Best men’s walking shoes 2019: stay sure-footed in any weather and on all trails

If you want extra support but aren't looking for fully fledged walking boots, these top men's walking shoes will deliver

Best men's walking shoes: a man walks through the woods

How do the best men's walking shoes differ from walking boots? Well, for a start they offer high levels of support, not far off what you'd get from boots, but are more lightweight and flexible. That, and they can be much cheaper than proper hiking boots.  

Compared to average fashion trainers, walking shoes dish out enhanced grip and  better mud-repelling abilities, both of which are essential when off-roading, hiking or rambling. They deliver this via robust soles and dedicated arch support, with adjustable lacing systems joining the fray so that you can achieve the perfect fit. 

Many of our featured men's walking shoe incorporate a waterproof membrane too. Sounds obvious, but such waterproofing is important to keep the wet out, making this type of durable footwear ideal for autumn and winter too. It also means they'll survive walks across wet sand.

Plus, they have stiffer soles and enough cushioning to keep you in comfort for days. Not only does this prevent foot fatigue, it reduces impact from the ground. Again, this helps your feet feel comfortable for longer on those short or epic walks.

Choosing the best men's walking shoes for you

Although spec is important, sizing is far more essential when buying the best men's walking shoes for you. So it's a good idea to try on a few pairs to get a good idea of any potential issues. Also, keep in mind that if you are planning high-energy walking pursuits, you might want to size up as you would for running shoes, because your feet swell over longer stretches.  

While you’d be best off with the extra support of boots for the really rough stuff, proper walking shoes are ideal for lighter hikes, short approaches and summer rambles, as well as faster and lighter mountain expeditions. 

Some have made their lightness and flexibility around the ankle more of a benefit by incorporating sticky rubber and protective high rands to deliver a hybrid approach/scrambling shoe that can cope with pretty much anything in the hills. 

The key is to pick a comfortable fit and the correct sizing, as well as considering the terrain you'll be covering. Some of our best men's walking shoes choices offer a ‘mid’ option, providing some support akin to a boot but with more ankle movement. 

More aggressive tread patterns are ideal for muddy conditions, but handle rocky smearing poorly, while stickier rubber will wear out faster and can be slippy in muddy conditions.

Ready to find the best men's walking shoes for you? Then read on for our top picks...

Why do you need specific shoes for walking?

The reasons for getting a good pair of shoes for walking are many and varied. From being able to stuff your muddy shoes in the boot and drive off in a fresh pair, through to getting the ultimate fast and light performance in the hills and trails, there are plenty of plusses to a well chosen pair. 

When buying the best men's walking shoes for you, the consistent things you should be looking for is a reinforced sole (usually TPU) to fend off stones underfoot, a robust rand to protect the sides, and an aggressive, grippy sole. 

There's a whole sub-category of walking shoes dubbed ‘approach shoes’, which build in more scrambling and rock climbing orientated traits, like sticky rubber and extended lacing to grip the entire foot tightly.

Many walking shoes will have a waterproof membrane built in, which can be useful in wet grass, for example, but can also limit breathability if you’re really gunning it, so worth considering how you’ll mainly be using your shoes. 

Unlike boots, rain resistance in walking shoes is a bit of a red herring, as without the closed calf of the boot your feet will be soaked in heavy rain, waterproofing or not. 

Indeed, walking shoes are for casual rambles and path-based wanders, rather than full-day hikes in off-road conditions. If you’re planning long mountain days out, the better support and overall robustness of a hiking boot is more suitable. 

The best men's walking shoes to buy now

Best men's walking shoes: Arc’teryx Aerios FL GTX

1. Arc’teryx Aerios FL GTX

The best men’s walking shoes for feeling like you’re walking on air

Specifications
Best for: hiking, trekking and recreational walking
Material: Cordura mesh
Waterproof: Gore-Tex membrane
Reasons to buy
+Waterproof+Superb stability+Fast and light

The T3 Awards 2019 winning Arcteryx Aerios FL GTX sports a seamless, smooth flow of upper that could grace anything from a mountain pass to a conference room, making them the best men’s walking shoes for a huge range of environments.

