Kid’s Walking Shoes Review – Boots vs. Shoes, Expensive vs. Cheap

November 15, 2018

Kids Walking Boots

Kid’s walking shoes or walking boots provide the piece of mind that your children’s feet are protected when hiking, yet this needn’t break the bank.

Walking Boots,  Shoes, or Trainers?

That’s the first question you need to ask yourself.

Traditionally in the UK we’ve historically opted for walking boots. I suspect that was no doubt influenced by army surplus after WW2.  Whilst boots are still an option, modern Walking Shoes provide  bridge between boots and shoes.

  • Walking Boots: Good grip, protect the foot, and supports the ankle.
    Ideal if carrying a load (and so more likely to fall and injure ankle), or covering terrain where a twisted (or broken) ankle is a higher risk (such as rocky ground, cracked or potted surfaces).
  • Walking Shoes: Good grip and protect the foot, but no support to the ankle.
    Good for off road hiking on moderate surfaces.  Usually lighter than boots, and so may be better for children when walking longer distances.
  • Trainers: Kids have these already so why the bother of Walking Shoes or Boots?  Don’t go for fashion trainers – those with no grip on the sole and no support for the foot.  Trainers can provide good grip if the right sort, and should also support the foot to avoid strain and tired legs.  They are of softer material so don’t protect the foot as much and may not stand up to the punishment of stoney ground and off road hiking.


Kids shoes are expensive, and kids are always growing out of them!  If you are getting out with the kids for walks or rural Geocaching, especially in a variety of weathers, then investing in walking shoes or boots is a good idea.  However, given the short life they may receive, investing in high end models may not be wise unless you plan some serious family hiking.

Over the last few years we have tried both Walking Shoes and Walking Boots, both from Regatta.

Regatta Walking Shoes Review

Regatta Walking Shoe

The walking shoe looks very much like a trainer, but is a lot more suited to walking, with its thicker sole, good group, tougher material, and toe and heel protection.

The ones pictured here have done some miles, been on varous camps (school, guides, and ours), and easily handled the challenge of climbing Mount Snowdon.  Through all of that the shoes have stood up well and are in very good condition.

“They’re sturdy, they don’t make my feet smelly, and are quite water proof – I’ve walked through a stream.  I prefer boots though as I won’t break my ankle if I fall down a rabbit hole.”
Daughter 1 with the shoes.


Regatta Walking Boots Review

Regatta Walking Boot

The walking boot is similar to the walking shoe in that it has a thick sole, good grip, and good toe and heel protection.

It also supports the ankle.

These ones pictured are a slightly older model, and have done even more than the walking shoes (now as a hand-me-down to daughter 2), and also did well on climbing Mount Snowdon.  There are still many miles left in them.

“They’re comfy.  They protect my ankles, and they keep me warm.  They have a good grip on the bottom that doesn’t wear away.”
Daughter 2 with the boots


Do we recommend Regatta and cheaper walking shoes?

Yes and no.

For our kids Regatta provided just what was needed at a price we felt reasonable.  The kids do so many different activities that walking boots or shoes are not worn all the time.

When camping in summer months, our kids much prefer crocs around the camp, or if going somewhere to splash in a stream, then wellies.

However, we have also tried adult Regatta walking shoes.  They were comfortable and appeared well made, and I think if you only go for a ‘stroll’ just a few times of the year, then they are fine.  However, we subjected these to many miles over all sorts of terrain, but also worn on  a day-to-day basis on normal tarmac.  They fell apart after a few months.

A similar fate occurred with the Mountain Warehouse brand.

So for kids and their occasional needs, cheaper brands have been fine, however for adults or where you know more miles will be put on them, then more expensive brands with a reputation for wear and tear would be advised (and yes, they do cost more money).

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Gav Grayston
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Gav Grayston Contributor

Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

1 Comment
  1. It is really important to make sure that kids have comfortable and supportive shoes when walking or hiking, especially if you’re going on long walks with young kids. Our kids come on long walking trips with us if they choose to and at first we did struggle to find a suitable shoe. For us Start Rite ( boots are the go to shoe now as we’ve tried and tested them on quite demanding walks for little ones. They need to be comfortable, durable and supportive and the Start Rite shoes tick all those boxes.

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