The best 3-season walking boots reviewed (2022)

Whether you favour traditional all-leather pairs or ultra-light modern footwear, 3-season boots will provide the support, traction and protection you need for all your non-snowy hillwalking exploits.

Hiker wearing La Sportiva Trango Tech Leather GTX

by James Forrest |

From Munro-bagging in Scotland to fell-wandering in the Lake District, a decent 3-season boot is a go-to option for most UK hillwalkers, promising all-day comfort and sure-footed traction below the snowline.

The arena of 3-season hiking boots consists of an awful lot of contenders, all vying to be the best at something, be it durability, value, or the coveted overall best in class.

At Live For The Outdoors, we know that different people enjoy different types of hiking adventures. That is why our winners here are all slightly different and bear a variety of strong suits. That way, we can be confident there is a boot here for everyone.

But that being said, all good 3-season walking boots need to possess certain characteristics: sound waterproofing, solid ankle support, and good traction and cushioning.

With that in mind, below are our top 3-season walking boots. If you want to find out about our recommended winter walking boots, lightweight summer walking boots and shoes, check out our in-depth guides.

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What to look for in 3-season walking boots:

Traditional vs modern: The modern trend is to wear synthetic, trainer-like, lightweight boots, which offer out-of-the-box comfort, but durability is compromised and the risk of water ingress is higher. Alternatively you can opt for old-school ramblers – strong, reliable, single-piece leather boots that will keep your feet dry no matter what, but they’ll be heavy, stiff and clunky with a more unforgiving fit.

Fit: Everyone’s feet are shaped differently and what fits comfortably for you might be blister-inducing for someone else. Fit is absolutely critical, therefore. Your best bet is to try for size in a shop, ideally with a skilled boot fitter. Aim for a secure, comfy fit, but without excessive compression or pinching. Space in the toe box for your toes to splay and the right volume at the forefoot are important.

Upper: The upper is the exterior material of a hiking boot. Traditional leather uppers have minimal stitching and are renowned for being long-lasting and bombproof. Alternatively, synthetic uppers are less durable but will have no break-in time and are lighter with enhanced flex and breathability.

Waterproofing: A waterproof-breathable membrane liner will help keep your feet dry. This is often Gore-Tex or may be a brand’s proprietary technology.

Tongue: A padded tongue provides improved comfort, while a gusseted or bellows tongue – which is fully attached to the uppers – offers better protection from water and debris.

Lacing: A good lacing system – usually via metal eyelets and hooks – runs smoothly and enables precise, bespoke adjustment to your foot shape.

Ankle cuff: A higher cuff helps fend off water, mud and debris from entering the boot and provides ankle support, but it may feel heavy and restrictive. Lower cuffs (often referred as ‘mid’ height) 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 (a rubber layer that wraps around the toe, sole or whole boot) will offer additional protection and durability.

Heel counter: This stiffened cup at the heel helps to lock the foot in place and offers additional stability and support.

Insole: For enhanced comfort and stability, you might want to switch out the bootmaker’s flimsy insole for a higher quality, specialist insole.

Midsole: The midsole – usually made from EVA or PU foam rubber – provides cushioning and stability. A heavier PU sole results in a stiffer, more rigid boot, which some prefer over rocky terrain. An EVA midsole is less durable, but provides way more flex which is far comfier for mile-after-mile and less tiring.

Outsole: The outsole provides traction via a tread pattern of rubber cleats and lugs. In general, deep and widely-spaced lugs provide improved grip and won’t get clogged with mud, while a deep heel breast – the step between the heel and midfoot – aids braking power in descents.

The best 3-season hiking boots

La Sportiva Trango Tech Leather GTX

Verdict: A fully-featured, durable, leather boot that’s ideal for big mountain days – but a tad heavy.

