbed: 5mm removeable
Midsole: Compression Molded EVA
Sole: Vibram

Altra is an American brand originally set up for running shoes back in 2009 which has more recently expanded into walking and boots. The Olympus 5’s have quite a different last to the other boots in this test, being narrow (yet very well padded) at the ankle but extremely generous in width in the toe box. This is the ideal fit for me, gripping my foot really well when ascending and descending steeply, but doing so without any pinching of the toes. They also have a high stack height of 33m (which adds a little stiffness to the soles) and a big rise from toe to heel; although this looks a little strange, I found they felt natural when worn. The height also helps with keeping water from getting in. These are very comfortable boots, ideal for anything from a ramble in the woods to long hikes over our most rugged hills.

Available in men’s sizes UK 6 – 14 (some half sizes available) and women’s UK 3.5 – 10 (all half sizes available); four colours.

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