Taking on a trail when you’re no bigger than a backpack can be lots of fun, but even the smallest feet need to be outfitted with boots that will minimise slips and trips without taking the fun out of the expedition.

We tested all our boots to see how comfortable they were straight out of the box, as well as how easy they were to get on and off – a must for both kids and parents.

Then we trail tested during a day’s hike on Dartmoor to see how they performed over a range of different terrains from wet grass and mud to boulder fields and loose gravel.

What we were left with were the shoes that would give kids the confidence to cope with everything thrown at them on an off road adventure.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Adidas terrex mid GTX: £69.95, Adidas

These boots are a supremely reliable in all conditions, with a super grippy Continental rubber soul and deep tread pattern that will make sure the younger explorers in your party stay on track throughout. The sole allowed the shoes to maintain friction on loose material and tension over rock, keeping ankles and arches well supported. We found that these really came into their own in wet conditions, as the Gore-Tex lining does a great job of keeping feet dry in the rain and the sole doesn’t lose any performance if you happen to miss a stepping stone in the stream. The excellent bungee lace system is also a synch for eager fingers to do up and loosen again.

Buy now

Merrell moab 2: £45, Merrell

These Merrell boots are a good, low cut, late summer or early autumn option with a suede and mesh combination upper to keep feet cool. These well constructed shoes are the perfect mix of lightweight flexibility and comfort so that legs don’t feel leaden after a day of scrambling around in the great outdoors.

Buy now

Jack Wolfskin grivla texapore mid G: £42, Jack Wolfskin

No matter what’s underfoot, these boots offer great traction and perform just as well when travelling over the dry and rocky ground as they do when conditions get slicker. The flexibility of the sole is excellent, which adds to the all-round comfort. And the shoes incorporate one of the most efficient toggle lace systems tested, which just requires the mini rambler to slip their foot in and pull the cord for a perfect fit. It also means that the laces are easy to fine tune when they’re on the move. The colour patterns around the synthetic upper make these some of the best looking boots on the list, and they are available in two colour schemes.

Buy now

Reima jalan kids' winter boots: £64.52, Reima

One of the big problems with little hikers is that they just want to get their boots on and get out there. These laceless boots are easy to pull on and fit well, with a faux-fur lining adding to their overall comfort. The felted wool upper protects shins from any rocks that might kick up from the ground and adds to the warmth of the boot as the temperature drops.

Buy now

Regatta samaris: £70, Regatta

These best selling shoes are now available in two new colour ways (granite duchess and briar French blue) but still retain the excellent performance of the originals. Shock absorption is particularly important for youngsters and the construction of these boots meant that our tester’s feet were well protected when the trail demanded increased activity. The seam sealing also offers just the right mix of waterproofing and breathability.

Buy now

Merrell moab FST A/C Arctic grip: £70, Merrell

These are superb all-round shoes that are well waterproofed and really comes into their own when the temperatures tumble, thanks to the grippy soles and a tread pattern that bites down on all kinds of terrain. There is also a lot of contact with the ground so every step feels stable as well as a high toe bumper, which makes these shoes seriously scuff proof. The synthetic and mesh upper lets feet breathe, while there is enough cushioning to keep kids comfortable even after they’ve spent hours on their feet. The laces are tightened and tied easily and there is an Velcro strap so kids can get them on and off quickly.

Buy now

Salomon X ultra mid GTX junior: From £58.97, Amazon

These are great looking boots, available in blue and pink, which have some real substance as they offer good grip on all kinds of terrain, from loose rock trails to wet grassy slopes. The Contagrip soles are the same as those used for Salomon’s adult boots and ensure stability and control on boulders or gravelly dirt. The boots are more than just puddle-proof too, so whether it’s continued walking through long wet grass or crossing a stream, feet will stay dry with the upper drying out fast. And the "quick fit" lacing system will ensure a secure fit without any fuss.

Buy now

Regatta Holcombe IEP: £70, Regatta

These good-looking boots performed well on looser trails, giving excellent traction, as well as over boulders and rock. The materials used mean that these boots were nice and lightweight considering their mid height, so it was never an effort to put one foot in front of the other and all that youthful energy could be channelled onto the trail.

Buy now

Scarpa little terra: £80, Scarpa

No matter how muddy and wet the walking gets nothing will stick to these all-leather boots, which are still surprisingly light so mini walkers won’t get weighed down as they go. There’s good padding around the tongue and where the boot flexes so they can be worn without worrying about any rubbing on pressure points The well constructed soles keep the walker secure and stable. Some of the hardest wearing and durable hiking boots we tested, these will keep going no matter how much punishment they receive, so would work well as a hand-me-down shoe for siblings.

Buy now

Reima nefar: £41.48, Reima

If it’s total waterproofing you’re after then look no further than these walking welly hybrids that have a rugged hard-wearing shoe portion that supports the entire foot, and a deep tread pattern that will keep feet stable at every step. Easy to slip on and off, the galosh upper is made from waterproof thermoplastic rubber for extra comfort, and the top can be gathered in with a drawstring to stop the outside getting in. The boot uppers also come in a variety of cool colour patterns that will really appeal to kids.

Buy now

Trespass glebe II: £34.99, Trespass

Even though they provide solid ankle support, these boots don't feel stiff. The lexible midsoles work well with the foot while walking and are great for rock hopping. Heavy-duty toe and heel bumpers protect feet well while grippy soles and comfy padded ankles make kids all set for outdoor adventures.

Buy now

The verdict: Kids’ hiking boots

The Adidas terrex mid GTX shoes offer real value for money and peace of mind for any parent who is wary of how easy it can be for children to take a tumble when the tarmac gives way to something more technical. They also offer kids a real sense of independence on even the most ambitious days out in the backcountry.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.