Finding your ideal walking boot can be tough, so we've tested and reviewed the best options for use throughout most of the year – these are often referred to as '3-season walking boots'.
Promising all-day comfort and sure-footed traction in wet or dry weather, as well as support and stability on broken or uneven ground, 3-season walking boots offer both value and versatility across a range of different conditions and seasons.
The best 3-season walking boots at a glance:
Best in Test: Scarpa Rush Trk Pro GTX – View Snow And Rock
Best Value: Vasque Breeze – View on Vasque
Best lightweight 3-season boot: Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX V2 – View on Inov-8
Naturally, some hillwalkers prioritise certain boot attributes over others. Those who like to go 'fast and light' might consider low weight the most important quality. Others might want cushioning, stability, or long-term durability above all else. But really, the ideal 3-season walking boot should be a consummate all-rounder. That's why we've picked out those that strike the best balance overall.
The best 3-season hiking boots in detail:
Ellie loved the new women's Rush Trk Pro straight out of the box. Men's and women's versions are
- Impressive performance for a relatively lightweight boot
- Can be re-soled
- Good cushioning
- Excellent grip
- Boot last won't suit everyone
The Vasque Breeze is a well-proven design that's been part of this US bootmaker's range for the
- Good value
- Uses recycled material
- Versatile outsole
- Midsole too flexy for technical terrain
Perhaps too similar to the original boot to be called 'new', but 'improved' they very much are,
- Very durable for a lightweight boot
- Ideal for fast-paced walking
- Impressively versatile...
- However, you might want something stiffer or sturdier for technical terrain
- No wide fit
Being one of the most durable picks on this list, Keen's Circadia Waterproof boot makes up for its
- Accommodating fit
- Wide fit not for everyone
- Relatively heavy
Oboz is another US footwear brand, and the Sawtooth Mid is one of its most popular models. It's a
- Excellent insole
- Good midsole cushioning
- Dependable lugs
- Require some breaking-in
Best 3-season boot for hillwalking
This is a perennially popular model from the German bootmaker that has serious hiking heritage.
- Very good outsole
- Time tested design
- 3 widths available
- Others have better midsole cushioning
- Stitching around flex points a possible issue
A classic 3-season boot with sturdy uppers and a firm midsole, the Tethera seems custom-built for
- Can be re-soled
- Available in 5 widths
- Fully gusseted tongue
- Outsole not great on wet rock
- Heaviest boots on test
This is a more-than-capable hiking boot that is at its best when applied to steeper, more scrambly
- Excels on the mountains
- Still comfy on walk-ins
- Durable construction yet not too heavy
- A bit niche for some
This is a well-made hillwalking boot that is better equipped to tackle tougher and more technical
- Stiffer midsole great for mountains
- Still relatively lightweight
- Versatile lug pattern
- Good breathability
- No rand or toe bumper
- Not much midsole cushioning
How to buy the best 3-season walking boots:
Fit: Everyone's feet are shaped differently. Your best bet is to try for size in a shop. Aim for a secure, comfy fit at the heel and space in the toe box for your toes to splay.
Upper: Traditional leather uppers have minimal stitching and are renowned for being long-lasting and bombproof. Synthetic uppers have no break-in time, are lighter with enhanced flex and breathability, and can be vegan-friendly.
Waterproofing: A waterproof-breathable membrane liner will help keep your feet dry. This is often Gore-Tex or a brand's proprietary technology.
Tongue: A padded tongue provides improved comfort. And a gusseted tongue fully attached to the uppers offers better protection from water and debris.
Lacing: A good lacing system runs smoothly and enables precise, bespoke adjustment to your foot shape.
Ankle cuff: A higher cuff helps fend off water and debris from entering the boot and provides ankle support. But it may feel heavy and restrictive. Lower cuffs make boots lighter with a more flexible feel.
Toe bumper and rand: A strong toe bumper will protect your toes from rocky ground, while a rand offers additional protection and durability.
Heel counter: This stiffened cup at the heel helps lock the foot in place and offers additional stability and support.
Insole: Bootmakers usually skimp on insoles. Getting a specialist insole is a great way to enhance comfort and stability.
Midsole: The midsole provides cushioning and stability. Boots can vary a lot when it comes to these two aspects. Winter boots are stiffer for climbing. Lighter boots are more cushioned and have more flex for speed.
Outsole: The outsole provides traction via a tread pattern of rubber cleats and lugs. Deep and widely spaced lugs provide won't get clogged with mud. A deep heel breast aids braking power in descents.
Hiking boot care
If you expect your 3-season walking boots to take care of you, you have to take care of them in return. This is vital for boot performance and longevity. Some of our favourite gear care products come from Granger's. Its products are both effective and Bluesign-approved.
For cleaning any fabric, including leather and suede, use Granger's Footwear + Gear Cleaner. The best option for maintaining water repellency is Granger's Footwear Repel Plus. However, if you've got full-grain leather boots, its G-Wax is best for conditioning and waterproofing. An alternative is Nikwax's footwear cleaner and all-fabric proofer.
How we tested these 3-season hiking boots
To find the best 3-season walking boots, we gathered together a range of contenders and put them to work in Snowdonia. Our testing involved everything you'd expect a 3-season walking boot to do, including general hillwalking, tramping through wet and muddy patches, and a bit of scrambling.
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Matt Jones and Ellie Clewlow are freelance gear testers for Live For The Outdoors and Trail Magazine. They have walked several long-distance backpacking trails in New Zealand, the USA and throughout the UK.