Summer is finally here – don’t we know? – which signals barbies in the garden, vacations in the sun and country hikes (for some).
For those who like to get out and about, the season offers less mud, clear skies and warm temperatures. Better still, fall will soon be on the horizon in what many consider to be the sweet spot for hikers – not the scorching heat of summer, but neither the chill and rain of winter. The best part is that it’s completely free. During a livelihood crisis we could all use an activity that doesn’t cost the earth, right?
But what do you wear on your feet so that you don’t limp with pain before the first hill? Converse in summer (too thin and absorbent) and Hunters in winter (too bulky and hot) just don’t cut it. It’s the humble hiking shoe that can finally shine.
Lightweight, water-repellent and robust, they offer functionality and comfort in equal measure, although they have never been known for their style. Good news, then, that the best brands have started to focus on the aesthetic of this shoe, combining cutting-edge technology with forward-thinking looks to appeal to a broader, younger demographic of aspiring hikers. During the pandemic, many of us have been getting up to kill time and burn calories, so it’s a smart move for the makers and makers to stay ahead of the curve.
Selim Say, Vice President Footwear at outdoor clothing retailer Jack Wolfskin says: “It’s an exciting time to take up hiking! Although the outdoor industry has made great strides in function, weight reduction and material innovation over the years, there has always seemed little new knowledge and overly rigid views about what type of footwear should be worn and how much protection and stability a hiking shoe should offer .
Post-pandemic, there has been an influx of new hikers, bringing with them whole new needs. Never before have there been so many light, versatile and ergonomically designed hiking shoes and boots on offer. Traditional brands that have been practicing their craft for decades are now being challenged and need to dust off their concepts to think outside the box.”
Here we ask you to follow in our footsteps and try one of these inspiring brands for your next big hike.
Trust us – we’ve done the leg work.
Haglöfs Duality AT1 GT men’s GORE-TEX waterproof hiking shoes
One of the most stylish hiking shoes around, the Haglöfs Duality does what Swedish brands do best, seamlessly blending aesthetics with technology. They certainly don’t come cheap, but they’re proof that you get what you pay for, with interchangeable midsoles for navigating different terrains – green for rocky trails and red for more relaxed ones. As you’d expect, a GORE-TEX® membrane will keep you bone dry in any weather.
Buy Now £240.00 John Lewis
Merrell Men’s MQM 3 GORE-TEX
The MQMs – which apparently stand for “move fast in the mountains” – are stable enough to hike in, agile enough to run in and durable enough to climb easily. The standout feature is of course the GORE-TEX® membrane, which offers exceptional breathability and waterproofness. We prefer them in orange for a pop of color against the rugged landscape.
Buy now £120.00 Merrell
Hoka One Anacapa GORE-TEX hiking shoes with nubuck trim
Could these fabulous boots from French sporty footwear brand Hoka® be any more fashionable?
Despite the fact that they’re better suited to the runway than the mountains – they’ve got more than a touch of Weezy, let’s face it – they’re built for rugged terrain thanks to breathable and waterproof GORE-TEX® technology and a distinct ergonomics Form designed to handle the undulating contours of nature.
Buy now £160.00 Mr Porter
Timberland Timberloop Trekker hiking shoes
Standing out against nature in their signature yellow, the Timberloop™ hiking shoes are undoubtedly a stylish choice for a hike – they’re made of no less sustainably sourced premium quality – but their functionality is pretty damn good too. They feature a lightweight and breathable footbed for comfort; while the molded sole provides cushioning. Like walking on clouds – heavenly.
Buy Now £170.00, Timberland
Jack Wolfskin Force Striker Texapore Mid M waterproof hiking shoes
Modern, sporty and dare we say more than a little sexy, the Jack Wolfskin Force Strikers are designed for intense day hikes or multi-day treks in the hills and mountains. So basically you are covered. Offering stability, comfort and support, they feature an innovative sole that saves your energy for uphill rides, while being waterproof and breathable to boot.
