An hour’s dog-walking equates to around three and a half miles, or some 7,000 steps. If you’re a professional dog-walker – or really enjoy getting out – you could be clocking up tens of thousands of steps a day. A conservative estimate of 10 miles a day is a fair amount of time on your feet, and wear on your shoes. Given that experts advise running trainers should be replaced every 400 miles, that gives you some idea of the workload you’re demanding of your footwear (not to mention that you need to think about new ones every six weeks!). Mercifully the best shoes for dog walking are more durable than your average trainer. They should be lightweight but robust, waterproof, breathable, and have tough rubber soles and good grip.
While some of us are not averse to popping out with our dogs in our flip-flops, these are certainly not the best shoes for dog walking. Unless you are actually running with your dog, running trainers aren’t the best option either, because they won’t stand up to the day-to-day grind. They are also unlikely to be waterproof, which in the UK climate is a necessity. In fact, although in the drier months, a walking or hiking shoe is perfect, for the inevitable soggy days and muddy conditions, you’ll almost certainly need a decent wellington boot, that is comfortable and light enough to walk long distances without rubbing, yet will keep your feet and legs dry.
Here, we recommend a range of shoes, boots and wellies so you can enjoy your walks whatever the climate throws at you. There is no such thing as bad weather, so they say, only the wrong clothes – or footwear.
best shoes for dog walking
Ariat Ascent Waterproof Paddock Boots
Colours: Black | Sizes: UK 3–8½ | RRP: £150 |
While not designed for dog-walking per se, these short, waterproof boots are ideal. Designed to double up as a riding boot as well as a day’s work on the yard, they are wonderfully versatile. They’re similar to trainers and have a flexible, lightweight build with a breathable, sock-like fit for comfortable compression, ankle support and instep comfort.
We tested these boots and found them to be incredibly comfortable and great for wearing around the yard as well as good riding boots. For dog-walking, the cushioning gives you a spring in your step, and their lightweight build means you can stay on your feet for hours. They are waterproof up to the ankle, so fine for most conditions but not deep puddles.
Read H&H’s independent Ariat Ascent paddock boots review.
The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport II Mid Boots
Colours: Black, black magenta, wine, brown, navy, black grey | Sizes: UK 3–8 | RRP: £145 |
Wellies are a must if you’re a dog walker, but sometimes the full length version is a bit cumbersome. If you’re looking for some short wellies for the winter, these muck boots are a great option as they have a 5mm insulating neoprene inner boot, plus a cosy fleece lining, while the stretch-fit top keep the boots snug to your legs, keeping the cold air out and the warm air in.
They have a supportive midsole and a grippy outsole, making them an ideal option for a dog walk. The boots also feature a pull tab to help you get them on and off, and benefit from odour control and moisture management technology. We tested the longer version of these Arctic Sport II boots and recommend sizing up if you usually take a half size.
Grub’s Rainline Boots
Colours: Black, aubergine, navy or heather | Sizes: UK 3–8 | RRP: £84.95 |
These Grubs rubber boots are lightweight and easy to clean. They have a moisture-wicking and odour-preventing lining, and a soft underfoot cushioning that aims to give an athletic shoe feel, which is ideal for feeling energised on your dog walk. The insulating lining offers comfort between -20 and +30°C without sweat and heat build up. The sole offers excellent grip and shock absorption, while the tread is designed to work with the action of the foot. The waterproof neoprene stretch panel in the shaft provides a great fit around the calf.
North Face Hedgehog Futurelight Hiking Boots
Colours: Taupe green/black or black/zinc grey| Sizes: UK 3–13 | RRP: £135 |
An extremely comfortable and lightweight hiking shoe, they offer great traction on slippery going, as well as stability on uneven terrain. They have decent cushioning and protect your feet and ankles well against injuries from flints, tree roots, mis-steps and so on. They are marketed as waterproof and breathable, and are pretty good in this regard for what is effectively a fabric shoe, albeit very high-tech, but obviously given that they only go up to the ankle, and are lace-up, we wouldn’t recommend marching through deep puddles in them.
Colours: Chocolate brown | Sizes: EU 36–43, in regular or wide calf | RRP: £120 | H&H Review: 8/10 |
For those who want a bit of style with practicality while out with the dogs, how about a country boot? Crafted in a hard-wearing buffalo leather, the Brogini Warwick is described as ideal for wet weather at any time of the year. These boots have a breathable, waterproof membrane and moleskin lining, so are waterproof up to 16cm, while the oiled leather used on the foot is naturally water resistant and will help to deter staining. They have a cream contrast stitch throughout, and a classic brass Brogini tab on the side. The lightweight sole is durable, shock absorbing and widely recycled, and – for those who like to double up their footwear aboard a horse – it has an integrated riding steel shank.
Read H&H’s independent Brogini Warwick country boots review.
Bogs Essential Light Tall Solid Wellies
Colours: Black, olive, navy or eggplant | Sizes: EU 37–42 | RRP: £99.95 |
When the weather gets really wet, you need a comfortable wellie that is well fitted, provides great traction on muddy paths and provides cushioning for comfort. For those who like a pacy walk, a lighter wellie is preferable, as the heavy-duty ones are cumbersome and weigh you down. Neoprene is ideal for those who aren’t wedded to the traditional look, and it is highly waterproof and insulating. With 7mm Neo-Tech insulation, these boots are comfort rated in freezing temperatures and 100% waterproof. They have a non-marking and self-cleaning Bio-Grip outsole, and an internal midsole with rubber sponge that offers extra cushioning and warmth.
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