Anyone who’s had the misfortune of doing their D of E Bronze Award can tell you all about the virtues of walking boots, and for optimum support, warmth and ruggedness on harsh terrain, they’re still the best bet. But there is a more low-key option that doesn’t involve simply grabbing your most faithful pair of trainers and hoping for the best – in that spirit of finding the perfect middle ground, we’ve rounded up the best men’s walking shoes to see you through the year, whether you’re trotting down your local trail or hitting the Dolomites for a proper walking holiday.
- Got a special lady joining you on your next walk? Here’s our pick of the best women’s walking shoes from Skechers, Nike and more
- Same question, but for adventurous little people: check out our best kids’ hiking boots for everyone from tiny tots to DofE-ready teens
While boots might be top dog for terrible weather and tricky surfaces, you might be surprised at the capabilities of some of our top walking shoes. If you find yourself caught in a shower more often than not, a walking shoe with Gore-tex lining stitched in may be a sensible investment, while Vibram soles are our top choice for obstacle course-like walking routes and ones with uneven, rocky surfaces. Other than that, it’s largely down to the fit, so keep reading below for our shortlist and pick your favourites to try on.
If you're in too much of a hurry to invest time reading our entire guide, our top pick -the Salomon Evasion GTX walking shoe is a sure 'all-round' bet when it comes to a top performing, reliable men's walking shoe.
1. Salomon Evasion GTX
Outwit uneven terrain, and even the odd rain storm, with our all-round best shoes
Best for: Comfort | Material: Suede | Waterproof: Gore-Tex
Potentially the closest thing to a walking boot on our list, the Salomon Evasion GTX is our best all-rounder for walkers. The cushioning foam heel and gusseted tongue keep rubbing at bay where it’s most common on long walks, while the Gore-tex lining adds a layer of waterproofing that’s robust enough to stand up to rainy conditions. The hard-wearing yet flexible sole left reviewers very impressed, and the fact that they could be worn straight away without breaking in was a big bonus for many.
2. KEEN Men’s Rialto Traveler
If you’re heading off on a marathon hike, ensure these shoes make it to your packing list
Best for: Long walks | Material: Synthetic and mesh | Waterproof: Yes
The ideal travel companion for those headed off on their walking holidays, these Keen walking shoes can take a surprising amount of punishment, and keep feet fresh mile after mile with their inbuilt odour control and breathable mesh for optimum air circulation. This breezy construction also makes them amazingly lightweight, so you won’t get weighed down even on longer-than-average walks, nor will you have to think carefully about finding a shoe that won’t tip you over the baggage limit. Add to that grippy soles and a non-restrictive fit, and you have a great all-rounder.
3. Jack Wolfskin Vojo Hike Texapore Shoes
Keep warm but not sticky, supported but not restricted, with these multi-talented walking shoes
Best for: All-rounder | Material: Suede Leather | Waterproof: Texapore
These lightweight walking shoes are a great bet for walking in warm weather thanks to their immensely breathable construction, flexibility and lack of heft, however the Texapore lining, which adds waterproofing for the odd unexpected shower, means they’re far from one-trick ponies. In fact, with their combination of casual looks, courtesy of an attractive suede outer, and great grip, they’re among our most versatile walking shoes.
4. Adidas Terrex Swift R GTX
Stay stylish out on the trail with these trainer-inspired walking shoes from Adidas
Best for: Style | Material: Mesh | Waterproof: Gore-Tex
These Adidas walking shoes are certainly among the more fashion-forward out there, making them a great option for those of us who like to add a pub stop (or two, or three) along the route without looking out of place in all our walking finery. Said to be as comfortable as trainers with the support of a walking boot, these are an excellent middle ground for casual and serious walkers alike. With breathable mesh for wicking away sweat in warmer weather, and Gore-tex waterproofing for uncertain conditions, they’re simply superb all round.
5. Mountain Warehouse Path Walking Shoes
With low-key looks and trainer-inspired comfort, these walking shoes are our best for everyday
Best for: Budgets | Material: Textile | Waterproof: Water resistant only
Not unlike our previous pick, these Mountain Warehouse walking shoes combine the casual style of a trainer with the functionality of a fully-fledged walking shoe. They’re not completely waterproof, so you might want to reserve them for sunnier weather, or at the very least avoid the temptation of jumping in any puddles along your route, but they’re robust enough to survive being splashed by the dog on your next beach walk, and comfy enough to handle most casual walks. Where they really excel, however, is in providing a comfy, supportive shoe for under £50, making them our best budget walking shoes.
Need something more durable? Check out the best men's hiking boots for those longer trails.