Buy now €145.00, Jack Wolfskin
Lowa Trek Evo GTX Mid
A modern take on traditional trekking boots, the Evos not only look good in an anthracite black and acid green vegan leather, they mean it in the wild too. There’s a flexible midsole that offers excellent cushioning while conserving energy, while lightweight materials ensure you keep going.
Buy Now £188.99, Trainers
Bottega Veneta nylon hiking boots with leather trim
Ridiculous? Maybe. Necessary? Absolutely. These outrageously colorful hiking shoes from Bottega Veneta will stand out on the mountain for all the right reasons with chunky soles that are more Kanye West than Bear Grylls. They’ve been made in Italy from durable nylon and trimmed with leather for extra reinforcement, with padded cuffs and colored laces. A feast for the eyes – in every respect.
Buy now £820.00 Mr Porter
Columbia Men’s Peakfreak X2 OutDry™ Shoe
When it comes to heading out into the great outdoors, you can always rely on American sportswear brand Columbia.
Excellent name aside, the Peakfreaks come in an ocean-inspired turquoise, while features include a cushioned midsole and waterproof construction for wet-weather performance.
Lightweight and durable – what’s not to love?
Buy Now £60.94, Amazon
Craghoppers men’s Adflex boots
A trail shoe designed for hot-weather travel, the Adflex boots are designed to minimize weight without compromising durability or performance, meaning they’re comfortable and tough. Interestingly, their open lacing is designed to lower blood pressure on the top of the foot, while an anti-insect treatment is built into the fabric. Mozzies away! Plump for her in khaki for jungle vibes.
Buy now £150.00, Craghoppers
Canada Goose Journey rubber and nubuck leather hiking boots
There’s a lot to love about these beautiful boots from Canada Goose – the renowned winter clothing manufacturer – including the limited edition box styled like a suitcase. Giveaways aside, they’re crafted in Italy from soft and rich suede, and feature grippy rubber soles for traction and tonal nubuck trims for style. Laced up at the top, it’s easy to show off your best side.
Buy now £650.00 Mr Porter
Mountain Warehouse Men’s Vertex Extreme Vibram Boots
From long walks to grueling hikes, the Vertex Vibrams from trusted Mountain Warehouse are waterproof and breathable, made with an IsoDry membrane and Phylon midsole for shock absorption. Additionally, rubber toe guards and deep lugs ensure stability and durability, meaning they’ll be your companions for quite a while.
Buy Now £129.99, Mountain Warehouse
Quechua men’s ultralight fast hiking shoes
At the affordable end of the scale, these boots were created at the foot of Mont Blanc by the designers at Decathlon – true story – and offer remarkable support and quick lace-up. They are ultra light and ready for all trails, including fast and free movement in the mountains.
Buy now €59.99, Decathlon
Regatta Men’s Tebay Waterproof Low Hiking Shoes
Waterproof, durable and cushioned – what more could you want from your hiking shoes?
Thanks to advanced Isotex and Hydropel technology, rain and splashes won’t seep through these bad boys, meaning they’re just as ready for plush country walks as they are for rough and tricky terrain. A deeply padded collar and tongue offer superior comfort, while a navy suede finish adds style.
Buy Now £95.00, Regatta
Off-White C/O Virgil Abloh hiking boots in suede and leather with arrow embroidery
The late Ghanaian-American fashion designer may be gone, but he’s certainly not forgotten with these eye-catching boots beautifully crafted from arrow-embroidered suede and leather. Made in Italy, they blend form and function so well and feature a lace-up closure and a bold silhouette.
Buy now £585.00, Selfridges
Dare 2b Ridgeback Winter III waterproof hiking shoes for men
At the budget end of the scale, there’s certainly no price hike for these hiking shoes from sportswear retailer Dare 2b, which are both waterproof and lightweight. With a woven textile upper and a nylon shaft, the boots are durable and comfortable and offer a winning combination for long walks.
Buy now £49.95, Dare 2b