That cordura outer is not only rugged, it’s breathable too, enabling your toes to breathe. That should keep sweaty feet and odour to a minimum, which is especially important during the warmer months. An internal Gore-Tex membrane keeps water out if you’re exploring in wet weather.

The Aerios FL GTX Shoe has some key features inspired by high-end trail running shoes, including a protective compressed EVA midsole and integrated TPU shank. Not only do these shoes give you enhanced grip (via a Vibram Megagrip outsole) on uneven surfaces, they reduce shock impact and foot fatigue, so you can walk for longer in sheer comfort.

Check out more of this year's award winners on our main T3 Awards 2019 page.

Best men's walking shoes: Keen Venture in electric blue

2. Keen Venture

The best men’s walking shoes for exploring on and off-road

Specifications
Best for: Fuss-free walking and trekking
Material: Lightweight performance mesh upper
Waterproof: KEEN.Dry waterproof
Reasons to buy
+Versatile performer+Easy to wear+Odour control+Waterproof

The Keen Venture is equally at home whether you are tackling rough trails and steep slopes or strolling down the road with the dog. It's an excellent multipurpose walking shoe, which benefits from a stability shank, 4mm lugs on the sole and a combination of waterproof membrane and breathable mesh, which keep your feet dry.

TPU overlays provide protection from abrasion, while an injection molded EVA midsole supports without adding too much weight.

The result? A strong best men’s walking shoe contender that’s seriously worth your attention. There are some nice additional touches too, like Cleansport NXT technology for natural odour control – a must for hot feet on summer walks.

We’re also digging the KonnectFit interlocking heel-capture system, preventing friction and heel-lift when the going gets tough. The streamlined design is easy to wear, and the orange and electric blue colourways make a nice change in the usual sea of black and grey walking shoes.

Best men's walking shoes: Mammut Mercury III Low GTX

3. Mammut Mercury III Low GTX

A great walking shoe for daily comfort, whatever the terrain

Specifications
Best for: Walking, hiking and trekking
Material: Terracare leather
Waterproof: Gore-Tex membrane
Reasons to buy
+Memory Foam for supreme comfort+Breathable and waterproof+Excellent grip on most terrain

If it’s walking comfort and style you’re after, Mammut’s Mercury III Low GTX has plenty to offer. On the trail, 3D Memo Foam ensures a plush fit that feels like new each time you lace up. Meanwhile Mammut’s clever Rolling Concept sole design provides bags of support that promotes the natural movement of your foot, reduces fatigue and helps prevent ankle twists on rougher terrain (or the walk home from the pub).

Inside the shoe you’ll find a breathable Gore-Tex lining to keep your feet dry on damp days and reinforced Liquid Rubber Protection zones help prevent unwanted abrasion against your feet - the main culprit for hike-scuppering blisters.

Polyamide (PA) webbing lacing ensures your feet remain secure inside the shoe, while you can rest assured that the laces won’t break when the going gets tough.

When it comes to your contact with the trail, underneath the Mercury III Low GTX is a rugged sole featuring non-slip Vibram Frog Technology which comprises hexagon studs designed to provide excellent grip in all conditions, from the high street to the mountains.

Best men's walking shoes: Helly Hansen Vanir Canter HT in Blue

4. Helly Hansen Vanir Canter HT

Trek like a Viking god with these light and flexible men's walking shoes

Specifications
Best for: Lightweight, airy feel
Material: Engineered knit upper
Waterproof: HellyTech Performance Waterproof membrane
Reasons to buy
+Enormous grip+Lightweight and flexible+Waterproof+Town-to-pub ready

The Norse-god inspired Vanir Canter HT hi-tops are a world away from your traditional walking shoes, not only packing a sleek upper, but also high-tech protection and sticky rubber for off-road walking.

Massive tread on the outsole keeps your feet firmly planted, while a three-density midsole is there to lavish your feet with comfort, cushioning and spring in the toe. 

