If you're looking for a hiking boot that also delivers in the style stakes, your options are somewhat limited. Vans UltraRange EXO hopes to change all that. Taking on the likes of Adidas Terrex in the 'boots you can wear in the countryside without looking like a tit in town' category, these mix many of the features you'll find in today's best hiking boots with a skater style edge. They've also been announced via a Narnia-style shoot that we're absolutely obsessed with. There simply aren't enough wolves or owls in your average press material, in our opinion.
Back to the boots. The third iteration of the UltraRange – er – range, as indicated by that MTE-3 suffix, these promise to be your best friend when winter really sets in. There's reliable waterproofing courtesy of Gore-Tex, the technology powering many of today's best waterproof jackets, to keep your feet dry whether you're navigating muddy, waterlogged trails or simply tackling a downpour on the way to work.
Working alongside the waterproofing is a 3M Thinsulate layer. This lightweight, breathable insulation has a high warmth-to-thickness ratio, meaning it'll keep your toes toasty in all weather conditions, without adding bulk.
- For more options, browse the best women's hiking boots
- ... the best walking shoes for men
- ... or the best women's walking shoes
Finally, Vans has (rightly) ascertained that its regular waffle outsole isn't going to cut it on slippery countryside tracks. The Vans UltraRange MTE-3 boots sport an All-Trac outsole with lugs for grip. This rubber compound was developed by Vans specifically for its MTE footwear, with the aim of keeping its wearers stable and upright on any terrain and in any season.
We haven't had a chance to test these out, but the advantage you've got over something like the Adidas Terrex range is that high cut for proper ankle support. So while the Terrex range is more for light-to-medium trails, these could potentially work for something more hardcore – although if you want a dedicated boot for a multi-day trek, we'd still be inclined to a specialised outdoor brand such as Jack Wolfskin, Hanwag, Arc'teryx and the like. If the slightly skater-ish styling appeals, and you're after a versatile city-to-countryside hiker that'll provide a whole lot more winter-friendly protection than your standard Vans, these look like a great option.
The UltraRange EXO Hi Gore-Tex MTE-3 are available to buy now, in four colourways. Head to Vans for more info.