Top 5 recommended men’s waterproof hiking boots
Scotland is an amazing country for hiking thanks to its diverse landscape that’s fit to bursting with stunning scenery. There are more than 30 official long-distance trails in Scotland that include the West Highland Way (94 miles), the John Muir Way (132 miles) and the Great Glen Way (73 miles).
Unfortunately, Scotland is prone to lots of wet weather – even in summer – so walking any of the country’s trails requires sturdy hiking boots that are comfortable and keep your feet dry at all times. Discover the best waterproof boots for hiking in Scotland with this comprehensive product guide.
The 5 best men’s waterproof hiking boots for Scotland
It’s fair to say that Scotland has some of the best walking trails in Britain which is why thousands of tourists visit each year to enjoy the spectacular landscapes on trails from the southern borders to the northern coastline.
Scotland’s official hiking trails range in length between 24 and 210 miles and almost all are suitable for both short breaks and long expeditions, although the terrain varies wildly between them.
While you might start a route on a tarmac path you could quite easily finish it in a muddy forest – after wading through rivers, trudging through bogs and scrambling over bare mountain rocks.
You need to be prepared for any hike in Scotland and having the right kit can make or break your trip, with the most important item in your arsenal being a good pair of hiking boots.
There are many considerations to bear in mind when choosing a new pair of boots including how comfortable they are, how dry they keep your feet, how grippy the soles are, how well they protect your ankles and how durable they are.
These factors become more important the more adventurous you get and the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ really comes into play with hiking boots.
If your only intention is to ramble through a few fields you can get away with a budget pair of boots, but if you’re going to complete a long-distance trail the last thing you want to deal with is a sprained ankle caused by cheap soles and poor ankle support.
With that thought in mind I’ve compiled a list of waterproof hiking boots that are well-made, offer plenty of traction on the sole, are durable, and will keep your feet dry no matter the conditions.
Before continuing be aware that having the right fit is essential, so if you’re unable to try these boot on in a shop I recommend ordering them through Amazon (all the following links are for Amazon) and taking advantage of their excellent returns policy till you find a pair that’s comfy.
In a hurry? If you don’t have time to read these reviews, follow the link below to purchase my #1 recommended waterproof hiking boots on Amazon.
Recommended waterproof walking boots: Berghaus Hillmaster.
★ Buy on Amazon ★
Top 5 recommended hiking boots
#5 XPETI Men’s Waterproof Boots
#1. Berghaus Hillmaster – Recommended boots
I have to start this review by saying these are the self-same walking boots that I currently own and I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to anyone that’s looking to buy a new pair of boots for a hike through Scotland’s ultra-varied terrain.
They might appear a little chunky at first glance but these things are built to last and after a year of walking through mud and scrabbling over untold numbers of rocks I’m pleased to say they still look (almost) as good as new.
They’re a little heavier than some boots – partly I think due to the full leather outer – but not so much that you notice it once you set off, and they’re supremely comfortable.
After 12 months of use I feel the leather has now broken in nicely and they fit my feet like a glove, but what impresses me most is their waterproof ability.
I’ve waded through streams and thick snow and not once have I ended up with wet feet. They’re even quite cool for summer hikes thanks to the breathable GORE-TEX® liner that allows sweat to escape.
The icing on the cake is two-fold. First, they have a Vibram rubber outer sole (the main reason I chose them) and second, they have great ankle support. They’re a wee bit more expensive than most other boots but they’re absolutely worth the extra cost.
As a top-tip for any purchaser of boots that has a leather outer, you’ll increase their lifespan multiple times over if you take good care of them and regularly apply a layer of protective wax.
There are many brands of wax on the market but I personally use Altberg Leder-Gris Waterproof Boot Wax (Amazon link) which rubs in easily and doesn’t stain your fingers too much.
#2. Berghaus Expeditor Ridge 2.0 – Best runner-up
The Berghaus Expeditor is a worthy runner-up to the Hillmaster for a number of reasons. They’re a third lighter thanks to their use of mixed materials, they’re fully waterproof, and they have a big cushioned tongue that’s ultra-comfy.
They also offer lots of ankle protection, and of course being Bergaus they’re very well-made. They’re even a third cheaper than the Hillmaster’s.