La Sportiva Trango Tech Leather GTX

Features 5/5 | Construction 5/5 | Comfort 4/5 | Performance 5/5 | Value 4/5

Overall score: 92%

Pros: Fantastic grip and support, very comfortable, durable

Cons: Pricey, overkill for some, quite stiff

Of all the boots on test in this list, the Trango Tech Leather GTX most resembles a proper mountaineering boot and won an accolade in our Gear of the Year awards for 2022, with enough technical ability to tackle scrambles and exposed ridges. The rubber Vibram sole unit provides slip-free traction, with a front climbing zone for edging, and there is good all-round torsional stability and stiffness to the construction.

On foot they feel reassuringly protective and supportive, yet surprisingly comfortable – for long mileage days they didn’t cause blisters or pinch points as you might expect with a sturdier boot. The clean, modern design features a nubuck leather upper – made from a high quality, single piece of leather with minimal stitching – and rubber protection at the heel and toe. The high-ankled cut ensures a high flood level and the soft, stretchy tongue has a sock-like snugness. Waterproofing is via a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort lining, and La Sportiva’s 3D Flex System enables the ankle good freedom of movement.

For some, they might prove a tad too heavy and stiff with an unforgiving fit. Underfoot cushioning and rebound could be better, and the penultimate lace loop, which is made of cord, is fiddly and awkward to use.

Men’s sizes 38-48 | Women’s sizes 36-42 | Weight 650g per boot (men’s size 8)

AKU Tengu Lite GTX

Verdict: A well-made, technical, waterproof boot with a striking ankle cuff – but it is expensive.

AKU Tengu Lite GTX
©Photo: AKU

Features 5/5 | Construction 4/5 | Comfort 4/5 | Performance 5/5 | Value 4/5

Overall score: 84%

Pros: Excellent ankle cuff, full wraparound rand, high bellows tongue

Cons: Pricey, no women’s specific version, style won’t suit everyone

This boot stands out from the crowd in several ways. Firstly, it has more of a mountaineering-style look and construction, with features akin to an approach shoe – full wraparound rand and lacing all the way to the toe, for example. Secondly, the clever ankle cuff – a sock-like collar that hugs your ankle – is exceptionally comfy and precise-fitting, with good flexibility and support, as well as a very high bellow tongue for higher-up-the-ankle waterproofing. And thirdly, the slightly odd ‘fingers’ of tougher material, which wrap around your ankle, deliver a touch of additional support and sturdiness.

The end result of all these design features is an excellent boot that imbues you with confidence over scrambly, rocky ground thanks to just enough lateral and heel-to-toe stiffness, but still feels comfy and cushioned enough for big mileage days, with good forward motion and a nice ride to each step. It’s a great balance.

You also get a Gore-Tex liner, practical Vibram Curcuma outsole with deep well-spaced lugs and a good heel breast, and an upper made from suede and AKU’s Air 8000 fabric. That upper won’t be as durable as single-piece leather and these boots are still relatively heavy. But for UK hillwalking they are very well-suited.

Men’s sizes 3-13 | Women’s sizes n/a | Weight 635g per boot (size 9)

Berghaus Hillwalker II GTX

Verdict: A well-priced, lightweight and comfy leather boot – but it’s not as strong, durable or protective as heavier options.

Berghaus Hillwalker II GTX
©Photo: Berghaus

Features 4/5 | Construction 4/5 | Comfort 4/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 5/5

Overall score: 84%

Pros: Good value, comfortable, supple leather

Cons: Not as strong, durable or protective as other leather options

Let’s start with the negatives. Heavier duty leather boots will undoubtedly provide improved stiffness, protection and support, as well as a sturdier performance on technical scrambles, than the Hillwalker II. This boot’s soft-oiled suede leather is so soft and supple it simply won’t be as durable in the long-term as thicker models, and the all-round build quality is in the budget-to-mid range rather than premium.

