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The best walking shoes for men and women in 2022


Swap clunky hiking boots for a pair of lightweight and waterproof walking shoes – here’s our pick of the best

There's nothing better than venturing into the great outdoors, but for those times when you just can't be bothered to lace up your hiking boots, the best walking shoes provide a capable middle ground. Harder-wearing, grippier and more supportive than a pair of everyday trainers, walking shoes are the perfect multi-purpose footwear for everything from popping to the pub or walking the dog to tackling longer walks when you venture out into the hills.

These days, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to walking shoes, so it can be tricky to pick the pair that best suits your needs and your budget. In this article, you'll find our pick of the best walking shoes for both men and women, and the shortlist includes the whole gamut of footwear ranging from grippy walking sandals for summer jaunts all the way through to fully waterproof footwear designed to handle the worst of the British weather.

If you don't know where to begin, or you have some burning questions you need answering, read on and our guide to buying the best walking shoes will explain what you need to consider before clicking that Buy button.

Buy the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 Gore-Tex for a bargain price

These walking shoes are equal measures stylish, comfortable and long-lasting. Built to keep your feet comfy on the longest of walks, the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 Gore-Tex walking shoes hit a bargain price of £98.
Was £140
Now £98

Best walking shoes: At a glance

  • Best for trail walking: Adidas Terrex Skychaser 2.0 – Buy women's | men's
  • Best for a tight budget: Path Waterproof walking shoes  Buy women's | men's
  • Best all-rounder: Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator  Buy women's | men's
  • Best for travelling: Keen Terradora II waterproof shoes  Buy women's
  • Best for all-terrain adventures: Keen Targhee III  Buy women's | men's

How to choose the best walking shoes for you

What’s the difference between walking shoes and hiking boots?

Essentially, walking shoes are designed with the same features as hiking boots, including waterproofing, rugged, bouncy soles and breathable fabrics, but usually feature lower ankle cuffs and tend to weigh less than boots, making them ideal if you find heftier hiking boots restrictive in the summer or if you’re travelling in warmer climates.

Walking shoes are versatile, too, and easy to wear everywhere from peak to pub to morning dog walk. They’re often as comfy as trainers to wear, and don’t need breaking in, but their breathable, man-made fabrics do make them less warm than thick boots. They’re also cheaper than hiking boots – we’d recommend spending around £50 and picking a waterproof pair such as the high-performing pairs we’ve tested below.

How do I get the right fit?

When trying on walking shoes, check that they don’t feel tight anywhere around your heels and that you have plenty of room to wiggle your toes. Don’t pick anything that feels like it fits on the snug side, as your feet will tend to expand on long hot walks.

Try lacing the shoes up tight and checking they feel like they’ll stay in place without any tightness or rubbing around your ankles. Take along the kind of socks you usually wear to walk in, and try on as many pairs as possible to see what styles fit you best – if you have wide feet or suffer from bunions, look out for shoes designed specifically for you.

What key features should I look out for?

A good walking shoe is waterproof and breathable on top, with tough rubber soles with great grip below. It makes sense to pick a good-looking pair of shoes, so that you can get more wear out of them. If you want to wear your shoes in the summer, a lighter mesh fabric is a good pick – if you want a style to use in all weathers, leather and suede shoes are heavier but warmer.

Tough, bouncy soles are worth investing in if you’re planning on hillwalking, and some shoes use branded technology such as Vibram soles that are great quality. Check they offer good grip – some shops even have mock terrain you can test your shoes out on.

Do my walking shoes actually have to be waterproof?

If we were rounding up hiking boots suitable for cold weather we’d say absolutely yes, but when it comes to walking shoes it does depend on where you plan to use them. If you want shoes for summer walks, travel in hot climates or aquatic adventures such as rock pooling, you’re better off picking something light and quick-drying, such as a mesh shoe or walking sandals with closed rubber soles that will keep your feet cool in and out of the water whilst protecting your feet. You can even buy 'shandals' - sandal/shoe hybrids that have large vents to keep you cool and enable you to wear them in water.

If, however, you want hiking shoes with low ankles you can wear on walks in the hills and use in spring and autumn, pick a waterproof pair. Make sure the shoes you buy are labelled waterproof, rather than water-resistant if you want to wear them in bad weather. Gore-Tex is a reliable waterproofing system to watch out for.

