The best bargain walking boots reviewed (2022)

Are there budget walking boot gems? We've been testing the best 3-season hiking boots around £150.

Hiker climbing wearing Scarpa Manta hiking boots

by Ben Weeks |

It can sometimes feel like you’ll need to re-mortgage the house, work extra shifts for the next 12 months or land a nice win on the Premium Bonds to be able to afford the latest outdoor gear. Prices for the newest tech and updated designs are as eye-wateringly steep as Kirk Fell’s nose, and – unless you’re flush with cash – you’ll be forced to hunt around for bargains or end-of-line sales.

This can be a time-consuming task, with the added complication of differentiating between naff products deserving of a low price-tag and those that offer impressive performance despite the low cost. But here we’ve done the hard work for you, picking out five pairs of hiking boots priced around £150.

How to care for your hiking footwear

These days a premium pair of hikers will RRP north of £200, if not closer to £250, but some budget boots will still perform excellently, soaking up the lumps and bumps of the roughest trails and keeping your feet dry in the wettest and muddiest of bogs.

How we selected the best budget hiking boots

All of the boots we’ve included feature a waterproof membrane, deeply-lugged outsole for grippy traction, and a well-designed midsole for cushioning, support and shock absorption. But there are big differences between our top picks. Some are lighter and more flexible, with incredible out-of-the-box comfort and a sneaker-inspired look, while others feature a traditional, high-ankled leather design guaranteeing improved waterproofing, all-round protection and longer-term durability.

The choice is yours – it’s all down to personal preference – but whichever you choose, your wallet will thank you for it.

Just so you know, while we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections.

Danner Mountain 600

Danner Mountain 600 being tested

Verdict: Combines retro style with modern tech excellently. A full-grain leather boot with a plush, springy midsole – but it’ll be too ‘lifestyle-y’ for some.

Sizes: Men's 6.5-12.5; Women's 3.5-8

Weight per boot: 525g (men’s size 8)

If an old-school leather hiking boot had an illegitimate child with a lightweight trail running sneaker, the Danner Mountain 600 would be born.

This hybrid style, combining a traditional full-grain leather upper with a cushioned trainer-like midsole, looks striking. Danner calls it ‘performance heritage’, which is its way of saying the boot combines retro styling with modern tech – and it works excellently. The springy-feeling midsole (which is made from a rubberised EVA) is the pièce de résistance, delivering top-notch rebound, cushioning and support in a really responsive, agile unit.

But the other features hit the spot too. The high-quality leather upper and Danner Dry membrane keep out the rain, the Vibram Fuga outsole grips well over mixed terrain, and the simple lacing (with two cleats to finish) ensures a snug fit around the minimalist tongue and ankle cuff. Comfort is very impressive, particularly for a leather boot, and there’s no doubt these are good for daily use.

If we’re being fussy...

Ankle support is slim to none, there’s no heel breast for braking, and the overall design is far from the most rugged or technical. The outsole lugs could be deeper and the leather used is relatively soft and supple, which some may find too flimsy.

Keen Ridge Flex Waterproof

Keen Ridge Flex Waterproof on test

Verdict: Innovative flex for walking power & durability. A comfy, waterproof leather boot with an intriguing innovation – but a tad unwieldy.

Sizes: Men's 6-16; Women's 2.5-9

Weight per boot: 550g (men’s size 8)

That weird-looking rubbery panel across the top of the forefoot is this boot’s big innovation. Like the stretchy, flexible bit of a bendy London bus, this TPU insert flexes with your every step. The result is more energy-efficient walking (the boot requires 60% less energy to bend) and improved durability (no cracking or creasing where the forefoot flexes, which is a common weak point in boots) – or so Keen’s marketing blurb about the Bellows Flex technology claims. You can certainly see the TPU insert working as you walk, flexing smoothly and naturally, and the logic behind the innovation seems pretty solid.

The rest of the boot is effectively a Keen Targhee plus the bellows inserts at the forefoot and heel. It’s constructed from premium leather with a DWR-treated upper, Keen Dry membrane and Keen All-Terrain outsole with 5mm lugs. A speed lace system allows for a precise fit, while a heel capture system and underfoot shank adds stability and protection.

If we’re being fussy...

The wide fit and chunky design can feel a little clunky, heavy and cumbersome, and you only get Keen’s proprietary technology rather than premium components such as Gore-Tex or Vibram. More time on the trail is needed to test whether the Bellows Flex technology is a game-changer or just a gimmick.

