Meet Ariat’s Skyline Low walking shoe, a great-looking leather number described by the brand as, "part rugged, part sporty – basically everything you want in a sneaker". It's the perfect choice if you need a walking shoe that's versatile enough for more than just walking, but how does it perform when it really matters? We hit the trail to see how it copes in the wild in all kinds of weather, and whether it can be counted amongst the best walking shoes for men or the best walking shoes for women. Read on for my full Ariat Skyline Low walking shoe review.
Ariat Skyline Low waterproof walking shoe review: design and features
Ariat Skyline Low waterproof walking shoe specs
Waterproofing: Waterproof membrane
Colours available: brown/grey (women), brown (men)
Sizes available: 3-8.5 (women) 7-12 (men)
Most walking shoes we’ve encountered aren’t particularly good-looking – not so Ariat’s smart-as-anything Skyline Low. Soft and supple leather in a rich brown (and also a grey for women) looks great when paired with outdoor trousers, jeans or even a dress for dinner after a day of walking. If you like versatility when it comes to outdoor kit, this is a sensible choice – the Skyline Low is great if you’re packing light for a city break or a summer holiday and need just one shoe you can hike, sightsee and go out in. The leather will also look good with age, provided you take care of it.
A waterproof membrane repels light rainfall, but we don’t reckon the Skyline Low would stand up to torrential downfall or jumping in puddles, so we’d recommend using these shoes for summer adventures when the weather might be changeable but not terrible. Grip is sticky on dry ground, but less reliable on slick wet surfaces – so again, we’d stick to using these shoes in decent weather on country trails and paths, and swap to a Gore-Tex waterproofed design for really wet hikes or for tackling mountain terrain. That said, the thick rubber sole and sturdy toe box of the Skyline Low offer great protection from knocks and scrapes on dry rocky scrambles.
Ariat Skyline Low waterproof walking shoe review: performance and comfort
At 350g per shoe (for women) the Skyline Low is far lighter than its solid leather outer would have you think, and doesn’t feel heavy or bulky once you’ve laced it up. And unlike some leather shoes, the Skyline Lows are comfortable straight out of the box, and don’t need any painful breaking in. The supple leather will eventually mould to your feet with wear for a custom fit, too.
Leather is naturally water-resistant, so it’s a good choice for hiking in the changeable conditions you might encounter in spring and autumn, but it’s less breathable than a fabric shoe would be. A mesh lining built into the Skyline does help wick sweat away, but in the dog days of summer you’ll probably want to swap to a fabric shoe or a shoe-sandal hybrid to keep your feet from overheating.
We found the Skyline Lows fit true to size, but other reviewers report that this model errs on the wide side, and that the heels may slip on more narrow feet, so try them on at home before you venture outdoors if you suspect your feet are on the narrow side. There’s good arch support that feels comfortable all day – ideal if you don’t get on with flat walking sandals and need something supportive.
Ariat Skyline Low waterproof walking shoe review: alternatives to consider
If you prefer a fabric model, head to my Lowa Innox Pro GTX Lo review. I was very impressed with these walking shoes when I tried them – cushioned soles and a light weight mean they're super comfy to wear for long periods. Like the Skyline Low, though, grip is somewhat limited.
If you want something for slightly tricker hikes, Ariat’s popular Skyline Summit Gore-Tex boot (£170) is a souped-up, winterized version of the low Skyline shoe, with added, reliable Gore-Tex waterproofing. You'll find more options in our guide to the best women's hiking boots (or the best men's hiking boots), plus a rundown of the differences between the two styles in our walking boots vs walking shoes explainer.
Ariat Skyline Low waterproof walking shoe review: verdict
Smart, supple leather meets bouncy rubber soles in the pleasingly lightweight Ariat Skyline, surely one of the best-looking walking shoes on the market for men and women. Worth splashing the cash on if you’re set on a supple leather all-rounder of a shoe and don’t plan to tackle trickier trails.