But having said all of that, the Hillwalker II is the easiest leather boot in our test to get on with. While other pairs are stiff and clunky, requiring significant breaking-in, this one is comfy from the get-go. It’s lighter, softer and more forgiving than the Zamberlan offering, for example, and leaves you feeling far more agile and energetic when you’re in the hills. Internally, memory foam at the heel and tongue adds comfort, while underfoot the EVA midsole delivers good cushioning and the Opti-Stud outsole provides ample grip.

You also get a Gore-Tex liner for waterproofing and metal lace eyelets for a fine-tuned fit. But it is the price that steals the show. At just £130, the Hillwalker II is very affordably priced – an ideal choice if you’re after a leather boot that’s light and comfy.

Men’s sizes 7-12 | Women’s sizes 4-8 | Weight 601g per boot (men’s 9)

Craghoppers Adflex

Verdict: An ultralight, modern, trainer-like boot at a good price – but how durable will it prove?

Craghoppers Adflex
©Photo: Craghoppers

Features 3/5 | Construction 3/5 | Comfort 5/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 4/5

Overall score: 76%

Pros: Very light, very comfy, good rebound

Cons: Flimsy construction, only in-house waterproofing, little stiffness/support

Craghoppers is not best-known for eye-catching footwear, but the new Adflex is ultralight, modern and sexy, almost like a trail running trainer with a higher ankle cuff. It’s nothing revolutionary – Salomon, Hoka One One and Inov-8 have pioneered lightweight footwear for years now – but Craghoppers is clearly trying to steal a slice of this market.

The Adflex’s build quality and performance are probably inferior (the Inov-8 Roclite G345 is only £5 dearer, but offers better grip and a sportier fit, for example), and question marks probably linger over how long the Adflex’s lightweight upper and in-house AquaDry waterproofing tech will last. But, those provisos aside, we were really impressed by the Adflex. Comfort was second-to-none, straight out of the box, and during our test hikes in the Grasmere fells the sensation on-foot was fast, light and nimble with excellent forward propulsion.

The eco credentials of the Adflex are admirable too. The upper mesh is 100% recycled, manufactured from plastic bottles and marine waste, and the lacing is recycled too. Environmental manufacturing processes have also been used in the dying of the liners and the foaming of the midsole, according to Craghoppers.

Men’s sizes 6-13 | Women’s sizes 3-8 | Weight 475g per boot (men’s 9)

Lowa Taurus Pro GTX Mid

Verdict: A lightweight, 3-season suede boot with good comfort and a Gore-Tex liner at an affordable price.

Lowa Taurus Pro GTX Mid
©Photo: Lowa

Features 3/5 | Construction 4/5 | Comfort 4/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 4/5

Overall score: 76%

Pros: Comfortable, lightweight, affordably priced

Cons: Not ideal for rockier ground, lightweight construction

Due to celebrate its centenary in 2023, Lowa has spent the last 100 years building up a reputation for high-quality hiking footwear designed with stereotypical German engineering precision. This heritage is clear to see in the Taurus Pro GTX Mid, an affordably-priced, mid-range boot that works well.

There isn’t really anything to get too excited about here, but equally there’s very little to dislike, and the Taurus Pro is a reliable choice that won’t break the bank. Everything you’d expect from a lightweight 3-season boot is present. You get a Gore-Tex lining, grippy Lima outsole with multi-directional lugs, a suede-fabric upper with good flex and freedom of movement, and a lightweight build (at 500g, it’s the third lightest on test) that feels relatively agile and nimble out on the trail.

There isn’t much rigidity, so this boot is certainly not designed for technical scrambling or the toughest of Munros, but for everyday hillwalking you get high levels of day-long comfort. Underfoot a DynaPU midsole delivers good cushioning and springiness, while the bellows tongue and lacing system work fine too. The upper is perhaps vulnerable to wear and tear over time, and the heel exterior and toe bumper are far from the sturdiest.

