Leather boots are heavier than fabric ones, and this one certainly has much more weight than the Salomon Quest. But leather is also more durable and feels very sturdy – especially around the ankles – so there’s no reason to shy away from it. Just be prepared to put a bit of effort into breaking it in before it really starts to repay your investment.
Hiking boots are critical to your comfort and performance on the trail, but this no longer means a stiff and burly model that will weigh you down. The trend is toward lighter materials that still offer decent support, and waterproof boots are the most popular by far (many are offered in a non-waterproof version for hiking in hot or dry climates). Our picks for the best mens waterproof walking boots of 2021 below are broken down into three categories: lightweight boots for day hiking and fastpacking, midweight options that work well for most backpacking trips, and heavyweights for rough terrain or hauling a large load. For more information on choosing the right boot, see our comparison table and buying advice below the picks. If you prefer to go even lighter and faster, see our article on the best hiking shoes.
Top 10 best mens waterproof walking boots in UK 2021
Below are our picks of top 10 best mens waterproof walking boots reviews.
1. Danner Mountain 600
American brand Danner now ships directly to the UK from its website, which is great news for fans of top-notch boots. The Mountain 600 is one of Danner’s most popular, offering style and substance with a waterproof suede upper, durable Vibram outsole and a comfortable midsole made of rubberised EVA foam.
2. JACK WOLFSKIN FORCE STRIKER TEXAPORE
The Jack Wolfskin Force Striker Texapore boot is not a shy and retiring boot, it’s chunky in most dimensions and radiates the kind of knockabout robustness you’d hope for in a hiking companion. There’s a few factors mixed into that impression – the high ankle and substantial padding offer serious support for tiring legs, while the forefoot ‘force plate’ hidden in the sole unit adds stiffness and protection all in one. This makes a relatively lightweight boot seem much more substantial – an ingenious trick. That said, the mesh and fabric upper does a great job of shedding weight while keeping things breathable, as does the Texapore o2 membrane.
Running through the boot is a solid seam of quality components too, which add little by little to a good overall impression – the alloy lace hooks for example – and of course the all-important sole unit. That’s moulded from Vibram Megagrip, offering fierce grip on uneven and rocky terrain. Overall, the Jack Wolfskin Force Striker Texapore boot has lots to say for itself, and not much to complain about – a worthy competitor.
3. Brasher Men’s Country Master
I like the classic brown leather look, but it’s in the comfort where I felt this boot excelled. The cuff and tongue are remarkably padded – they hug the ankle. The midsole, made of polyurethane, a type of foam that is known to last a long time, adds to the comfort.
The waterproofing membrane is eVent, name-checked by both Nichols and Reid as the biggest challenger to Gore-Tex’s position as the leader in that field. The difference is that eVent is a little more breathable, and can dry quicker. It’s also often more affordable – although on the flip side, I’m told eVent tends to require a bit more care through washing (it’s worth noting, however, that the difference is minimal).
This is a boot that’ll feel sturdy when hiking up Snowdon, but you could equally wear wear it while strolling through a park on a wet autumn day. The soles are Vibram, which, according to Nichols, is the best sole manufacturer out there: “It’s an indicator of a good quality sole unit.” Vibram soles are noted for their high resistance to abrasion and top traction on a range of surfaces, making the boot very versatile. In fact, the first summit of K2 was apparently made by an Italian with Vibram rubber soles (we’re not saying you should rush up K2, mind).
4. Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX
The Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX is our go-to boot for technical scrambling and off-trail travel. It is essentially a lightweight mountain boot, but it does so well that the average hiker can also benefit from its superior performance. It’s full-leather upper offers excellent durability, while the supportive Vibram sole gives a stable platform. Impressively waterproof, it is ready to handle the most challenging terrain you might encounter, even being able to pair with a light crampon for use on firm snow on an early season hike.
