Whether you’re taking your dog for a stroll or solo-hiking the Pennine Way, the right walking boots can make all the difference, but sifting through an Internet’s worth of choices can be like drinking from a fire hose. How can you find the best walking boots under 100 UK pounds?
What Should You Look For?
The choices can be dizzying. Should you buy boots or trainers? How about suede or leather? Is waterproofing necessary? Do you have to max out my credit card to get a decent pair? You might begin by casually Googling “best walking boots below 100” and find yourself in lost in a subreddit controversy on boots vs. trainers an hour later. To make your life easier, here are some must-have qualities a good walking boot should have.
I Would Walk 500 Miles: Durability
Rule number one is that boots have to last. The best walking boots under 100 will be durable enough to withstand wear whether you’re taking a leisurely postprandial stroll along the Thames or bouldering over the rugged Welsh countryside wondering where all the skin on your knees went. Eyelets, hooks, and laces need to maintain integrity, but the biggest issue most hikers face is uppers becoming detached from soles.
Walking in the Rain: Waterproofing
If you’re marching across the Atacama Desert, Qatar, or Las Vegas, waterproofing isn’t a concern. If you hike anywhere else, it is. Good waterproofing strikes a tricky balance between dryness and breathability. A thoroughly waterproof shoe would be miserably hot, but more problematically, water (i.e., foot sweat) would be trapped inside. Water, heat, and friction are the three big ingredients of a hiker’s bane: the blister. The best walking boots under 100 will have waterproofing that keeps moisture out while allowing sweat to escape.
These Boots Are Made for Walking: Uppers
Despite advances in synthetic fabrics, the classic walking boot still features an all-leather upper. It’s hard to beat the durability and impermeability of leather, but at the same time, leather is less breathable and much harder to break in. (Note: It’s not a wise idea to strike out for Offa’s Dyke or the Ridgeway thinking you’ll soften up your new leather boots along the way. If you’re a recent hiker, try to avoid preventable mistakes.) Many sites you can find under “best walking boots under 100 reviews” suggest that split suede or synthetic leather tends to be softer out of the box.
I’m a Sole Man: The Bottom Line
In wet countryside with lots of mud (Looking right at you, Britain), you need a sole with widely-spaced lugs to dig into the earth but not hold on to mud. A search for “best walking boots under 100 reviews” will often mention Vibram as a good sole manufacturer because the flexible rubber allows mud buildup between lugs to crack and fall off easily.
The “grippiness” of the rubber is an important factor especially when a hike involves scrambling over wet rocks.
The Way I Feel Inside: Interiors and Midsole
Shifting to the inside, many of the best walking boots under 100 UK come with a high-quality shoe insert you probably want to keep. Alternatively, you can replace the insert with one of your own appropriate for the weight you’ll be carrying, the terrain, and the degree of support you’ll need. Moving down the shoe, the midsole is the part of a shoe between the sole and the insole, and a midsole made of foamy EVA padding effectively cushions feet from repetitive steps, although over time, the EVA will lose some of its comfy puffiness.
What About the Fit?
Above all, once you have a great walking shoe for your needs, it’s important to ensure they fit well. Even the best-made shoe will chafe, pinch, or blister if the fit is wrong, and walking boots need extra attention with lacing. Also consider whether you’ll be wearing thick socks for colder weather and take that into account when selecting insoles. Especially considering that feet swell after sustained exercise, you may want to order a slightly larger size than normal if you intend to do long-distance hiking. For U.K.-specific hiking advice, it might be helpful to search “best walking boots under 100 uk review” or similar phrase to find some of the most convenient local places to buy boots, socks, or other gear.
The following is a helpful video for tips and advice about getting the best fit in a walking boot, using a proper lacing technique, and adding insoles for comfort.
Rise to the Top
Luckily, when you’re looking for a good walking boot, you don’t have to mortgage your home to do it. The best shoes under 100 have reliable durability, consistent waterproofing, and a comfortable insole and midsole for long-distance treks. Here are some solid choices:
Best Walking Boots under 100 – Look at our reviews
Berghaus Men’s Expeditor AQ Trek Boot – Review
There’s a reason this boot made it to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Recommended Kit List. Made of split suede and DWR coated air mesh with a waterproof lining, this walking boot includes an Opti-Stud Hike Outsole with solid lugs for good ground grip over rough terrain and a comfortable EVA midsole.
They have a comfortable, trainer-like feel right out of the box.
The boots demonstrate solid durability over periods of hard use and varied terrain. The weight is surprisingly light for the solidity of the boot.
Boots tend to be narrow through the toe box.
Soles can be somewhat inflexible.
Karrimor Orkney III Weathertite Men’s Trekking and Hiking Shoes – Review
This classic lace-up hiking shoe made of full-grain leather features a Vibram Phoenix outsole and a waterproof (but breathable) lining called Weathertite. Different styles of midsoles offer varying levels of support depending on terrain or individual needs. The classic black leather design will definitely appeal to hiking purists.
Boots tend to be narrow through the toe box.
Soles can be somewhat inflexible.
Over time, the sole and upper may become separated.
They may not be durable enough for long-distance hiking.
Waterproofing may not last under heavy use.
Merrell Men’s Moab Mid Gore-Tex High Rise Hiking Boots – Review
These hiking boots are made of leather and mesh with a Vibram sole and waterproof Gore-Tex lining. An air cushion in the heel and compression-molded EVA foot frame provide extra cushioning. At first glance, they look like a comfortable hybrid mix of classic walking boot and sporty trainer, and may be a great choice for fell runners who want to do long-distance hiking.
The generous toe box in most Merrell shoes makes this a good choice for walkers with slightly wider feet.
The sole uses two different types of rubber for flexibility over varied terrain.
The Gore-Tex membrane was highly effective at repelling water.
There were occasional problems with the upper detaching from the sole after a hard hike.
Check the fit carefully before ordering because the Moab does not fit the same as other Merrell shoes.
The design makes these shoes somewhat difficult to clean.
Hi-Tec Altitude Waterproof Men’s Hiking Boots
This full-grain leather upper is complemented by a waterproof bootie and an i-shield water-repellent layer. With an Ortho-Lite foam-cushioned layer and a compression-molded EVA midsole, HI-Tec takes comfort seriously. This is a choice to consider for any walkers or hikers who know they’re going to be walking through puddles and over wet country and need to keep dry without having to bring five extra pairs of socks.
The Hi-Tec boots have a very comfortable fit right out of the box.
Even after sustained use, the waterproofing remains effective.
They’re great for walking or light hiking, but on more rugged trips, the lugs may become loose or detach.
Highlander II Waterproof Hiking Boot Vibram Sole
This full-grain leather hiking boot comes with a waterproof and breathable membrane and a Vibram rubber bottom. Despite using cutting-edge advances in waterproofing, the Highlander II has that timeless look of a classic walking boot with metal hooks, a rugged design, and a solid, deep-tracked sole.
These are very rugged-looking and long-lasting.
A recent redesign has vastly improved the ankle cushioning.
The Highlanders aren’t really meant to take crampons, so this is not the best choice for mountaineering.
The Winner Is…
The Berghaus Men’s Expeditor AQ Trek Boot is proof that the best walking boots under 100 pounds do not have to mean sacrificing quality for price. Out-of-the-box comfort, solid manufacture, and durability make it a winner even for dedicated hikers.