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The best walking shoes for men and women

1. Adidas Terrex Skychaser 2.0 Gore-Tex shoes: The best shoes for trail walking

Price: From £107 | Buy men’s from Adidas | women’s from Keller Sports

These shoes may look like relaxed trainers, but they perform like technical hiking boots and are designed to withstand the elements. The Skychaser shoes are fully waterproof, treated with reliable Gore-Tex technology, and also offer the hardiest, grippiest soles of all the shoes we tried out. Both tough and lightweight in one well-designed package, they’re ideal for walking in the back of beyond, especially in bad weather, when they show their mettle and give fantastic grip even on muddy paths. Worth shelling out for if you regularly hit the trails, especially since they’re available in fashion-forward colourways that make them easy to wear daily as well as in the great outdoors.
Key specs – Material: Textile and rubber; Waterproofing: Gore-Tex; Weight: 354g

Buy men's from Adidas

Buy women's from Keller Sports                       

2. Mountain Warehouse Path Waterproof walking shoes: The best shoes for a tight budget

Price: £35 | Buy men's | women's now from Mountain Warehouse

A pocket-friendly price for a surprisingly high-performing shoe. The Paths, from Mountain Warehouse, are very comfy, trainer-like walking shoes perfect for the summer. Their price is reflected in the fact that only the soles are fully waterproof – the uppers are just water-resistant, and will withstand light rain but will probably let in water if you jump in puddles. That doesn’t stop the Paths from being a smart choice for fairweather walkers, though – we like their tough rubber soles, which offer great grip even on slippery rock, and the breathable fabric, ideal if your feet tend to overheat on walks.

Key specs – Material: Textile; Waterproofing: Waterproof soles, water-resistant upper; Weight: N/A

Buy women's from Mountain Warehouse

Buy men's from Mountain Warehouse

3. Vivobarefoot Primus Trail II: The best for getting into barefoot shoes

Price: £130 | Buy men's | women's now from Vivobarefoot

Join the barefoot revolution in Vivobarefoot trail shoes, which are designed to mimic how feet move with no footwear on at all and provide sensory feedback from the trail whilst still protecting from rocks and debris. These kicks are light as air and so flexible that you’ll barely feel them on your feet – you can even roll them up small for easy travelling. They aren’t waterproof, but they are quick-drying, and the deep lugs on the soles provide excellent grip. The Primus Trail is made of recycled PET bottles too, for extra eco brownie points.

Key specs – Material: Mesh; Waterproofing: None; Weight: 205g

Buy women's now from Vivobarefoot

Buy men's now from Vivobarefoot

4. Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator: The best all-rounder

Price: £100 | Buy men's | women's now from Merrell

Merrell’s Moab ticks all our boxes for warm weather walking. The smart suede outer means the shoe is good-looking enough to wear in the city as well as the country, but it offers substance as well as style, packing a hefty punch when it comes to design features. The shoe is lightweight and cushiony to wear, with tough rubber soles, a hardy rubber toe cap to protect your feet on rock and plentiful mesh ventilation pockets to keep your feet cool. Top marks for this versatile shoe – wear from spring until autumn.

Key specs – Material: Suede; Waterproofing: N/A; Weight: 888g

Buy women's now from Merrell

Buy men's now from Merrell

5. Keen Arroyo II sandals: The best for summer

Price: £120 | Buy men's | women's now from Keen

Are they sandals? Are they shoes? We’d argue that they’re the best of both worlds. Keen’s Arroyo II are a fantastic choice for balmy summer walks. They aren’t waterproof, obviously, but by choosing walking sandals you gain a lot of lightness and breathability – no sweaty feet here. Meanwhile, the tough rubber toe cap makes them hiking-ready, and you can also wear them for swimming when hiking on the shoreline, as they'll protect your feed in water. These smart leather ‘shandals’ are seriously comfy and give great grip on long walks, although they aren’t as quick-drying as fabric walking sandals.