This boot is amazing in technical and rough terrain, but it gives up some comfort in favor of this specific performance. The rigid sole does not bend as easily as others, making it harder to walk up smooth slabs of rock. But, if you’re looking for a cross-over hiking/mountaineering boot that you use on the long trail approach and more technical 3rd and 4th class terrain when peak bagging, the Zodiac Plus is worth checking out.
5. Berghaus Men’s Expeditor Ridge 2.0 Walking Boots
These men’s hiking boots from Berghaus are designed to withstand anything the British weather throws at them. They look great and are perfect for rainy adventures. They keep your feet dry thanks to the AQ waterproof lining and the EVA midsoles provide ultimate cushioning. If it’s superb grip you’re after, these high rise hiking boots won’t let you down with their OPTI-STUD sole. One happy hiker who wore them on a trip to the North Downs said: “Plenty of mud and unavoidable puddles after recent rain and my feet were dry”.
6. Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot
Nearly 3,000 reviewers describe these all-purpose hiking boots as “comfortable,” including one who calls them “the best I’ve ever worn.” Another reviewer calls these waterproof boots “a lifesaver” exclaiming, “Wow, my feet thank me.” One reviewer who has “hiked all over the world,” explains, “Sure, you can purchase some really nice expensive shoes that can do the job,” but he advises future customers to “go for the fit, not the brand, or model or what’s advertised as the best. This boot just felt good when you put it on. It’s light, and it feels durable.” Another reviewer says “they have excelled,” even after a year of all-seasons use. “For fall and spring, these are brilliant all around. For the various on and off trail, wet and dry, rocky and muddy, infinitely varied conditions, there are none these haven’t been comfortable for.” Many also appreciate the traction these boots give when hiking, like one reviewer who writes, “I’ve never had a slip or fall due to loss of traction with these boots. They will go wherever you need to go. I’ve worn them around town, hiking through streams and over rocks in the Colorado Rockies, day hikes on managed trails, tree climbing, lots of places. These boots will get you there.”
7. Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Leather Mid GTX High Rise Hiking Shoes
The Merrell Moab 2 Mid-Waterproof boots are an inexpensive option for people who don’t hike regularly or aren’t looking to take on extreme terrains.
Although they come in at the bottom end of the price range, they scored relatively well across all metrics.
They were waterproof for short stints of time, whilst also being breathable, offered good ankle support on short hikes and have an easy to use lacing system.
A major plus of these boots is that they are ready to wear and comfortable straight out of the box thanks to a cushioned collar and tongue, refined insole with arch support and flexible footbed.
The boot comes up pretty low on the ankle, similar to a trail shoe, which means reduced support but it does remove the need to wear them in.
The modest stability and support is reflective of the fact that the Moab 2’s core customers are day hikers, rather than mountaineers or extreme adventurists.
The trusty outsole has a respectably long lifespan with a toe that shows scuffs but generally withstands damage well.
The tread on the shoe is not particularly deep, meaning it’s suited to a limited range of terrains and does not support carrying a heavy load, but offers decent enough traction over rock and dirt.
The shoes come in a waterproof and non-waterproof version so the wearer can decide accordingly where their priorities lie. Anyone looking to wear the shoe in warmer climates should opt for the non-waterproof version as they have superior breathability.
8. Ariat skyline summit GTX
Heavy duty enough to take on some tough trails and boulder climbs, but also lightweight enough for easier walks – these are a superb autumn/winter walking companion because they have a full-grain leather upper and Gore-Tex deck so that your feet stay dry and warm. Good shock absorption and excellent traction from multi-directional tread on the outsole adds to the wearability of the boot and the brand has included some nylon panels at the side to increase breathability on warmer days. Overall, the boot was very comfortable to wear for an extended period with a nice wide fit.
9. Mammut Saentis Pro WP
With a Michelin trail cleat sole, this sneaker-like boot has enough grip for serious off-roading. The softshell upper is breathable and water repellant, with a liner between it and your foot, should rain or slush creep in. If your trail runs end at an outdoor beer garden in the city, these have the styling—and colors—that fit right in.