Helly Hansen has plastered these men’s walking shoes with a waterproof membrane, so you’ll be ok in summer showers. With a design that looks like a cross between a kayaking shoe and a space-welly, you’ll be golden wearing these on the beach too.

Worried about your toes getting bashed by rocks and debris? Fear not, as that ruggedised upper, although an engineered knit, also sports built-in HellyWear Protection built in to protect your toes.

Best men's walking shoes: Hoka One One Sky Arkali

5. Hoka One One Sky Arkali

Enjoy max protection with these Kevlar-infused men’s walking shoes

Specifications
Best for: Protection and durability
Material: MATRYX upper, lightweight weave with Kevlar
Waterproof: None
Reasons to buy
+Protective Kevlar upper+Rugged to the max

The Arkali draws on Hoka One One’s trail racing pedigree, resulting in a lightweight but extremely robust men’s walking shoe. An EVA top midsole in a running shoe style, allied with a PROFLY midsole, both contribute plenty to cushioning needs, without adding much in terms of weight. 

That said, there’s are without questions the chunkiest offering in our best men’s walking shoes buyer’s guide. Just letting you know so that you’re not blindsided by the size when you break these out of the box!

There’s also plenty of mountain heritage on show here, from a high-abrasion toe cap to massive 5mm (!) multi-directional Vibram Megagrip rubber lugs on the sole.

The MATRYX upper is where the real tech is baked in, being a fairly familiar lightweight weave, but with Kevlar strands threaded in for a particularly hard-wearing fabric that’s also mercifully breathable. 

Another unusual feature is a pair of ankle and heel straps, there to deliver improved stability on uneven terrain. Ultimately, if you want maximum protection for your feet when walking, and you don't want proper hiking boots, you’ll be safe in these.

The best men's walking shoes: Salomon Evasion GTX

6. Salomon Evasion GTX

Walk, stomp and run all over rocks and debris

Specifications
Best for: Comfort
Material: Suede Leather
Waterproof: Gore-Tex
Reasons to buy
+Breathable+Waterproof

If you regularly go on hikes, the Salomon Evasion GTX is one of the best men’s walking shoes for handling uneven terrain. The shoes feature waterproof Gore-Tex tech, foam heels and a gusseted tongue, making them ideal for traipsing over rocks.

They are resistant to debris, so they won’t get ruined after one walk, and they'll keep your feet warm and dry in wetter, harsher conditions. 

Like our current top pick from Columbia, these shoes deliver hiking boot-level support and are comfortable enough to wear daily without any rubbing.

The best men's walking shoes: AKU Tenga Low GTX

7. AKU Tengu Low GTX

A great technical walking shoe for all types of weather

Specifications
Best for: Technical performance
Material: Full Grain Leather
Waterproof: Gore-Tex
Reasons to buy
+Brilliant quality+Reliable choice for all situations

AKU's Tengu Low takes the firm's popular Tengu GTX boot and shrinks it into a shoe format, meaning you get much of the benefit of the Tengu GTX's award-winning design in a more compact package.

Of particular note is the enormous protective rand, as well as a super-stiff 4-2mm nylon and die cut EVA last. The upper is a mix of suede and ‘air 8000’, for ace breathability, while a Gore-Tex elastic sock takes care of water ingress and egress.

Best mens walking shoes: Five Ten 5.10 Guide Tennie

8. Five Ten Guide Tennie Men's Walking Shoes

The best men's walking shoes for handling rocky ground

Specifications
Best for: Stealth
Material: Reinforced nubuck leather
Waterproof: None
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable+Relatively stylish

The Five Ten Guide Tennie is a stone-cold classic in approach shoes. While a comfy and durable walking shoe to the untrained eye, the addition of an incredibly sticky Stealth rubber sole makes this a proper climbing shoe in disguise. 

For summer scrambling, it’s perhaps the best men's walking shoe on the market and has stood the test of time, with minimal changes, since 1995. 

We love the ankle to toe lacing, for achieving a custom fit and adjustment, and the internal rocker for increased walking action efficiency. 

