Gear Test Hiking Boots

Summer is just around the corner, which means we're getting increasingly excited for long summer hikes.

Reviews are often full of jargon about breathable membranes and flexible exoskeletons. We believe reviews should be straight forward and simple to understand.

So, we've picked eight top summer hiking boots and put them to the test...

Keen Durand Low

Price: £124.99

Weight: 425.2g

These boots were unbelievably comfortable. As soon as I put them on, I could tell I was going to like them. You can see why they won the Best Footwear at Wanderlust magazine's Gear of the Year Awards 2015.

They might not be the most aesthetically pleasing boots in the world, but you won't care when you're comfortably strolling over uneven terrain without feeling the rocks beneath your feet.

Even on the first wear, I didn't experience any blisters whatsoever.

The chunky sole of the shoe - with its trademark Keen tread - felt grippy on slippery surfaces. They are also covered in a waterproof outer layer that kept the rain from soaking my socks.

The only downside was the laces kept coming undone, probably because they are new and slippery.

The Durand come in both a low ankle and mid length version. We think the low version is ideal for summer. You could easily stuff them in your bag from a weekend away camping.

Best for... summer hill walking and strolls on the beach

3.5 out of 5

Buy them from keenfootwear.com

Meindl Bhutan Hiking Boot

Price: £194.99

Weight: 650g

If you're looking for a boot that's more hardcore and is ready to take on tougher terrain in the Lakes or Scotland, these are the boots you're looking for.

The first thing I noticed was how much ankle support they provide. For someone who has very weak ankles, I loved the support they offered as soon as I put them on.

They were also really comfortable. The seriously thick shock absorbing sole is great for rough terrain. The Bhutan is also lined with memory foam so it moulds to the shape of your foot - handy!

I also really liked the traditional brown leather look of the boot more than the colourful versions offered in most outdoor shops nowadays. You can tell they're going to last for a long time.

They are heavier and chunkier than some of their rivals on the market - the kind of boots you'd wear on an airplane or train to avoid carrying them.

On hotter days, I probably would recommend a more lightweight boot, but if you're looking to do some rocky hill walking or backpacking either in the UK or abroad this summer, then the Bhutan is for you.

Best for... rough terrain, climbing steep hills and mountains

4 out of 5

Buy them from meindl.co.uk

Merrell Chameleon Shift

Price: £140

Weight: 524g

If you're looking for a lightweight but super sturdy boot, then the Merrell Chameleon Shift is the boot for you.

It's got a much slimmer feel than other boots. I have quite wide feet and thick ankles, so I found it was slightly tighter at the back of my heel.

Apart from that, they were very comfortable and flexible with an air cushion in the sole to absorb shock when you're tackling rocky steeps.

They've also got female-specific insole for backpacking with a light pack, a detail which we think is pretty cool.

It definitely look more sporty and athletic than the traditional designs. However, it does keep your feet super dry. The Gore Tex outer worked a treat on muddy forest paths and through shallow puddles.

They've got the same waterproofing as the Meindl Bhutan but they are a lot lighter, which would be useful if you were heading on a long hike and needed to pack light.

Best for... long day hikes with a light pack

3.5 out of 5

Buy them from merrell.com

aku

Price: £140.00

Weight: 543g

For anyone who is looking for a hardcore Gore Tex hiking shoe, but still wants it to look good, the Aku Tribute is a perfect choice.

This is one nice looking boot with a great fit and good adjustability around the ankle.

When taking these boots out for their first walk, we got a little lost and ended up walking a 13 mile steep rocky route in stormy and wet conditions.

While I wouldn't usually take a new boot on this type of hike, these shoes performed perfectly. They kept my feet dry and un-blistered with the cushioned sole protecting my legs and knees from any damage.

The soft material looks great, but does pick up mud and rain quite easily. Once dry, the dirt comes off with ease, leaving the boot looking like new once again.

Best for... Steep hills, long walks, unexpected adventures

4.5 out of 5

Buy them from ardblairsports.com

scarpa

Price: £180.00

Weight: 544g

These boots are brighter than my usual boots of choice. However once they were on, they looked pretty good with my black trousers and the material felt light and breathable.

The boot has a generally comfortable wide fit but a slimmer ankle, which felt a little odd for the first hour of the walk.

As the boots relaxed however, the slimmer fit at the back proved good for preventing rub and blisters.

The synthetic sole on the shoes had great grip and felt steady on steeper climbs, but needed more flexibility.

On an eight mile hike, the boots stayed pretty rigid for the entire walk. I felt I had to bend the sole to its limit on the steepest routes.

Best for... Flat routes, people prone to blisters, warmer weather

2.5 out of 5

Buy them from scarpa.co.uk

berghaus

Price: £130.00

Weight: 535g

If you like to hike whatever the weather and you're never put off by a little rain and mud, a Gore Tex boot is a necessity.

I took these Berghaus boots on an especially wet and windy hike and was pleased to find that, except for one particularly deep puddle that went over the top of the shoe, they held up and kept my feet perfectly dry.

The extreme grip on these boots made for easy walking over rougher terrain, with the mid sole providing brilliant shock absorption.

While they worked fantastically on a wet and cold walk, the breathable suede material means that this boot will also be an equally good choice for hotter weather and dryer walks.

Best for... rainy walks, rough terrain and steep climbs

4.5 out of 5

Buy them from berghaus.com

Altberg

Price: £164.99

Weight: 522g

The first thing I noticed about these boots when putting them on, was just how light they were!

While none of the boots I tried felt clunky or heavy to wear, the Melham Boot was probably the most noticeably light and nimble.

After trying the boots over a few different hikes, I found that the lower ankle support was great for both rough and soft terrain.

The boots definitely perform best and are their most comfortable however, on long flat walks.

I felt at times like a more substantial boot would have been needed for the rougher terrain.

My favourite thing about the shoe however, was how good looking it is.

While having the air of a serious hiking boot, the smaller design and full grain leather mean that you can legitimately wear these guys all week long.

Best for... long hikes, flat terrain and everyday wear!

3.5 out of 5

Buy them from altberg.co.uk