10. KEEN Men’s Targhee Iii Mid Wp High Rise Hiking Shoes
Keen footwear has a reputation for comfort and the Targhee iii is no exception. Fortunately for walkers with broad feet, the Targhee iii is available in two widths: standard and wide. The Metatomical Footbed is designed to provide strong arch support and the dual-density EVA insoles soften the impact of the trail. The Targhee iii is a pleasantly lightweight, too, at 1kg the pair (size 11).
The Keen. Dry breathable membrane means vapour can leave the boot and air can move freely between the material – very welcome in hot weather.
The boot’s waterproofing and durability were less impressive. During periods of wet weather, small amounts of water seeping in through the lacing area on the top of the foot, and after two weeks of hard walking, the boots had begun to show signs of wear and tear, most notably around the toe-bend.
The Targhee iii is a great boot for fair-weather walking in the UK, excelling in comfort. It comes at a relatively affordable price and can be worn on long walks straight from the box. But for winter walking and rough or wet terrain, a tougher boot might be preferable, particularly if you want your boots to last.
How to choose best mens waterproof walking boots?
Should I buy leather or fabric hiking boots?
First up, you’ll need to choose between leather and fabric models. Traditional leather boots are heavier and stiffer, but will last you for years if you care for them properly. They also mould to your feet over time – they require breaking in, but you’ll end up with very comfortable boots.
The thicker material also makes them warmer and ideal for winter wear. Fabric boots are lighter but less hardy and tend to offer less warmth but more breathability, making them best suited to spring and summer rambles and for international travel. They also feel much comfier straight out of the box. Suede boots look great but do require more care to keep clean.
What is the best internal support?
There are two facets to the internal support of most walking boots that you should keep a note of. The first is shanks. These are 3mm to 5mm-thick inserts that are sandwiched between a boot’s midsole and outsole to add load-bearing stiffness to the midsole. Varying in length, some shanks cover the entire length of the midsole, while others only cover half.
The second internal support facet is the plates. These are thin, semi-flexible inserts that are positioned between the midsole and the outsole, and below the shank. Their primary job is to protect feet from getting bruised when there’s uneven ground underfoot such as tree roots or rocks. Any decent walking boots should comprise both these features.
What other features should I look for?
Most decent hiking boots on the market are waterproof, and use treatments such as Gore-Tex or an own-brand waterproofing system to fend off rain. Make sure the walking boots you buy are listed as fully waterproof and not just water-resistant – the latter can deal with a light shower but are pretty much useless in bad weather.
Hiking boots are usually designed with rugged rubber soles, and some use specific technology here, too – Vibram is the last word in toughness. Look for bouncy soles with deep lugs – these offer good grip. If in doubt, boots packing both Gore-Tex and Vibram tech are bound to be pretty decent (but can be expensive).
How do I get the best fit?
When trying on hiking boots look for shoes with plenty of wiggle room for your toes and make sure that don’t feel tight anywhere around your heels. If you’re planning on hiking over rocky or uneven ground, boots with higher ankle support are a good choice. Boots designed for wide feet and for bunions are also available.
The more pairs you can try on, the better – you might find that a specific brand’s shoes suit your feet’s shape the best. Wear hiking socks when testing boots and try lacing the boots up tight and checking they don’t rub around your ankles. If you’re buying leather, expect a bit of stiffness on the first few hikes until they adapt to your feet.
Best mens waterproof walking boots are a crucial piece of gear to consider for your backcountry adventures. A poorly fitting pair will turn an otherwise unforgettable trip into a miserable slog filled with blisters and sore feet. Thankfully the days of uncomfortable boots that are heavy and take a lifetime to break in are over. All of the boots in this review have their place on the trail, and some will work better than others depending on your specific needs and goals. So take your time to read through our assessments, then treat yourself to a pair of supportive, weight-appropriate, and comfortable boots for your next trail outing.