Hiking Shoes Vs. Hiking Tennis Shoes Vs. Hiking Boots: Which Is The Best For Hiking?

Hiking shoes vs. hiking tennis shoes vs. hiking boots: which are the best for your next hiking trip? Let’s join us to compare them and pick your own winner!

#1. Hiking Shoes Vs. Hiking Tennis Shoes Vs. Hiking Boots: Comparison Table

The three kinds of footwear differ in appearance, construction, and function. This comparison table will give you a rundown of their differences.


Hiking shoes

Hiking tennis shoes

Hiking boots 

  • Low tops
  • Thin uppers
  • Sneaker style
  • Low tops
  • Thin uppers
  • Sneaker style
  • High tops
  • Thick uppers
  • Boot style
  • Pretty lightweight
  • Most lightweight
  • Heaviest
  • Comfortable
  • Comfortable
  • Comfortable after the break-in time
  • Good
  • Moderate
  • Excellent
  • Moderate
  • Little to moderate
  • Good
  • Easy to pack
  • No need to break in
  • Lightweight
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Comfortable
  • Highly durable and stable
  • Good feet and ankle support
  • Good traction
  • Less durable on some rough terrains
  • Not durable enough for long travels
  • Heavier than the other shoes
Best For 
  • Hikers that prioritize comfort
  • Hikers that travel on easy trails
  • Hikers that prioritize stability

#2. What Is The Difference Between Hiking Shoes Vs. Hiking Tennis Shoes Vs. Hiking Boots?

Now, let’s dig into details of the differences between hiking shoes, hiking tennis shoes, and hiking boots. Each factor is important as it affects your final decision.


You can distinguish hiking boots from the others because they have a boot style.

Although they are available in different designs, most look bulky and have high tops for better ankle support.

Moreover, leather is the primary material for making hiking boots. The leather layers must be thick enough to withstand external elements.

On the other hand, hiking shoes and hiking tennis shoes look like sneakers.

They often have lower tops and thinner uppers to enhance comfort. However, they can’t support your ankles as well as hiking boots do.

There are more options in materials, such as mesh and canvas, for hiking and hiking tennis shoes. The material diversity offers more choices in terms of styles and designs.


Weight refers to how much force you need to move with the shoes. The hiking tennis shoes will be your favorite if you prefer the feeling of “flying” on your footwear.

People also wear hiking tennis shoes to play sports. Hence, they must be light enough for the players to move fast.

Hiking shoes and boots are both heavy, but the latter weighs more. Since they especially aim for hikers, the two kinds of footwear perform similarly in some aspects. However, if you need more lightweight gear, consider hiking shoes first.

Hiking boots are heavier because they have more features and thicker materials, helping you deal well with rough terrains.


How to tell if your shoes are comfortable or not? Define it by answering these questions:

  • Can you walk in the shoes for hours without feeling strained in your feet?
  • Can you move freely?
  • Do the shoes fit your feet properly?

So, it’s all about your own experience. But in general, hiking and hiking tennis shoes are more comfortable because they are lightweight. Moreover, their materials can be more breathable.

It doesn’t mean that hiking boots don’t give you any sense of comfort. For the first time, they may be a little tough for you. Yet, once you can break in, the shoes turn out highly comfortable.

You can learn more tips to break in your newly-bought hiking boots right here:

No matter which kind of footwear you choose, make sure that they are in the right size. Then, you will be ready to put them on and go for a hike.


Many people judge footwear’s quality by its durability. Consider how durable your chosen shoes are compared to other options if you are among them.

Since hiking boots are made for advanced hikes, they must be very sturdy and long-lasting.

Please remember that you will walk in them for hours across different terrain conditions. If they break down, they will ruin your whole adventure.

Hiking shoes should also be durable as they work in similarly harsh conditions. However, they are softer and more sensitive to rocky surfaces.

Meanwhile, although hiking tennis shoes are robust, they seem to fall behind their competitors.

Manufacturers only make them work on easy trails, so don’t expect them to replace hiking boots on your long hikes.


A shoe’s ability to withstand shock is cushioning. The majority of businesses interchange the words “cushioning” with “shock absorption.”

Our body can perceive painful or uncomfortable motions as harmful. You will suffer from pain and discomfort if you have footwear with a low cushioning rating.

So, cushioning is an important feature that any hiking footwear must have because you have to walk for an extended period.

The best option in this regard is hiking boots. They provide excellent cushioning to adapt to different trail requirements.

The next fantastic solution must be hiking shoes. Their ability to absorb shocks ensures that you can use them for several hours.

And, of course, hiking tennis shoes are the least cushioned option. They still perform well but will irritate your feet soon.

#3. Hiking Shoes Vs. Hiking Tennis Shoes Vs. Hiking Boots: Which Is Best For You?

Have you chosen the best footwear after checking all the information above? If you are still confused, we will recommend some final tips.

When to choose hiking shoes?

These shoes are good at supporting your feet and give you excellent comfort. You will love them if:

  • You intend to travel across even terrain for hours.
  • The sneaker style is your taste, and you want to wear these shoes as casual items.
  • Comfort is your top concern, but you still need durable footwear.
  • You don’t want to spend several days breaking in your new shoes.

When to choose hiking tennis shoes?

These models are the best on the tennis course. Yet, they can also help with your hiking trip. Here are cases where you need them:

  • You love versatile items because you can use them for multiple purposes.
  • Lightweight shoes are what you look for first.
  • Your hikes are short, and you intend to go through even trails.

When to choose hiking boots?

These models are excellent for hiking. Choose them without a second thought if:

  • You are an experienced hiker.
  • You expect harsh, uneven terrain on your upcoming adventure.
  • It doesn’t matter to you to wait for the break-in time.
  • You are looking for long-term investments, so durability is your first check.

#4. Frequently Asked Questions

Below here is common questions and answers related to Hiking Shoes Vs. Hiking Tennis Shoes Vs. Hiking Boots.

Should I wear hiking boots or tennis shoes?

It depends on what you need from your shoes.

For example, a pair of hiking boots will be your best companion if you plan a long hiking trip. They can protect your feet against rocky conditions, giving you the desired stability.

On the other hand, if you need lightweight shoes and only want to have a short hike, tennis shoes will suffice.

Are hiking shoes the same as hiking boots?

No. They are different in many terms, such as:

  • Hiking shoes are more lightweight and comfortable.
  • Hiking boots do a better job of resisting external elements during your adventure.
  • You can protect your ankles and feet better with a pair of hiking boots.

Is it OK to hike in tennis shoes?

Yes, if you only hike a short distance. Tennis shoes are light, comfortable, and durable enough for easy trails.

However, you should switch to hiking shoes or hiking boots if you want to explore extreme places.

Can I hike in running shoes?

Yes. The best running shoes for hiking are trail running shoes, which experienced hikers recommend using.

Is it weird to wear hiking boots casually?

No. You can walk on any surface thanks to their excellent ankle support, traction, and many other wonderful qualities. Moreover, they look stylish, fitting your casual outfit nicely.

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