Hiking Boots v. Hiking Shoes- The Right Choice for You

Hiking is one of the best workouts that one can ever engage in. Not only is it refreshing, but it burns a lot of calories naturally while surrounded by Mother Nature. The thrill of hiking has benefits beyond conventional exercise. It calms your body, sharpens your mind, and fills your body with adequate oxygen. Hiking trains you to be more alert because your mind is focused on tackling obstacles like dirt, tree branches, trail markings, and wild animals. Studies have shown that hiking also helps one remain calm and makes one happy.

Women tying laces on her hiking boots

Having the perfect hiking gear is really important for anyone who likes to hike. Not having the proper hiking gear may not only put your body through a lot of pain, but it may also negatively affect your body in the long run. Wearing the perfect hiking footwear is necessary if you want to hike comfortably.

The core debate that arises when it comes to hiking shoes and hiking boots is which of the two is better. On the one hand, lightweight running shoes have a more flexible fit, but on the other hand, hiking boots are sturdy, have a high ankle, and a durable sole. In between these two categories are hiking shoes. These shoes combine the best of both shoe types for utmost satisfaction. For those not into shopping, the three categories may be greatly overwhelming. But there are three fundamental categories that one needs to take into consideration before choosing their hiking footwear.


It would be correct to say that running shoes weigh less than hiking footgear. But when it comes to durability, the former wears out faster than the latter. Running shoes have to be replaced after an average of 500 to 750 miles of usage. After a while, the various materials used in the running shoes start to disintegrate, and the rubber sole starts to lose its grip and wear out. Also, after vigorously using running shoes, the midsoles, which are attached to provide extra cushioning to the heel, begin to break apart and do not provide support to the heels. This is not good because hikers end up buying multiple pairs.

Hiking shoes, however, last a very long time because the grip is made of rubber and features deep treads. Since the upper parts of the boots are made of leather, they do not disintegrate easily. Hiking shoes are made of a combination of lightweight materials. However, they are more durable than the average running shoes. Also, hiking shoes are preferred over boots because they are lightweight and are easier to pack and carry. Hiking shoes have the same deep treads as those on the boots and provide the same type of stability. Hiking shoes are known to last longer than running shoes, yet they are easy to maintain. Also, they are as sturdy as boots and provide adequate support to your feet so that they do not wear out or cause any kind of long-term injury. But they do not last as long as hiking boots, though. Therefore, if you wish to have a product that is affordable, lightweight, and comfortable, go for hiking shoes.


The weight you put on your feet while you hike largely controls your energy consumption. It has been determined that the more weight you put on your feet, more energy will be consumed compared to carrying an evenly distributed weight. Therefore, the amount of weight you carry is important, particularly if you wish to put in minimal effort to cover a large distance while hiking. So, if we are to wear something lightweight, there is no doubt that hiking boots are out of the scenario. The only two choices we are left with are either running shoes or hiking shoes. Now, you would not want to wear running shoes on a hike because it is bound to put you at risk of losing your balance and slipping. Thus, hiking shoes are the best choice of footwear because not only do they provide good support but add the right amount of weight so that your feet do not feel the pressure. This way, you can complete your hike comfortably and conserve energy.

Protection and Ankle Support

Protecting your foot and ankle and providing adequate support is crucial. Since the terrain is undulating on a hike, it is essential to keep in mind what would be the proper footwear. Regular running shoes do not protect the ankles from scratches and bruises, particularly if you have to run through bushes and shrubs. Also, the soles on these shoes are thin and do not protect your feet from rocks and other sharp objects that you may encounter. Contrary to popular belief, high ankle boots do not provide the required support needed to provide stability. Yes, the ankle needs to be protected, but it should be flexible enough to let your feet move and help you navigate your way through with ease.

Hiking shoes have a thick sole with deep grooves to protect you from slipping. Their raised sides also protect your ankles. Above all, they provide the required stability and support so that your body weight and the uneven terrain do not adversely affect your feet. It is better to be safe than sorry, and these shoes minimize the possibility of hurting yourself. With that being said, it is never guaranteed that you will not face an ankle injury. 100% ankle support and protection is a myth. A good pair of shoes will provide good stability for your ankles but will not always protect them from an unforeseen or unavoidable injury.

It is crucial to select a good pair of shoes that are not only durable but are functional, breathable, and not too bulky. After all, one should not face the repercussions of wearing uncomfortable shoes. Hiking shoes not only dry faster compared to boots, but they also reduce friction and prevent foot blisters. The soles’ padding gives you enough bounce without the added weight, and most importantly, they are a good financial investment. According to avid hikers, a pair of good hiking shoes is what one should purchase. Whether it is your first time hiking or you’ve hiked a hundred times, it is never too late to buy a good pair of footwear that will make your life easier and reduce your chances of visiting the hospital. Even though hiking shoes last longer, that does not mean they will never wear out. They will wear out after a certain point in time, and how long they last depend on how you treat them. The more you hike, the faster they will wear out, and you’ll have to change your shoes more frequently. With the wide variety of options available in the market, you can easily find the pair that best suits your needs and matches your level of comfort. Take your time, try to feel the shoes, and see if you are comfortable in them. Only then should you make the purchase. Then go make the most out your new footwear.

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