The toecap has a very practical ridge that extends from the sole to offer lots of grip on the toes and the front is covered in a thick layer of leather that ensures durability even if you go scrambling up boulder-strewn mountains.
Unlike almost every other brand, Berghaus offers a 2-year guarantee which is very reassuring and just goes to show how much faith they have in their own products.
I really like the style of these boots which has a bit of a rugged military look, but there’s one negative that prevents them from topping this list.
Unfortunately, the sole of the Expeditor Ridge is not made by Vibram, which might be a little picky but if you’re spending nearly a hundred quid on a pair of boots it would be nice to know the soles are top-notch.
That being said they otherwise tick all the boxes for hiking in Scotland so if you’re looking for a quality pair of lightweight boots they’re certainly worth considering.
#3. Regatta Bainsford High Rise – Best value boots
Regatta is well known in the UK as one of the top outdoor gear brands, with a range of clothing that includes jackets, T-shirts, trousers, and of course, hiking boots.
While Regatta certainly isn’t at the top level of outdoor clothing manufacturers they’ve nailed it when it comes to creating good-looking attire at an affordable price, and these Bainsford High Rise boots are no exception.
The boots are made with a combination of materials that include a leather outer and a man-made inner, with the inner benefitting from Regatta’s Isotex technology which is waterproof, windproof and breathable to keep your feet cool and dry.
They’re quite similar-looking to the Berghaus boots at #1 but don’t be under any illusions they’ll last as long – although they’re only a third of the price so that’s to be expected.
The main feature of the Bainsford High Rise is the high ankle and thick padded tongue which ensures rigid support along with a lacing system that can be pulled tight without it digging into your skin.
The outer leather appears to be some kind of natural leather/synthetic combination that actually looks great in real life, but the outer layer will no doubt wear away after heavy use so you’ll need to give them a bit of TLC with leather boot polish now and then.
Having owned similar boots a few years ago I have one tip that you might find useful, which is to make sure you wear thick bamboo socks. I say this because boots with high ankle supports can rub against your skin on a long hike which gets very uncomfortable if you don’t prevent the abrasion with durable socks.
I recommend wearing natural bamboo fibres as they’re superb at wicking away moisture and they dry quickly when you take them off. You’ll find recommended bamboo hiking boot socks here (Amazon link).
#4. Skechers Relment-Pelmo High Rise – Best boots for comfort
Although Skechers are best known as a fashion brand, in recent years they’ve branched out into hiking boots with a range of footwear that’s not only practical but looks great as well.
These high-rise boots have excellent ankle support, thick heel and toe protection, reinforced lace eyelets and an extra-thick padded tongue to cushion your feet.
The icing on the cake is the fact they’re also ultra-comfy thanks to their use of lightweight synthetic materials in the inner and outer layers, and they have an innovative insole.
Unlike almost every other brand, Skechers incorporate a spongy memory foam layer into their insoles which actively moulds to the shape of your feet and having owned a variety of Skechers trainers over the years I can attest to how comfy their memory foam insoles are.
You could, of course, buy a separate insole, but in my experience they never quite fit right and they inevitably end up slipping around inside the boot, unlike these memory foam insoles that are actually embedded into the midsole.
These boots are also fully waterproof thanks to a durable synthetic liner and they’re one of the best-looking boots out there.
In fact, I would have put them at position #1 above the Berghaus boots were it not for the fact that Skechers just don’t have the reputation for making hiking gear that premium brands like Berghaus do – at least not yet.
Still, the online reviews for these Relment-Pelmo boots appear to be very favourable and they have one of the highest user ratings on Amazon. Click the button below to find out more.
#5. XPETI Men’s Waterproof Hiking Boots – Best boots for winter
While the majority of premium brands use leather for the outer layer and synthetic fibres for the inner, these boots are entirely constructed from man-made materials.
Synthetic materials have pretty much caught up with leather boots when it comes to waterproofing and they’re leaps ahead when it comes to weight, but the downside is they’re not as durable and to my mind at least, they don’t look as nice.
Still, these hiking boots from XPETI have a surprising number of features for such a cheap price and the online reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
To begin, they have a waterproof mesh upper that integrates a Hydroshield waterproof membrane to keep feet nice and dry, alongside a mesh inner lining that actively wicks away moisture.