The best men's walking shoes: Jack Wolfskin Vojo

9. Jack Wolfskin Vojo Hike Texapore Shoes

A warm yet breathable shoe for recreational walks and day hikes

Specifications
Best for: Versatility
Material: Suede Leather
Waterproof: Texapore
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Good grip

These men’s walking shoes are ideal for those who do a lot of casual walking with the occasional serious trail thrown in. The Vojo Hike feature Texapore lining and are wonderfully lightweight and breathable. 

The suede outer helps these shoes to look more casual than perhaps a more classic walking and hiking shoe, and the grey colourway is easy to team up with with most walking apparel, although the grey is a lot darker in the flesh. 

More importantly, the soles of these walking shoes boasts superior grip, so if you often find yourself trekking up slippery hills, these are a winner.

The best men's walking shoes: Adidas Terrex Voyager

10. Adidas Terrex Voyager

The best men’s walking shoes for wet weather conditions

Specifications
Best for: Wet weather
Material: Synthetic
Waterproof: Climaproof
Reasons to buy
+Stealthy design+Impressive grip

Adidas' shoe-based answer to an amphibious landing craft, the Voyager is designed for extremely wet conditions, such as gorge walking or coasteering. The big sell is a quick-drying Climacool upper and a built-in drainage system through the sidewalls to shift serious levels of water. 

There are other reasons to put these on your shopping list... Including the Stealth rubber outsole, widely used in performance climbing shoes for its stickiness.

That paired with a massive tread should give you solid grip on pretty much everything you'll come across outdoors. A baked-in Polygiene treatment on the liners should keep end-of-day pong to a minimum, too.

Best mens walking shoes: Columbia

11. Columbia Fairbanks Omin-Heat

Stop winter in its tracks with these super-warm workhorses

Specifications
Best for: Winter warmth
Material: Cordura/EVA
Waterproof: Omni-Tech seam-sealed membrane
Reasons to buy
+Super-warm+Solid build

Perhaps the ideal winter hybrid walking shoe/boot, the stylish Columbia Fairbanks is at home in both town and country. An ingenious blend of walking shoe and snow boot, it has a waterproof membrane inside to keep the damp firmly at bay.

The combination of Omni-Heat reflective lining and 200g insulation will keep your toes toasty in the coldest conditions. In fact, they’re rated to a truly Baltic -25F / -32C. 

Non-marking Michelin outsoles do a good job of making traction happen on all types of surface, and a Techlite lightweight midsole provides energy return as well as cushioning for long rambles. A welcome winter warmer that’ll serve you well right through until spring.

The best men's walking shoes: Danner Men’s South Rim 600

12. Danner Men’s South Rim 600

The best men's walking shoes for city to country style

Specifications
Best for: Style
Material: Suede and nylon
Waterproof: None
Reasons to buy
+Cool and lightweight+Stylish retro looks

Lightweight, breathable and comfortable, the South Rim 600 is a real go-anywhere walking shoe, designed for city style and trail-happy performance. 

Built on the super-cushioned Vibram SPE platform from the popular Mountain 600 hiking boot, the South Rim adds Air Mesh for ventilation in hotter climes, but will let in rain in more temperate ones.

Self-adapting lugs and a Megagrip compound ensure superb grip on wet and dry surfaces, making these walking shoes perfect for rainy days and crisp autumn walks.

The final word:

The best men's walking shoes boost your comfort outdoors, and, depending on their design, keep your feet dry during rainy spells. In order to find the ideal pair for you, keep in mind what kind of walking you'll be doing the most. 

The reason we say that is because if you're just looking for walking shoes to wear on the school run or while walking the dog, you won't need all the tech found in something like the Hoka One One Sky Arkali. In that case, you'd be better off with the all-rounder Keen Venture.

If you want style and a lightweight, breezy feel, you'll be better off with the Helly Hansen Vanir Canter GT. Going off-road? Try the Hoka's or stick with the Keen Venture.

About the author...

Mark Mayne is an outdoors journalist who specialises in camping, hiking, and diving.