Key specs – Material: Leather; Waterproofing: None; Weight: 331g

Buy women's now from Keen

Buy men's now from Keen

6. Keen Terradora II waterproof shoes for women: The best shoes for travelling

Price: £115 | Buy women's now from Keen

Keen’s much-loved Terradora shoe for women is back and better than ever in its latest incarnation, the Terradora II. This deliriously comfortable, lightweight shoe feels like just wearing your favourite trainers (and has trainer-like looks and colourways, too) – but performs brilliantly when you’re trekking, too.

The Terradora II is reliably breathable, offers good grip and is waterproof enough to withstand a shower. We love them for travelling in hot climates when you need just one shoe that can go from city exploring to serious hiking.

Key specs – Material: Textile; Waterproofing: Keen.Dry; Weight: 370g

Buy women's now from Keen

7. Lowa Innox Pro GTX Lo: The best shoe for comfort

Price: £155 | Buy men's | women’s now from Lowa

Meet the impressive Innox Pro. Lowa’s low-cut, trainer-style offering is on the pricey side, but this shoe is packed with high-performance features including tough Gore-Tex waterproofing and Lowa’s own-brand bouncy, grippy rubber soles.

At 415g per shoe the Innox Pro won’t weigh you down as you hike, and the deeply cushioned inner soles are super-comfortable. Whether you’re walking the dog or trekking long distances, these shoes keep your feet feeling fresh hour after hour.

The neutral looks make them versatile enough to wear everywhere from walks to work, and they’re also 100% vegan, so they’re a great pick if you’re aiming to shop ethically.

Key specs – Material: Fabric; Waterproofing: Gore-Tex; Weight: 415g

Buy women's now from Lowa

Buy men's now from Lowa

8. Chaco Odyssey sandal: The best for aquatic adventures

Price: From £85 | Buy men's | women's now from Amazon

The perfect balance between a shoe and a sandal, Chaco’s Odyssey shoe combines tough rubber and a wide, bouncy sole with plenty of ventilation and seriously grippy soles.

A criss-cross strap helps you get a snug, stay-put fit and keeps the sandals from sliding about. While your toes are protected, your heels are left free, which keeps feet cool but offers less protection than a traditional shoe.

The mesh upper means that the lightweight Odyssey also dries very quickly, making it perfect for wild swimming, rock pooling and summer adventures by the sea.

Key specs – Material: Rubber; Waterproofing: N/A; Weight: 306g

Buy men's from Great Outdoors

9. Adidas Terrex Swift R3 Gore-Tex: Hard-wearing, comfy and stylish

Price: £140 | Buy men's | women's from Adidas

If you like the idea of a tough walking shoe that also looks good, the Terrex Swift R3 effortlessly fits the bill. The sharp design, robust construction and classy colourways make for a shoe that's as suitable for bimbling down the road to the local pub as it is scrambling up hillsides in the wilderness, and the Gore-Tex lining means that your feet will stay cosy and dry even when the heavens open. 

The tough outsole is made with sticky rubber from tyre manufacturer Continental, and the aggressive tread profile and low cut design only gets out of its depth once the trail turns to deep, wet slop where a full walking boot - or wellies - would fare better. If you want a tough, stylish, do-it-all shoe, then the R3 is a hugely capable all-rounder. 

Read our full Adidas Terrex R3 Gore-Tex review

Key specs – Material: EVA midsole, Rubber outsole; Waterproofing: Gore-Tex lining; Weight: Not stated

Buy men's from Adidas Buy women's from Adidas

10. Keen Targhee III Waterproof Hiking Shoes: The best for waterproof all-terrain adventures

Price: £130 | Buy men's | women's now from Keen

We’ve found Keen footwear to be instantly comfortable from the word go, so it’s no surprise that its hard-wearing Targhee III walking shoe is factored into our list of the best walking shoes on the market at the moment. It’s an iconic shoe in its third incarnation and has a focus on the company’s KEEN. dry technology, which includes a waterproof, breathable membrane and a leather mud shield that makes sure your feet stay dry in most of the conditions you’re likely to throw at it. The fit and durability of the Keen boot has been transferred to this lighter-weight, comfortable shoe and we’d feel that you’d be confident taking it across a multitude of terrains.

Key specs – Material: Leather, textile, gum rubber; Waterproofing: KEEN.dry membrane and leather mud shield; Weight: 449g

Buy men's now from Keen

Buy women's now from Keen