MERRELL MQM FLEX MID GTX £125
Cotswoldoutdoor.com ‘If you need an all-round boot for active outdoor adventures, these are a great choice. Comfy and versatile, plus a little cheaper than the others, these have a trainer-boot feel. Designed to deal with hiking, trail running and scrambling, these are waterproof and breathable, thanks to the GORE-TEX membrane. They also boast FLEXconnect grooves in the EVA midsole that align with the bones of your foot, helping the boot bend and boosting agility and stability. The M-Select GRIP outsole works well on all surfaces, and these boots are antimicrobial, too, to help keep them fresh. Your heels and ankles feel nicely supported, and the boots feel pretty light (640g) and well cushioned.
Lightweight Walking Boots and Gets Trekking Photo Gallery
DANNER JAG WOOL £137.65
Danner.com ‘Retro-looking hiking boots are all the rage in town these days, and these boots are a great option for those who like the vintage aesthetic and want their footwear to work for easy walks and hikes both in rural and more urban settings. The first version of the Jags was brought out in the 1980s as a lighter hiking boot, but this edition uses modern technology to make it even lighter and more streamlined. There’s a comfy EVA midsole; a new outsole and a Danner Dry 100 per cent waterproof membrane. The streamlined looks mean these don’t have the chunkiest grips, but for general use, they’re fine. These do feel stiffer than the others and need a bit of wearing in, but they also feel comfortingly solid. Check out the funky colourways!’
INOV8 ROCLITE 345 GTX £155
inov-8.com ‘Choose these super light, streamlined boots if moving fast and light on rugged terrain is your aim. Weighing a mere 345g, they don’t have the padding (underfoot or on top) of some of the others, which won’t be missed by those for whom speed is of the essence. And, as you hop from boulder to root, you’ll be pleased to know these are the world’s first hiking boots to use graphene (200 times stronger than steel) in the rubber soles, to produce ultra-tough G-GRIP. Multidirectional, claw-shaped lugs add to the grippiness, while flexible soles help you deal with unpredictable terrain. Wow! These also give more ankle support than shoes would, plus the lightweight Adapterweb design supports your foot. These are waterproof, too – bonus.’
HOKA ONE ONE SKY TOA £160
hokaoneone.eu ‘Walking in these great-looking boots feels like treading on marshmallows! These were super comfy from the off and so light – just like a trainer boot. But far from feeling slouchy, these are super light (376g) and built for speed. You feel they’re willing you to bounce and run, and the curved Meta-rocker design of the outsole helps drive your feet forwards. These are subtly robust on the uppers, boast eVent waterproofing, and have Vibram Megagrip multidirectional grips on the bouncy soles, which work well. ‘It’s a personal choice, and these do have a thicker sole than the others, but the light colour of that area means they don’t look clumpy, and I really like the bouncy feel of these boots. The funky design and fun colour combo also help edge these ahead of the opposition for me (they also come in a more subtle navy and light blue option, though). I was glad of the cushioning on longer walks, when your feet can begin to tire and “burn”, and would quite happily wear these in more urban settings too, when dashing about.
VIVOBAREFOOT MAGNA TRAIL £160
vivobarefoot.com/uk ‘Want to walk more mindfully? These are the shoes for you. They made me want to head off the concrete (they have very little cushioning) onto softer ground, where I loved feeling the terrain under my feet. But, far from being simple constructions, these minimalist-feeling shoes boast: a water- repellent, no-sew, single-piece, slash-proof upper; a neoprene ankle-sock design, to help keep out debris; a (removeable) thermal insole; and very puncture resistant and super-flexible, sticky-rubber outsoles. These shoes also use recycled PET and are vegan-friendly.
Amazing! It may feel odd being so close to the ground at first, and they’re wider at the front than many shoes, but they’re pretty impressive.’