Men’s sizes 6.5-13 | Women’s sizes 3.5-9 | Weight 500g per boot (men’s 8)

Keen NXIS EVO

Verdict: An ultra-light, trainer-inspired boot with exceptional comfort – but some will prefer more protection.

Keen NXIS EVO
©Photo: Keen

Features 4/5 | Construction 4/5 | Comfort 5/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 4/5

Overall score: 84%

Pros: Ultra-light, extremely comfy, good rebound

Cons: Lugs not the deepest, long-term durability, no rigidity

Traditional wisdom suggests you need the toughness, rigidity and ankle support of heavier boots to thrive in the mountains. But that theory is increasingly being questioned by a younger generation of forward-thinking hillwalkers who move fast and light in the fells. Keen is jumping on this trend with the new NXIS EVO – an ultra-light, minimalist, trainer-like boot designed for fast-hiking.

Straight out of the box, it’s faultlessly comfy, thanks to the padded heel, soft ankle cuff, and wider-than-average toe box. Underfoot, the EVA midsole feels really responsive and springy with good rebound, while the All Terrain outsole is adequately grippy (although the 4mm lugs could be deeper) and the Keen Dry membrane provides waterproof-breathable tech. You also get a chunky toe bumper, stretchy bellows tongue, and a mesh upper with TPU overlays.

The end result? This is probably our favourite Keen boot ever – it’s so comfy and light, and just enjoyable to wear. The downside is that the soft uppers aren’t that durable, and there is little to no stiffness. For some, this is a deal-breaker for big mountains. But if you have strong ankles, and favour lightness and agility over rigidity, these boots can go anywhere you want.

Men’s sizes 6-14 | Women’s sizes 2.5-9 | Weight 428g per boot (men’s 8)

Hanwag Blueridge

Verdict: A light and flexible, yet protective, boot with a comfy fit – but long-term durability is as yet untested.

Hanwag Blueridge
©Photo: Hanwag

Features 5/5 | Construction 4/5 | Comfort 4/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 4/5

Overall score: 84%

Pros: Comfort, padded tongue, overall balance in construction

Cons: Long-term durability unknown

Bavarian boot brand Hanwag is known for its robust, muscular, mountain-ready footwear, so the relatively lightweight and flexible Blueridge is a departure from the norm. It is, essentially, Hanwag’s attempt to nail that ever-elusive Holy Grail of mountain footwear – maximum protection at the minimum weight possible, with no compromise on real-world performance.

Has it worked? In short, yes. The Blueridge hits a sweet spot between weight, comfort, durability, support and weatherproofing. It feels comfy the first time you wear it, but – unlike some lighter options – doesn’t leave you feeling anxious about scuffing against rocks or battling bogs. While the boot delivers good all-round flex, there’s just enough stiffness to feel stable and supportive, and the stiffened heel counter holds the foot well. But the real star of the show is the huge, stretchy, padded tongue, which hugs the shape of the foot wonderfully for a close-knit, bespoke fit to your shape.

The Blueridge’s upper is a mix of Perwanger leather and polyamide fabric, the Terragrip outsole features 15% recycled rubber and a 4mm-deep tread, and waterproofing is via Hanwag’s PFC-free Eco-shell. The long-term durability of this upper and the waterproofing are untested, but first impressions of the Blueridge are positive.

Men’s sizes 6-13 | Women’s sizes 3.5-9 | Weight 587g per boot (men’s 8)

Scarpa Rush TRK GTX

Verdict: A mid-range boot that strikes a nice balance between weight, durability and performance.

Scarpa Rush TRK GTX
©Photo: Scarpa

Features 4/5 | Construction 4/5 | Comfort 3/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 4/5

Overall score: 76%

Pros: Good value for money, relatively light, well-made

Cons: Not the comfiest

Neither an ultra-light, trainer-like modern boot nor a heavy, traditional leather boot, the Rush TRK GTX is instead a bit of a halfway house, striking a balance between the two. The aim is to give walkers the best of both worlds: a boot that is strong, waterproof and protective enough for genuine 3-season use in all conditions, but that simultaneously feels light, nimble and comfy enough for big mileage days.

