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Hiking Boots or Hiking Shoes

By Edited Aug 26, 2015 0 0

There are many debates among hikers about the difference between hiking shoes and hiking boots. Some hikers don't even think that it is a debate as some hikers switch between the two types of shoes depending on weather they are hiking or trail running. Not every person wears hiking shoes when they are hiking. People still wear hiking boots and they are still very relevant. Don't fall for those myths that they are outdated. I am not going to argue which is better or which is outdated, I'm just going to tell you the difference between the boots and the shoes. Below are a few things that have been said about hiking boots and hiking shoes. These statements may or may not be true.

Hiking shoes are lighter than hiking boots. This will reduce strain on the legs when hiking many miles.

Hiking boots can limit movement and they typically last longer.

Hiking shoes get dry faster than hiking boots.

Hiking boots do not give ankle support.

Hiking shoes stay drier than hiking boots.

Hiking boots make feet hot and sweaty.

Hiking boots are more expensive than hiking shoes.

Hiking shoes can be broken in faster.

Hiking shoes are better for dry conditions.

Northside Womens Pioneer Hiker
Most of these statements give the advantage to the hiking shoes. Many people swear by the hiking shoes and that is all they will wear. This is great for them but most people should choose the best footwear for the terrain they are hiking on. Hiking boots work better from certain terrains and conditions. Hiking shoes work great for the other situations where boots are not appropriate. Hiking boots are much heavier than hiking shoes which can be good in certain situations. Hiking boots are made out of a variety of materials which are usually heavy. These materials include leather, synthetics and nubuck. These materials add to the weight of the boot. The different materials help the hiking boots get through certain conditions such as rain and snow. When going on a hike, make sure you consider which material the boot is made from. Hiking shoes do reduce strain from the legs and back because they are light weight. According to the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, one pound on the foot equals as much energy as six pounds on the back. This means that hiking shoes help prevent extra pressure being put on the body.

One of the myths floating around is that boots can be constricting. Only certain boots restrict movement of the ankle and the foot. Most boots are made of flexible materials that do not restrict foot movement.

Hi-Tec Men's Altitude IV WP Hiking Boot,Dark Chocolate,11 M
Amazon Price: $105.00 $63.65 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 26, 2015)

Do boots really last longer than hiking shoes? It depends on the type of the boot and the style but, most of the time, yes, boots do last longer than shoes. Boots with a thick heel and are constructed in a thick leather will last longer than shoes. The heel can be replaced multiple times so the boots will last a really long time. You will have to buy many new pairs of shoes before you will ever have to replace your boots. Of course, this all depends on how often you use the shoes or the boots.

Some people think that boots take longer to dry than shoes. This is only half true. When leather boots and shoes are both drenched, then yes, the boots will take longer to stay dry. When lighter weight fabric boots and shoes are both drenched, they will both dry at the exact same weight. In this case, no, it is not true that boots take longer to dry than shoes. The drying time of the boots depends on the materials they are made from.

Hi-Tec Men's Altitude IV Hiking Boot
Another myth is that boots do not provide ankle support. This is a false statement. Hiking boots give a lot better ankle support than hiking shoes. Most hiking boots have a high-top that can provide ankle support when hiking on hills, uneven terrain and cross-country.

Boots keep the feet dry when hiking in wet terrain such as a river or swamp. They will do a much better job of it than hiking shoes ever could. This is because the boots are made of a thicker material so the water won't seep in and the high-top on the boots will prevent water from splashing into the top.

Merrell Men's Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe,Walnut,11 M US
Amazon Price: $100.00 $76.00 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 26, 2015)
Merrell Women's Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe,Smoke,7.5 M US
Amazon Price: $100.00 $99.95 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 26, 2015)

Another statement about boots that is true is that they make the feet hot and sweaty. For the most part, yes, feet do get hot and sweaty in boots. The hiking boots are made of a thicker material so it is hard for the foot to breathe. Shoes are made of lighter, breathable material that tends to wick moister away from the shoe. A boot is better for cold climates and a shoe is better for warm climates.

Boots are much more expensive than hiking shoes. Boots can cost anywhere in the range of one hundred dollars up to one hundred and fifty dollars. Hiking shoes range from thirty dollars up to a hundred and twenty dollars. Boots tend to last longer than shoes so, in the long run, shoes will end up being cheaper.

The statement that shoes can be broken in quicker is only part true. It depends on what the boots or shoes are made from. Thick boots will take longer to break in. Lightweight boots will not take nearly as long to break in and average around the same amount of time as hiking shoes. Overall, I'd say that shoes are quicker to break in.

When there is a significant amount of accumulation, boots are much better suited for snowy conditions. It is not advisable to wear shoes in these situations, yet people still do it. If there is only a little bit of snow on the ground, then the shoes will probably work just fine. With any accumulation over an inch, you better have some boots handy.

When it is all said and done, no one will be able to tell you what you like better. Each person will have their own preference when it comes to boots or shoes. It all depends on what is the most comfortable for you. If one type of footwear is more comfortable for you, then you will probably chose to wear it. Some people will wear both types of footwear depending on the terrain and the conditions. Visit a local outdoor retailer and look at some boots and shoes and decide which is better for you. Buy whatever is the most comfortable and wear them out. Make sure that for whatever type of footwear you choose, it fits snug on your feet. A properly fitted boot or shoe will make hiking an enjoyable sport.



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