The ultimate guide to choosing the perfect walking boot

A comfortable and durable walking boot can make or break your outdoor experience – choosing a great walking boot is key to a successful walking, shooting, gamekeeping or beating session. The ideal walking boot should not only provide full protection but also offer comfort and support to keep you going throughout the day.

At John Norris, we only stock the best quality walking boots, made for various terrains and weather conditions, ensuring that your boots are long-lasting and ideal for all activities.

To keep it short - if you’re an avid shooter, gamekeeper or outdoor enthusiast, we recommend the Harkila Driven Hunt 2.0 GTX walking boots, as they are the ultimate choice, however, our guide will break down the qualities of a fantastic walking boot and what to look out for when picking a boot…

Qualities of a good walking boot

  1. Durability & sturdiness - For rugged outdoor pursuits, your walking boot needs to be built to last. Look for boots made of high-quality materials, such as full-grain leather or robust synthetic fabrics, with reinforced toe caps and rubber rands for added protection against rocks and debris. A more durable boot also means that you won’t have to re-purchase boots every season, which can get extremely expensive. We always recommend splashing out on a boot that is more high-end, as that means you won’t need to continuously upgrade.
  2. Waterproof & breathable -  A combination of waterproofing and breathability is essential. Your boot should keep your feet dry in wet conditions, while breathable membranes like Gore-Tex® will allow moisture and sweat to escape, keeping your feet comfortable and preventing blisters. This is especially important when gamekeeping or beating in wet terrains, as getting your feet wet in such conditions for hours on end could result in health problems or injuries.
  3. Ankle support - Fell walking and traversing uneven terrains require excellent ankle support. Look for boots with a higher cut or integrated ankle support systems to reduce the risk of twists and sprains, something you definitely want to stay away from while shooting or gamekeeping.
  4. Traction & grip -  Consider boots with deep and aggressive tread patterns for superior grip on various surfaces, whether it's wet grass, muddy trails, or rocky hillsides. A sturdy outsole, such as Vibram, will enhance stability and prevent slips. Even on gentle walks through muddy hills, it’s important to have a steady grip on the ground at all times, which is exactly why we recommend sourcing a boot with solid traction.
  5. Insulation - For colder weather, opt for insulated boots that keep your feet warm. Thinsulate or other insulating materials provide reliable warmth without compromising the boot's weight and flexibility. Good insulation is especially important during the winter months as it can get extremely cold on exposed fields, grassland and hills.
  6. Comfortability - Ensure the boot fits snugly but comfortably, with enough room for your toes to wiggle. Ill-fitting boots can lead to discomfort and hot spots, impacting your overall enjoyment and performance, and they can even increase the risk of slipping or falling, which may cause injury.
  7. Quick drying - While waterproofing is essential, it's also beneficial if the boot dries quickly. In case your boots get wet during the day, a quick drying time ensures you stay comfortable for the duration of your activity, and also prevents any soggy-ness once you’re home. After all, you don’t want to risk your boots staying wet and forming mould or odours due to not drying.
  8. Weight - Consider the weight of the boots, especially if you'll be walking long distances. Lighter boots can reduce fatigue and strain on your feet, enhancing your endurance and the ability to walk consistently. This is important if you’re on walking or shooting trips that may require a number of days of walking, as you don’t want to be worn out or in pain after just one walking session.

Recommended walking boots

Now that we’ve established what makes a good walking boot – what actually is one of the best walking boots on the market?

At John Norris, we recommend the Harkila Driven Hunt 2.0 GTX walking boots which are the ultimate choice for keeping your feet warm, dry, and comfortable during those long walks in the hills. With their 100% waterproof Gore-Tex© Performance Comfort Membrane and full-grain leather upper, these boots are built to withstand any terrain and weather conditions. No more worrying about wet grass or muddy areas - your feet will stay dry and cozy all day long.

Comfort and support are key when you're out in the field, and these boots deliver just that. The ankle support and additional padding offer the perfect fit and extra comfort, allowing you to focus on your activities without any discomfort or blisters.

harkila boots

These boots have been recommended by ranks of satisfied walkers, guns, beaters, and gamekeepers who have chosen and kept these exceptional boots as a key piece of equipment to enhance comfort and performance – it’s crucial to not settle for anything less than the best value on the market.

You can find the Harkila Walking Boots by clicking here, or visit us in our John Norris store in Penrith to try them on and find the perfect fit. We hope you have a fantastic walking session!