Is this goal achieved? The bad news is that you don’t get anywhere near as much out-of-the-box comfort as lighter boots, and – in our tests at least – we struggled with some heel slippage and slight foot discomfort due to the narrow volume. The good news, however, is that all of the high-end craftsmanship and top-notch features you’d expect from Scarpa are present. The 1.6-1.8mm suede leather upper feels both durable yet flexible, the Gore-Tex liner ensures breathability and waterproofing, and the Presa outsole delivers good traction. You also get a tough toe bumper, softly-padded wraparound ankle cuff (known as an Autofit 3D Collar), and a nice balance between stiffness and flex.

For some this boot might be a jack of all trades master of none; for others it’ll hit the mid-range sweet spot.

Men’s sizes EU 41-48 | Women’s sizes EU 36-42 | Weight 555g per boot (men’s EU 42)

Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX

Verdict: A first-rate, expertly-manufactured leather boot with superb durability – but for many it’ll be too heavy and stiff.

Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX
Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX (RRP £220) ©Photo: Zamberlan

Features 4/5 | Construction 5/5 | Comfort 3/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 4/5

Overall score: 80%

Pros: Very durable, secure fit, highly waterproof, suitable for rough terrain

Cons: Stiff, heavy, clunky, requires significant breaking in, expensive

An old-school leather boot like this will polarise opinion. For some it’ll be the dream ticket: reliably waterproof, incredibly durable, reassuringly stiff and stable, and confidence-inspiring over the rockiest terrain. For others, it’ll be way too heavy and cumbersome, lack comfort and flex, and feel unforgiving on-foot.

But if you’re in the former camp, and are willing to give these boots time to bed in, the 996 Vioz GTX is undoubtedly a premium-end option boasting high-class craftsmanship and quality materials. Made from a thick, waxed, full-grain leather upper with a Gore-Tex liner and minimal stitching, the Vioz will keep you feet dry no matter how boggy the hillside. The leather is stiffer and thicker than many other boots, which arguably reduces all-round comfort, but enhances overall durability and strength.

The high-cut ankle cuff has reasonable give and padding, while the Vibram 3D outsole is very aggressive, particularly the deep heel breast for braking. The stiff midsole, meanwhile, provides the rigidity and foot security many desire on rocky scrambles and big mountain days. The price is pretty high, but if cared for these boots will last for a long time.

Men’s sizes EU 40-49 | Women’s sizes EU 36-43 | Weight 715g per boot (men’s EU 42)

Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX

Verdict: Ultra-light, with excellent grip – but not as durable or sturdy as some might like.

Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX

Features 4/5 | Construction 4/5 | Comfort 5/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 3/5

Overall score: 80%

Pros: Great for fast hiking, comfortable, grippy

Cons: Not as durable as leather options, a lot of flex

Billed as Inov-8’s ‘toughest ever hiking boot’, the Roclite Pro G 400 is a burly upgrade to the best-selling Roclite G 345. It feels stronger and sturdier than its predecessor, with a stiffer heel counter for enhanced stability, a tougher toe cap for added protection, and an EVA midsole plate for extra side-to-side stiffness. The result is a boot that can cope with rocky, rough terrain.

But don’t get the wrong impression – this is far from a heavy, hefty number. As is Inov-8’s modus operandi, the Roclite Pro G 400 is exceptionally lightweight (370g) and extremely comfortable. It offers trainer-like comfort, with soft, flexible ankle support, and is clearly designed for fast and light adventures.

A Gore-Tex membrane provides waterproofing and the upper – a Schoeller ceramic-coated fabric in a honeycomb pattern – is lightweight yet reasonably tough. But this boot’s pièce de résistance is the graphene-infused rubber outsole with 6mm deep studs for excellent traction.

