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Blog > News

Hiking Boots vs Hiking Shoes Explained

Hiking boots vs hiking shoes is a big choice on many explorers' minds. There are so many things to consider when it comes to choosing your hiking footwear, from the cut of the shoe, the grip of the sole, to waterproofing qualities. It’s a decision that requires thought to ensure you have the most enjoyable hikes possible. Picking the right hiking shoe or hiking boot for your trek sets the foundation for future adventures. We step into the differences.

Table of Contents:

Do I Need Special Footwear for Hiking?

What are the Differences Between Hiking Boots and Hiking Shoes?

Why Choose Hiking Boots?

The Benefits of Hiking Shoes

Waterproof vs Water Resistant Outdoor Footwear

So Which Outdoor Footwear is Right for Me?


Do I Need Special Footwear for Hiking?

If you’re new to hiking you may be questioning whether you need specific footwear, or whether your normal sneakers or  trail running shoes  will do the job. Your feet are what allow you to move forward through every step of your journey, so keeping them stable and comfortable is crucial. Hiking boots and shoes are designed to do just this. They provide levels of support and stability that you may not experience in your regular sneakers. If you’re walking on rugged trails this extra support is a must-have to ensure you feel stable! In addition to this, specialist outdoor footwear is designed to keep you as comfy as possible when on the trail. From anti-blister heels, to wool linings, there’s so many features hiking boots and shoes can offer you to improve your trek.

what are the differences between hiking boots and hiking shoes?

What are the Differences Between Hiking Boots vs Hiking Shoes?

The most noticeable difference between hiking shoes vs hiking boots is their height. Hiking shoes tend to be lower cut and therefore carry less weight than hiking boots. Whereas, the boots typically come above the ankle to provide support to this area. Due to the nature of  walking boots  they are often heavier than shoes. As both types of footwear are specifically designed for hiking they share very similar features. Choosing the right footwear is essential for an enjoyable hike. Comparing the unique benefits of each type, from its shape and weight, to its sole will help you decide whether hiking boots or hiking shoes are the best option for you. 

what makes hiking boots and hiking shoes different?

Why Choose Hiking Boots?

When faced with the hiking boots vs hiking shoes dilemma, boots are an extremely popular option when it comes to outdoor footwear. With so many benefits to this choice, it’s no wonder why. 

As women’s and men’s hiking boots cover both the foot and ankle they can provide protection against the environment you are in. Whether it be avoiding scratches on low lying plants or having to step in a puddle, your feet shouldn’t be affected safe at all times! Our  Wool Cross X Alpine Boots  are a great choice for hiking. Lined with soft  merino wool , these boots are designed to keep your feet ultra-comfy at every stage of your walk. Paired with an anti-blister heel, the lining helps to reduce friction between your foot and the shoe ensuring your no nasty sores occur!

are hiking boots better than shoes?

Weather is often unpredictable, but that shouldn’t stop you exploring til your heart’s content! Come rain, snow, or shine, our hiking boots are 100% waterproof, meaning your feet will be kept dry in even the most unexpected downpours! In addition to this, the merino wool lining allows this hiking boot to be temperature regulated keeping feet cool in the heat, and warm in the cold. If you’re someone who likes to hike year round, these are really important features to get you through all seasons as these shoes can act as both summer and  winter boots

Keeping feet stable and supported on the trail is essential. Our men’s and women’s hiking boots have a half-height padded shaft with a two zone lacing system. This supports your feet and ankles, keeping them stable throughout your hike on both ascent and descent. With their micro-grip sole, this pair of outdoor footwear are suitable for all terrain! Hiking boots can often be heavy due to their size, but ours weigh in at just 860 grams! So you can be agile on your feet for your whole journey.

Finding the Right Fit

Another important step in picking the right footwear for you is knowing how hiking boots should fit, picking the right size guarantees these boots will work in your favour. Properly fitting hiking boots will keep your feet as comfortable as possible, and they will be able to carry you through all your journeys.

The Benefits of Hiking Shoes

Hiking shoes are similar in shape to a classic sneaker, but they have enhanced features that make them perfect for trekking! With room for the ankle to move, these are the perfect partners for all of life’s incredible journeys. Due to their casual nature, these hiking shoes are extremely versatile, so whether you’re exploring a famous beauty spot, or on your favourite dog walk, they’re the ideal companion. When comparing hiking boots vs hiking shoes, the smaller design means that hiking shoes are far lighter than boots. Our hiking shoes weigh in at just 550 grams! You can even wear them as a  lightweight sneaker. So you can be light on your feet with every peak you take on.

Our hiking shoes and hiking boots are both lined with merino wool. This means they have the same incredible benefits of being soft, comfortable, and temperature regulating. As our  Wool Cross X  is also ideal for  trail running, the wool helps to wick away any moisture from the foot keeping you dry from sweat. This can allow you to stay active, without sacrificing comfort. Further to this, the natural structure of the lining means it is antibacterial, keeping unpleasant odours at bay in both your hiking shoes and hiking boots! So you don’t have to worry about any smells when you switch from trail to daily life. If you find your hiking shoes do get a little dirty, you can simply  put them in the washing machine, making them look brand new again!

should I get hiking shoes?

The trails you take may be bumpy and you want to protect your feet as much as possible from this for an enjoyable adventure. Our  walking shoes  have a wide toe box and a strong toe bumper that will protect your feet from lumps and bumps! Alongside the cushioned insole, your feet will be kept ultra-comfortable however rocky your trek.

Waterproof vs Water Resistant Outdoor Footwear

One of the main differences between hiking boots vs shoes, is their waterproof properties. Our hiking shoes are water repellent, so the surface of the shoe prevents water from entering. This again makes them great for unexpected downpours as feet will be kept dry.

Like with all outdoor footwear, whether that be hiking boots or hiking shoes, the grip on the sole is of the utmost importance. Our hiking shoes have a microgrip sole that makes them ideal for all terrain, including slippery and crumbly surfaces. So again, both hiking shoes and hiking boots are great for all times of climates and surfaces.

Boots vs Shoes: Which Hiking Footwear is Right for Me?

Ultimately when it comes down to hiking boots vs hiking shoes, the decision is up to you. Hiking boots are great for the avid explorer, being 100% waterproof, and offering maximum stability. The temperature regulating properties mean they can be both a cool boot in summers, and  warm boot  in winter. Boots are brilliant for the year-round explorer who wants to experience many different types of terrain. 

Hiking shoes are perfect for those who want to switch between the trails and city easily. Their versatile style, paired with their many features that make them ideal for hikes, means you can do everything in these shoes! This is a key difference when it comes to hiking boots vs shoes, as many would not want to wear their boots on a daily basis. Being super lightweight these are a great partner for hikes, walks, and even trail running. 

should I choose hiking shoes or hiking boots?

Knowing the benefits of both hiking boots vs hiking shoes, will empower you to make the right choice for you. Both types of footwear will make your hiking journey more comfortable. So whichever you choose, you’ll be able to appreciate the great outdoors without your shoes slowing you down.

What Makes Giesswein Special?

For three generations we have been creating high quality products from merino wool. With a focus on sustainability, our footwear combines renewable resources with comfort and style. From our  men’s sneakers  and  women’s sneakers, to our  men’s slippers  and  women’s slippers, we’ve got your feet covered from morning to night!