Berghaus Supalite II GTX

Berghaus Supalite II GTX on test
©Live For The Outdoors

Verdict: Classic lightweight hillwalking boot. A leather boot that balances weight, reliability and comfort – but some may find the leather too soft and supple.

Sizes: Men's 7-12; Women's 4-8

Weight per boot: 535g (men’s size 9)

The problem with traditional leather boots is they can be heavy, clunky and uncomfortable; and the problem with modern lightweight boots is they’re sometimes flimsy, leaky and not that durable. Cue the Berghaus Supalite II GTX – the boot that aims to solve both of these problems in one clever design.

At just 535g per boot, these give you the best of both worlds: the lightweight agility, nimbleness and speed you’d only expect from modern, trainer-inspired boots, and the faultless waterproofing – courtesy of a one-piece leather construction with minimal stitching and Gore-Tex liner – you’d normally only be guaranteed with heavy, bombproof leather boots.

The Supalite II is very comfortable, thanks to the soft, supple leather and the ankle cuff’s memory foam padding. Underfoot you get EVA cushioning and a Vibram sole unit with deep, well-spaced lugs, while the toe box and heel cup are nicely stiffened too. This ensures good support and protection, despite the light weight.

If we’re being fussy...

Heavier-duty leather boots will provide improved stiffness, protection and support. The fit is slightly narrower and closer than some other boots, which won’t suit all foot shapes, and the leather is so soft and supple ankle support is minimal.

The North Face Vectiv Exploris Futurelight

The North Face Vectiv Exploris Futurelight on test

Verdict: A lightweight, modern boot for moving fast in the mountains – but support and protection is minimal. Perfect for fast and light adventures.

Sizes: Men's 6-13; Women's 3-9

Weight per boot: 416g (men’s size 8)

Injecting some urban flare and street-ready style into the rambling scene, these modern-looking, sneaker-like boots are sure to polarise opinion – something headline-grabbing TNF is pretty good at.

Some will ridicule the Vectiv Exploris Futurelights as glorified tennis shoes (particularly in the white colour-way), unsuitable for Britain’s rugged mountains; others will see only a faultlessly-comfy, ultra-cool and high-tech boot with innovative features. They definitely aren’t for everyone, that’s for sure, but during my test hikes in Borrowdale and Buttermere I absolutely loved them.

Out-of-the-box comfort was exceptional, grip was good enough, the Futurelight breathable-waterproof membrane did its job, and – best of all – the midsole rocker geometry had me frolicking around the mountains with unbridled energy and enthusiasm. With a smooth roll to each step, it felt as if I was being propelled forward towards my goal. The cushioning was plush and the energy return superb – a perfect combo for fast and light adventures.

If we’re being fussy...

The upper is so lightweight, it’s vulnerable to scuffing, tears and water ingress – so much so that I’d probably rate these more 2-season. Long-term waterproofing is dubious, there’s minimal ankle support, and the 4mm outsole lugs could be a bit deeper.

Scarpa Maverick GTX

Scarpa Maverick gtx on test

Verdict: A vegan-friendly boot that’s strong and supportive yet light and agile – but the synthetic construction may disappoint in terms of durability.

Sizes: Men's EU 41-48; Women's EU 36-42

Weight per boot: 475g (men’s size 42)

Better-known for its traditional leather boots, Scarpa has made a foray into the world of modern synthetic footwear with the Maverick GTX.

With an agile, athletic and mid-cut design, this boot is comfortable, versatile and ideal for moving fast and light in the mountains. It feels sturdier and stronger than most fabric boots, offering impressive support and decent lateral stiffness without feeling excessively bulky or heavy. A Gore-Tex liner provides waterproofing, the lightweight upper is made from fully synthetic Tech Fabric with Microfibre inserts to aid breathability and moisture transition, and the Crossover sole uses SuperGum rubber for improved grip.

You also get an ergonomically designed ankle cuff with special padding to maximise comfort. Heel capture is solid and the midsole unit provides a nice balance between cushioning and underfoot feedback.

The Maverick GTX is also officially vegan-friendly, with no animal products or glues used in the manufacturing process.

If we’re being fussy...

Support and stiffness are lacking slightly for technical routes and rugged terrain. Weather protection is minimal (the upper can wet out and feel cold, even if your feet stay dry under the Gore-Tex membrane) and may not be suitable for the wettest of spring and autumn days.

Don't forget to subscribe to the Live For The Outdoors newsletter to get expert advice and outdoor inspiration delivered to your inbox!

For the latest reviews - including extra photos and kit that won't appear online - pick up a copy of the current issue of Trail magazine!

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us