Comparison Between Cheap Vs. Expensive Hiking Boots: How To Choose The Better? 

Which will you choose: cheap vs. expensive hiking boots? If you can’t decide, check this comparison. It will give you some hints to settle on the superior option.

Top 3 Good Budget Hiking Boot

#1. Cheap Vs. Expensive Hiking Boots: Comparison Table

Aside from the price, cheap and expensive hiking boots differ in various ways. This comparison table will introduce their features and differences.

Criteria  Cheap Hiking Boots Expensive Hiking Boots
Uppers Mostly full-grain leather Mostly synthetic materials
Midsole  EVA Polyurethane
Outsole Good Better traction and grip
Internal Support  Moderate shanks and plates Good shanks and plates
Comfort  Good Excellent
Style  Limited Diverse
Durability  Moderate Excellent
Price  Lower Higher

#2. What Is The Difference Between Cheap Vs. Expensive Hiking Boots?

Hiking boots are available in a wide price range. You have more choices for your adventure then. But which should you choose?


The material of the uppers affects your boot’s durability, weight, and breathability. It creates a difference between cheap and expensive hiking boots.

In costly hiking boots, you often find full-grain leather. This material offers remarkable abrasion resistance and durability. Hikers use it for rugged terrain and heavy loads.

Some premium models have insulation features for warmth when traveling on glaciers or snow. And if you intend to walk through wet conditions, choose boots with waterproof membranes. Of course, the extra features add up to the cost.

Meanwhile, synthetic materials, like nylon or polyester, are common in cheaper boots. They are more lightweight and faster to break in. However, they will wear soon because they have more stitching on the exterior.


The midsole offers cushioning, absorbs shock, and influences the stiffness of hiking boots.

Stiff hiking boots may not seem pleasant, but they can provide better stability and comfort on long walks on rocky, uneven ground.

There are two main types of midsole materials, and they cost differently:

  • EVA: This material is more lightweight, cushier, and cheaper. It comes in different densities of EVA to offer stronger support where required.
  • Polyurethane: You can find polyurethane in mountaineering and backpacking boots because it’s more durable and firmer. However, the price is higher.


Most hiking boots have rubber outsoles. Some mountaineering and backpacking boots have carbon additives to enhance hardness. However, while the durability improves, your shoes may feel slick when going off the trail.

More expensive boots have a heel brake that supports the heel zone to prevent the risk of sliding on steep descents. Meanwhile, cheaper models have the same heel, arch, and forefoot design.

You can also look for hiking boots with deep, thick lug patterns to improve grip. Consider widely-spaced lugs, too, as they offer excellent traction.

Internal Support 

Most costly hiking boots have extra internal supports inserted between the outsole and midsole. They are shanks and plates.

Shanks are rigid yet thin material that reinforces the midsole, making your boots more comfortable when you carry a heavy backpack.

Plates are flexible inserts. They can protect the bottom of your foot from sharp objects. You will put them between the outsole and insole.

Do cheap hiking boots have such features? Maybe yes, but they don’t perform as impressively as those found in more expensive items.


Boots are not as comfortable as shoes because of their design. However, they can protect your feet, making them a more popular choice among hikers.

Manufacturers focus on other features to enhance the comfort of their hiking boots. For example, they may make the footwear more lightweight so you won’t get exhausted soon.

Breathability is equally important. This feature depends on the material used to construct the boots. In most cases, synthetic materials of cheaper models are an advantage.

As a result, if you hike on hot sunny days, consider choosing cheap hiking boots to promote ventilation within your feet. Leather from the more expensive models is not an ideal option.

Yet, pricey hiking boots still shine in terms of comfort because of their support features. For example, your feet won’t become weary thanks to internal support.


Boots have a beautiful design in general. Wearing them is enough to impress your fellow hikers.

In this round, expensive hiking boots win over their cheaper counterparts. They are available in more fashionable designs.

Aesthetics are personal. You can settle on the most attractive models based on your taste. Even the higher price scale gives you more options, and there must be good-looking designs at the lower range too.


If you hike a lot, try to invest in more expensive footwear to ensure durability. Hiking gear must be sturdy and long-lasting to withstand harsh external conditions.

Thanks to the high-quality materials and meticulous workmanship, premium boots are better at resisting multiple forms of damage, such as sharp objects and UV attacks.

Meanwhile, be prepared to sacrifice quality and durability when purchasing affordable boots. However, if you don’t hike often, they will suffice.


As you expect, price is the most significant difference between cheap and expensive hiking boots. You have to make your decision based on your budget.

#3. Cheap Vs. Expensive Hiking Boots: Which One Should I Go For?

We have discussed some differences between affordable and pricey hiking boots. Have you made up your mind?

Cheap hiking boots will be a better choice if:

  • You are on a limited budget.
  • You don’t hike regularly.
  • The terrain you plan to hike on is even and easy to travel.

On the other hand, consider expensive hiking boots if:

  • You hike a lot.
  • You love hiking across rugged terrains.
  • You don’t mind the cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now, some faqs related to between cheap vs expensive hiking boots:

How much should I spend on good hiking boots?

Beginner hikers should spend from $50 to $100 for their boots. If you are a frequent hiker and often travel on rugged terrains, invest between $100 and $200 in your footwear.

Do hiking boots make a difference?

It depends on how often you hike and where you hike. Regular shoes will suffice if you don’t travel a lot.

Meanwhile, if you are serious about hiking, consider buying hiking boots to protect your feet from external damage and keep them comfortable for hours.

Are hiking boots worth buying?

If you expect to spend plenty of time hiking, crossing rough roads, or carrying a hefty load, costly hiking boots are a good investment.

How do you know if your hiking boots are good?

A good pair of hiking boots should give you adequate stability, support, stiffness, cushioning, and breathability.

How long should hiking boots last?

Hiking boots have an average lifespan of 600 to 1,000 moles. It means that if you hike eight miles every day, your footwear can last four months, assuming the terrain is the same.

How do I choose hiking boots?

There are several factors to consider when buying hiking boots, such as:

  • Fit: Choose footwear that can fit your feet well. However, they should be a little wider because your feet will swell after hours of walking.
  • Durability: Check for the footwear’s durability by examining the material, construction, and stitching.
  • Extra features: You may want your hiking boots to be waterproof, lightweight, or breathable.

You can learn more tips for choosing hiking boots from this video:

Are Gore-Tex boots worth it?

Yes. Gore-Tex boots offer better water resistance and keep your feet cool and dry in terrain that may include standing water.

Is Gore-Tex good for hiking?

Yes. Gore-Tex hiking boots are necessary since they keep your feet dry when trekking and are quite handy on the trail.

Is it better for hiking boots to be bigger or smaller?

Choosing a pair of bigger hiking boots is better because feet swell a little bit when hiking. So aim to get boots that are a half size bigger than you need in general.

Should you buy boots a size bigger?

A half-size bigger is enough. If your boots are too big, your feet can’t bend at the boot’s breakpoint to receive enough support. It will cause flat feet and inflammation.

How heavy should hiking boots be?

The average weight of a pair of hiking boots is between two and three pounds. Some can be heavier.

How long do Salomon hiking shoes last?

They often last for five years when used by recreational hikers. More passionate hikers can only get a few seasons, though.

What does GTX mean in hiking boots?

GTX stands for Gore-Tex, a type of waterproof and breathable material used in making outdoor clothing.

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