Keep your little one’s feet comfortable in all weather conditions and on all terrains with our round-up of the best kids’ hiking boots.
A step up in support, grip, and durability when compared to even the best trainers for kids, children’s walking boots are similar in design to adult versions. Unlike the best kids’ wellies, expect to see thick, grooved soles and hard-working fabrics in muted, mud-disguising shades. If you’re looking for shoes to kit out your child for the next family adventure holiday, you might also find our round-up of the best kids’ sandals useful as well.
How to choose the best kids’ hiking boots
When browsing for the best kids’ hiking boots for your tot, there are a number of key factors to consider:
Sizing: “Don’t be tempted to size up to get more wear out of kids walking boots,” says Mark Tucker, Senior Equipment Project Manager at Regatta Great Outdoors. “It could result in bad blisters and discomfort for the child. Equally, if too small, shoes can reduce circulation, stopping the child’s feet from forming properly. Families must not compromise on kids’ shoes as a couple of ill-fitting shoes or boots can have real long-term effects.” As sizes vary from brand to brand, we’d recommend trying them on in-store to ensure a spot-on fit. If your child will be wearing thick socks when hiking, it’s a good idea to take those along too.
Style: There are two main styles of kids hiking boots – high tops and low tops. Which one you choose will likely depend on the age of your little one, and the type of terrain you’ll be tackling. “A true walking boot will give a lot more support for the ankle,” advises Mark. “Whereas shoes are more versatile and lighter weight.” In short, boots are best for steep inclines and uneven surfaces, while shoes are good for longer distances on flat terrain.
Fabric: All the best kids’ hiking boots have been made from durable fabrics to help them stand the test of time. If you’ll be walking in wet, snowy, or unpredictable conditions, a pair with waterproof coating and tapered seams will stop water from sneaking through. Breathable fabrics come into their own during long journeys and warmer weather, keeping feet cool and comfortable.
Age: “The age kids begin to wear walking boots is down to each individual child,” explains Mark. “Very small feet shouldn’t be restricted in any way but it depends at what age kids are being taken out to hike. If the child is old enough to go on tough walks then they are likely old enough to wear a more substantial walking shoe or boot rather than a trainer.”
Fastenings: As children tend to be a little older by the time they’re joining you on a family hike, most pairs of walking boots come with laces instead of velcro. So, if your tot hasn’t quite mastered tying their own you might need to help them.
Best kids hiking boots to shop now
1. Trespass Kids Walking Boots Waterproof Mid Cut Gillon II
A colourful option that’ll brighten up even the muddiest of walks, these boots are available in burgundy or blue. A protective toe guard protects feet from hidden roots and rocks.
2. Regatta Kids’ Samaris V Mid Waterproof Walking Boots
Built with long days in mind, the lightweight soles mean these won’t weigh little legs down. The velcro strap can be easily tightened or loosened, and makes taking their boots on and off that bit easier.
3. Next Waterproof Hiker Boots
Thanks to water resistant fabric, this fashion-forward pair is as puddle-proof as the best kids’ wellies. Memory foam insoles make for maximum comfort.
4. Sorel Youth Whitney II Short Lace Boot
The best kids’ hiking boots for ski holidays or blustery winter days in Blighty, they’re packed with 200g of toasty insulation. Traction soles lower the risk of a tumble.
5. Karrimor Junior Mendip Weathertite Hiking Boots
A purse-friendly option for kids due a growth spurt, these bargain boots have been fully weather-proofed for guaranteed dryness.
6. Cotswolds Ducklington Lace-Up Hiking Waterproof Boots
An eye-catching style designed for hill and trail walking. “I’m very happy with the quality and the fit. Would love them in other colours too,” commented one happy reviewer.
7. Mountain Warehouse Atlas Waterproof Kids Boots
Velcro fastenings make these a doddle to get on and off – whether you’re dressing your tot or they’re getting themselves ready.
8. Karrimor Hot Rock Junior Walking Boots
Available in half sizes, these are great for children that are in-between sizes – or to allow for chunky socks. According to reviews, they’re a hit with adults too.
9. Mountain Warehouse Light Up Junior Shoes
One of the best pairs of kids shoes that light up we’ve come across, these earn extra points for practicality. “They are good size fitting, really comfortable and have made long and muddy walks much easier!” raved one reviewer.
10. Decathlon Kids’ Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Designed by parents of young hikers, this is a style you can trust. If you’re not sold on the jazzy green outer alone, the chunky sole and adjustable strap should be enough to win you over.
11. Regatta Kids’ Holcombe IEP Low V Waterproof Walking Shoes
The internal EVA heel is packed with extra inserts, to provide unrivalled bounce and shock absorption on the most uneven of surfaces.
We doubt your child will need to wear hiking boots throughout the year, so you’ll probably want to store them away for a few months. If you’re short of space, read our advice on kids closet organization to make the most of your storage.