By: Blonde Two

Walking in the UK isn’t just about mountains and wild places. More and more of us are choosing active travel for our daily commute. It makes sense, why spend time (and money) at the gym when that hill on the way to work could be giving you a daily cardio workout? With our fantastic network of public footpaths and bridleways, it’s even possible to include a few urban greenspaces into our walk-to-work routines. But there’s one problem with that. What do you put on your feet?

Which boots are best for active travel?

Both B1 and I are big fans of walking boots; they support your ankles, keep your feet dry and are generally comfortable. However, these days we often find ourselves in situations where we want to walk to somewhere but look a bit more ‘town’ than ‘country’ on our arrival. Here’s an example. The other day I wanted to meet a friend for coffee. I had every intention of walking but the quickest route involved a muddy copse, some leafy steps and almost certainly a few muddles. Walking boots were required but I didn’t want to feel too over-shod when I got there (or on the pavement sections of my walk).

I needed a pair of boots that looked good and felt light but would keep my feet warm and dry.


It was time to try the Cotton Traders HydroGuard Walking Boots

Although they’ve been a staple in the British country style catalogue for many years, most of us wouldn’t necessarily associate Cotton Traders with walking boots but when we Blondes were offered a trial of the HydroGuard walking boot, I was curious (we don’t always say ‘yes’ to such offers). Could a stylish boot really fill that gap between traditional walking boots and something a bit more fashionable? Here’s what I decided after a few muddy copse and soggy beach walks.

  1. The HydroGuard walking boots kept my feet warm and dry through several muddy puddles (but I haven’t yet tried them in all-day rain)
  2. They were easy to put on whilst controlling an excitable dog
  3. They were really light compared to traditional walking boots
  4. They were flexible and comfortable
  5. Their grip in the mud was better than I expected it to be


Unisex walking boots

This tip won’t work for many households but because Mr B2 and I have almost the same size feet, it can sometimes be useful to have pairs of shoes that would suit either of us. This becomes even more helpful when we’re travelling in our rather compact camper van. With this in mind, I asked Mr B2 if he would like to try the Cotton Traders HydroGuard boots himself.

He liked them so much, they live in his shoe pile now!


Boots about town

To sum up my review of the Cotton Traders HydroGuard walking boots, I would say that although I wouldn’t recommend them as a first choice for rugged hill or moorland walking, they would be preferable to trainers. Where these boots appear to excel (especially according to Mr B2) is on walks that include both on and off-road elements (especially walks with a country pub or cosy cafe at the end of them). They are also lower-priced than most starter walking boots so if you’re looking to start walking more in the new year but have a limited budget for outdoor gear, they might be worth considering.

From time to time we Blondes are offered outdoor gear to review. We only say ‘yes’ if we think the item might be of interest to our loyal readership. Anything we don’t keep for ourselves we donate to a good cause (usually B1’s outdoor education stores) where it can help someone else enjoy getting outside. If we receive a monetary payment to review gear or outdoor experiences, you will always see the words ‘sponsored post’ at the top of the article.