They’re also designed with an unusually high ankle which offers support where you need it as well as protection against ingress of snow – something you’ll appreciate if you’ve ever trudged through 2 feet of the white stuff and ended up with puddles of water in your boots.
The sole of the boots is one of the sturdiest in this list and they have a high raised toe and heel that offers protection against rocky terrain when you’re scrabbling your way up one of Scotland’s many Munro’s.
The soles also have one of the largest treads, meaning you’ll be sure-footed while traversing the countless muddy puddles you’re guaranteed to stumble across in the great outdoors.
The final positive is also a bit of a negative, as these XPETI Men’s Waterproof Boots have an ultra-warm Thinsulate layer that’s advertised as providing insulation against temperatures as low as -25 °C.
The big downside is that your feet will likely overheat if you wear these boots in the warmer months – which is why I suggest you do what I do and own two pairs of boots, one lightweight summer pair and one insulated pair like these for winter.
Features to look for in waterproof hiking boots
- Hiking boots ideally have a waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry whether you’re crossing a stream or hiking through snow. Boots also need to let moisture out so they don’t become wet on the inside with sweat and condensation. GORE-TEX® is one of the most popular weatherproof and breathable materials for hiking boots.
- Leather and synthetic uppers are a matter of choice as synthetics have almost caught up with natural leather, however, leather is still considered to be the superior material. Generally, leather is waterproof, durable, tough and breathable, but it’s slightly heavier. Synthetics are lighter and more breathable than leather but are usually less waterproof unless a good membrane is used.
- The rubber sole should be made from a quality rubber compound with deep lugs that dig into the ground as you walk. One of the best outsole brands is ‘Vibram’, so check the product description to see if it’s part of the boot.
- The midsole should be stiff if you’re going to be scrambling across lots of rocks and boulders (e.g. if you do a lot of Munro bagging), or flexible if you prefer to walk on other surfaces.
- The insole must provide the arches of your feet with sufficient cushioning. If you suffer with aching arches look for boots that allow you to replace the insole with an aftermarket one. Specialized insoles for hiking can be measured and purchased from most podiatrists.
- The fabric lining inside the boot should provide comfort as well as being able to wick away moisture. The lining should extend to the tongue which should be cushioned and have no gap to allow ingress of water.
- The ankle should be fully supported by the boot and the neck should be able to be tightened up with laces that thread to the very top of the boot. The laces should ideally thread through reinforced hooks and eyelets.
Waterproof hiking boots are an essential part of your kit for walking in Scotland – and so are anti-blister treatments. Discover the best products to prevent the agony of foot blisters in this post: The Best Anti-Blister Products to Use in Scotland.
Why do you need waterproof hiking boots in Scotland?
Hiking is one of the most enjoyable activities for any trip to Scotland and there’s no better way of exploring the majestic Highlands or the scenic Lowlands than slipping on a pair of boots and setting off on an outdoor adventure.
Most of Scotland’s top walking trails will take you through mile after mile of stunning scenery, but many of these trails are remote and far away from civilization.
Therefore, it’s imperative that you take every precaution to protect yourself from trips and falls which could see you stranded in sub-zero temperatures without help for several hours.
The most dramatic impact you can make on your own safety when exploring Scotland is to invest in a good quality pair of hiking boots.
While you could purchase budget boots you’ll be paying for them in the long term with sore feet and a loose grip that could easily cause a tumble, plus they will likely fall apart quickly meaning they’ll soon need replacing.
Instead, it’s recommended to buy a pair of boots from a well-known brand that are comfortable, offer lots of grip and protection, and use quality materials so they last the distance.
I have no hesitation in recommending Berghaus Hillmaster boots as they tick all the boxes required for hiking in Scotland’s often treacherous conditions. They’re supremely comfortable, extraordinarily durable, offer the highest levels of foot and ankle protection, and they look good too.
If you’re looking for quality gear to use on your visit to Scotland I have other pages like this one recommending my favourite hiking boots, waterproof clothing, camera accessories, camping equipment and much more. Check out the product review archives of this website for details.
Note that all product reviews on this page are the opinion of Out About Scotland and your experience with these products may differ.