10 best kids' hiking boots
Off on a family hike? These shoes will let the kids ramble without the scramble
Trainers might be the usual go-to footwear for kids, but when you’re taking them beyond the park gates and going off road – you’re going to need something more robust.
However, unlike adult hiking boots that need to be broken in, when it comes to growing feet they need to feel comfortable and supportive right out of the box.
Young ankles and arches need to be protected with a well cushioned upper and there should be good shock absorption throughout the shoe, so uneven terrain doesn’t take its toll.
No matter what kind of trail they’re tackling kids will surely want to race off ahead – so having a tread pattern that will provide the necessary traction needed to stop slipping and sliding at speed is essential.
You should also consider how easy and efficient the lace system is, so you won’t have to spend most of your day bending down to tie their rogue shoelaces.
Jack Wolfskin Grivla Texapore Mid G: £60, jack-wolfskin.co.uk
No matter what’s underfoot this shoe offers great traction and performs just as well when travelling over the dry and rocky ground as it does when conditions get slicker.
The flexibility of the sole is excellent, which adds to the all-round comfort.
And the shoe incorporates one of the most efficient toggle lace systems tested, which just requires the mini rambler to slip their foot in and pull the cord for a perfect fit.
It also means that the laces are easy to fine tune when they’re on the move.
The colour patterns around the synthetic upper make it one of the best looking boots on the list, and it’s available in two colour schemes.
Regatta Samaris: £60, regatta.com
These lightweight shoes won’t tire out younger limbs on tougher hikes and there was good shock absorption on a variety of paths.
The carbon (rather than rubber) sole offers more stiffness so the shoes are ideally suited to long walks over the rockier ground and the boot is made with a hard wearing upper with good water resistance.
Extra padding around the collar, tongue, and the upper side of the boot makes this a really comfortable option for younger walkers too and kids will love the three different colour schemes to choose from too.
Merrell Moab FST A/C Arctic Grip: £70, merrell.com
A superb all-round shoe that’s well waterproofed and really comes into its own when the temperatures tumble, thanks to a grippy sole and a tread pattern that bites down on all kinds of terrain.
There is also a lot of contact with the ground so every step feels stable as well as a high toe bumper, which makes the shoe seriously scuff proof.
The synthetic and mesh upper lets feet breathe, while there is enough cushioning to keep kids comfortable even after they’ve spent hours on their feet.
The laces are tightened and tied easily and there is an Velcro strap so kids can get them on and off quickly.
Salomon X Ultra Mid GTX Junior: £90, salomon.com
A great-looking shoe, available in blue and pink, which has some real substance as it offers good grip on all kinds of terrain, from loose rock trails to wet grassy slopes.
The Contagrip sole is the same as those used for Salomon’s adult boots and ensures stability and control on boulders or gravelly dirt.
The boots are more than just puddle proof too so whether it’s continued walking through long wet grass or crossing a stream, feet will stay dry with the upper drying out fast.
And the Quick Fit lacing system will ensure a tight fit without any fuss.
Mountain Warehouse Steve Backshall Stride Boots: £69.99, mountainwarehouse.com
A lot of kids may want to follow in the footsteps of adventurer Steve Backshall and now they’ll get their chance. These boots have an upper made of suede and mesh which keeps them light and breathable.
The waterproof membrane works really well and the chunk tread pattern makes the boot ideal for muddier trails and slippy slopes.
North Face Junior Hedgehog Hiker: £50, northface.co.uk
A good option for the more sure-footed mini mountaineer that almost acts like an armoured trainer with its excellent waterproofing.
The gusseted tongue that will keep any small rocks from getting inside the boot and bringing the hike to a halt.
And, with just a quick pull on the bungee lace system, the boot can be tightened or loosened with ease.
Regatta Holcombe IEP: £70, regatta.com
You won’t have to worry about rolled ankles with this well constructed boot that offers good protection from heel to toe and good padding all-round.
On wetter walks, the upper works superbly at stopping socks getting soggy and also at keeping the boots from getting clogged up with mud.
No matter how adventurous your outing this is a good, hard-wearing option for all ages.
Scarpa Little Terra: £80, scarpa.co.uk
No matter how muddy and wet the walking gets nothing will stick to this all leather boot, which is still surprisingly light so mini walkers won’t get weighed down as they go.
There’s good padding around the tongue and where the boot flexes so the boot can be worn without worrying about any rubbing on pressure points.
And its well constructed sole keeps the walker secure and stable.
One of the hardest wearing and durable hikers tested, these will keep going no matter how much punishment they receive so would work well as a hand me down shoe for siblings.
Reima Nefar, €44.95, reima.com
If it’s total waterproofing you’re after then look no further than these walking welly hybrids that have a rugged hard-wearing shoe portion that supports the entire foot, and a deep tread pattern that will keep feet stable at every step.
Easy to slip on and off, the galosh upper is made from waterproof thermoplastic rubber for extra comfort, and the top can be gathered in with a drawstring to stop the outside getting in.
The boot uppers also come in a variety of cool colour patterns that will really appeal to kids.
Trespass Glebe II: £35.99, trespass.com
Even though it provides solid ankle support, this shoe doesn’t feel stiff. A flexible midsole works well with the foot while walking and is great for rock hopping.
Heavy-duty toe and heel bumpers protect feet well and a grippy sole and comfy padded ankle makes them all set for outdoor adventures.
Our verdict: 10 best kids’ hiking boots
The Jack Wolfskin Grivla Texapore offers a perfect combination of all-round protection, good flexibility and comfortable cushioning and was one of the lightest boots on the test.
If soggy feet are often the problem, then the Reima Nefar will keep little feet dry and warm in wet, wintry conditions.
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