Despite Inov-8’s claims of superb durability, the upper is so lightweight it’s undoubtedly vulnerable to rips and tears, and there is so much flex in the forefoot (near the back end of the toe box, at the base of the lacing system) that creasing and cracking could be an issue.

Men’s sizes 6-14 | Women’s sizes 3-8.5 | Weight 370g per boot (women’s size 6.5)

Meindl Tonale GTX

Verdict: A fully-featured boot that strikes a good balance between weight and sturdiness.

Meindl Tonale Lady GTX

Features 5/5 | Construction 4/5 | Comfort 4/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 3/5

Overall score: 80%

Pros: Best of both worlds, comfortable, more durable than other light boots

Cons: Narrow fit not for everyone, could benefit from stiffer midsole

If you neither want ultra-light modern boots nor traditional full leather numbers, the Meindl Tonale strike a neat halfway house. They feel sturdy and robust, with technical features and confidence-giving all-round support, yet light (495g) and comfy enough for regular use without pinch-points or rubbing. It’s the best of both worlds.

Resembling a cross between a technical approach shoe and a hefty mountaineering boot, you get a full wraparound rubber rand for increased durability, a high cut on the ankle for good support and a lacing system that extends down to the toe box for a very precise, snug fit. A Gore-Tex membrane and gusseted tongue help prevent water ingress while underfoot there is EVA foam shock absorption and reliable grip from the Vibram sole.

The main materials are suede leather and mesh uppers, which combine to provide good flex and a soft feel that belies their overall sturdiness.

There’s a fair bit of stitching joining the suede and textile panels, which will reduce long-term durability. The close fit and narrow cut won’t suit all foot shapes, and you might want some more midsole stiffness for scrambling and technical rocky terrain.

Men’s sizes 6-12 | Women’s sizes 3.5-9 | Weight 495g per boot (women’s size 6.5)

Alt-Berg Tethera

Verdict: An extremely durable and waterproof leather boot – but it’s very heavy and stiff.

Alt-Berg Tethera Lady

Features 4/5 | Construction 5/5 | Comfort 3/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 4/5

Overall score: 80%

Pros: Very durable, good for mountain and rock, supportive

Cons: Heavy, not as comfortable as other options

They don’t make ’em like this anymore – except they do in Yorkshire. Like a throwback to a bygone era of burly leather boots made to last a lifetime, Richmond-based Alt-Berg produces traditionally-styled hiking boots using premium craftsmanship and quality materials. This old-school approach has a loyal fan base and, while the heavy and stiff style won’t appeal to all, it certainly has its advantages.

Alt-Berg’s bombproof and highly waterproof boots offer weather-resistance that lightweight pairs just can’t match.

Built from one piece of 2.6mm thick Anfibio leather with minimal stitching, the Alt-Berg Tethera is no exception – it’s extremely durable and weather-resistant. You get a Sympatex waterproof lining, 360° rubber rand, deeply-lugged Vibram outsole and lots of stiffness, which is great for big mountain days over rocky ground. The bellows tongue is excellent, with a very high flood level, and the ankle cuff provides good cushioning. The Tethera is available in five widths for a fine-tuned fit.

These are heavy and cumbersome – and anyone used to lightweight footwear will find them infuriatingly slow and clunky. The stiff and rigid construction means comfort isn’t a strong point and bedding-in will be required if you want to avoid blisters.

Men’s sizes 7.5-14 | Women’s sizes 3-8.5 | Weight 690g per boot (women’s size 6.5, medium width)

Boot care

If you expect your boots to take care of you, you have to take care of them in return. This is vital to 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; for maintaining water repellency use Granger's Footwear Repel Plus- it works on all fabrics but for full-grain leather, its G-Wax is best for conditioning and waterproofing. An alternative is Nikwax's footwear cleaner and all-fabric proofer (also PFC-free).

Read our in-depth footwear care guide for more.

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