Comparison Between Shoes Vs. Boots In Hiking: Which One Is Better For Your Adventure? 

The competition between shoes vs. boots in hiking is always a hot topic among hikers. If you haven’t chosen the winner, this guide will help you decide!

Top 3 Good Budget Hiking Shoes 

Top 3 Good Budget Hiking Boot

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

Shoes and boots are both common choices for hikers. However, they differ in various factors, giving you a tough time determining the better one. First, let’s check this comparison table to understand their fundamental differences.

Criteria  Shoes In Hiking Boots In Hiking
Features  Low tops

Thin upper

More mesh and kits

Sneaker style

High tops

Thick uppers

More leather materials

Boot design

Designed For  Hikers who need a stable, secure feel Hikers who need a lightweight feel
Ankle Support Good Excellent
Arch Support Good Excellent
Weight More lightweight Heavier
Durability Good Excellent
Traction Good Excellent
Comfort Excellent Good
Price  Cheaper More expensive

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

Now, we will discuss each difference between shoes vs. boots for hiking. Read on, and you can tell which is better for you.


You can easily distinguish these shoes at first sight. Boots for hiking have higher tops and thicker uppers, just like traditional boots. Meanwhile, shoes for hiking feature lower tops and thinner uppers, making their sneaker-style appearance.

Ankle Support

Seasoned hikers claim that if you’re a newbie who isn’t yet familiar with hiking across rugged terrain, ankle support is one of the most crucial considerations to think about. It’s also important when you carry a heavy backpack.

Hiking shoes are low-cut, so they don’t cover your ankles. On the other hand, hiking boots will also always offer superior protection for your feet and ankles, thanks to their higher tops.

Arch Support

Hiking boots’ heels offer much more cushioning and stability. When trekking on rocks or climbing a rocky route, this feature can make a significant impact.

Boots also have far superior soles and arch supports than shoes do. It is best to consider hiking boots for warm-weather excursions.


Generally speaking, hiking boots weigh more than shoes due to their additional features and sturdy construction.


If a pair of shoes are well-made, the materials will significantly impact how long they can last. Leather and synthetic materials are familiar choices to make hiking footwear.

Contrary to boots, trail shoes don’t often have leather materials since leather is too hefty for their requirement for flexibility and comfort.

Thanks to the sturdier constructions, hiking boots are more durable than their competitors. If you intend to walk across rocky terrains, go with the boots.


With rubber soles, hiking boots have the best traction of any type of footwear.

They easily grip rough surfaces. High-quality models will also have deep, thick lugs that can penetrate almost any sort of dirt.

On the other hand, standard hiking shoes don’t have good traction. Their outsoles are less sticky, and their lugs should be more aggressive. Because of these features, you should only use hiking shoes for forest trails and nature trials.


Both hiking shoes and boots should be comfortable. However, comfort levels can drastically differ between brands and depending on the type of shoes you buy.

Generally, hiking boots need a longer time to break in. Hence, you won’t feel comfortable in them soon. Additionally, hiking boots often have stiffer soles, which might first feel uneasy and constricting.

Your feet are also more cramped because of the design of the boots. Therefore, selecting a pair that supports rather than conflicts with your oddly shaped foot may be challenging.

This video will share with you some tips to break in new hiking boots properly:

In contrast, hiking shoes generally have a sole and midsole that are lighter, more elastic, and less rigid. Because of their design and material selection, they are comfortable putting on right out of the box.

Furthermore, the housing and protection of your ankle joint are not a problem with hiking shoes. As a result, there are fewer spots for materials to rub against one other and cause tension.

As a bonus, for those with oddly shaped feet, finding comfortable shoes for hiking is typically simpler than searching for comfortable boots.


Due to their robust design and construction elements, hiking boots are more pricey. They provide a higher level of protection for your ankles and feet when hiking.

Although the design and construction of hiking boots might vary, extra features like waterproofing, premium materials, and durable components raise their cost considerably.

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

Hiking boots seem to shine out in most aspects, but you may prefer hiking shoes for some reason. It depends on your requirement to determine the real winner.

When should you choose shoes for hiking?

If you often trek on rough or hilly terrain, you just need to purchase a good pair of hiking boots. These boots are also important for winter hiking.

Boots for hiking can protect your feet from hazards like sharp pebbles and keep them dry and warm. And if you have foot issues requiring considerable arch support or ankle stability, you may also choose hiking boots.

Think about how far they hike each year too. You might not need highly tough hiking boots if your yearly hiking distance is shorter than 100 miles.

Yet, if you are a long-distance trekker or hiker and serious about this hobby, hiking boots must be a good investment in the long term.

When should you choose boots for hiking?

Most hikers who frequently stay on milder, less rugged terrains would probably appreciate carrying hiking shoes on their trips.

As much as possible in the summer, you should use light hiking shoes since your feet won’t sweat on hot days.

Moreover, they can dry because they are composed of mesh and gore-tex. So if you plan to travel through small streams, shoes for hiking will be perfect.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the questions and answers about between shoes vs boots in hiking:

1. Are hiking boots better than shoes?

Hiking boots offer better protection and support. However, shoes are more suitable for you if you need comfortable footwear.

2. Can you hike in normal shoes?

Yes, as long as they keep you comfortable, secure, and stable. They should be durable because you will travel across rugged terrains.

3. Why are hiking boots better than sneakers?

Because hiking boots cover more parts of your feet and protect them against external elements. Moreover, they provide a higher level of traction, which is helpful on rocky surfaces.

4. Are boots good for hiking?

Yes. You will love hiking boots because they give you a sense of security, protection, and stability. Hence, they can help you deal with harsh outdoor conditions.

5. Are hiking shoes necessary?

Not really. If you plan short and mild hikes, you can go with regular running shoes. Before your trip, remember to check their construction, waterproofing, and comfort. Then, you are ready to conquer the trails.

6. Are sneakers good enough for hiking?

It depends on where you head. Even a pair of urban sneakers can manage it if you hike on a paved trail. But you might want the protection and warmth of sturdy boots if you plan to travel in chilly, rainy conditions.

7. Why are hiking boots important?

Hiking boots are among the most critical pieces of equipment because their durability determines your ability to cover long distances without getting hurt.

8. Why do hiking boots have heels?

Hiking boots have heels that range from 1 to 1.5 inches high, which support your weight and ankle when you’re out in the woods.

In addition, wearing heels allows you to go farther without having to worry about replacing the soles of your hiking boots regularly.

9. What are the disadvantages of hiking?

Before hiking, you should expect what may happen to you, such as getting lost on the trail, acrophobia, and dangerous wildlife.

Hiking is also a physically exhausting activity. Things get worse if you don’t prepare the right gear for your trip. So prepare yourself carefully to ensure you are ready for the challenges ahead.

Leave a Comment