In the world of hiking, one of the most-discussed (and least agreed-upon) topics is hiking boots vs. trail shoes.
There are millions of seasoned hikers who swear by high-quality, synthetic or leather hiking boots. They claim that these boots offer superior ankle support, more protection against rocks, thorns, and sticks, and reliable, all-day comfort.
However, in recent days, a vocal group of hikers has begun to wear much more minimal “trail running” shoes on the trail – claiming that these specialized are superior to hiking boots. Commonly cited reasons include moisture-wicking mesh materials that allow enhanced drying capabilities, and a lighter weight that reduces fatigue when hiking long distances.
So what’s the right answer? In this article, Devel Fitness will take a deep look at this topic – and help you understand which style of hiking shoe is right for you!
Choose Hiking Boots For Robust Protection And Heavy-Duty Performance
Let’s get this out of the way – for ultimate protection for your feet, hiking boots win, hands-down. The thick leather and synthetics of hiking boots provide fabulous ankle support, plenty of toe and foot protection against rocks and stones, and the fiberglass-reinforced shanks of hiking boots prevent the sole from twisting side-to-side.
If you need protection for a seriously rocky trail, and you don’t mind wearing boots that weigh as much as 3-4lbs, hiking boots are the way to go. In addition, hiking boots typically last 5+ seasons – while trail shoes often only last a single season.
If you hike on stony, rocky trails regularly and are willing to invest $200-300 in a high-quality pair of boots, your investment will pay off – and hiking boots are likely the best choice for your needs.
Choose Trail Shoes For Lightweight Hikes In Moderate Terrain
The main argument against hiking boots is that they’re often overkill for many hikers – and this can be true. Most people aren’t carrying 40-50lbs in a pack across heavy terrain, making heavy and supportive hiking boots somewhat unnecessary.
This makes trail shoes popular for people who are lightweight thru-hikers, and for those who typically only go on day-hikes, and don’t’ require a heavy pack. The lightweight design of trail runners helps reduce fatigue, and the specialized tread of a trail shoe still provides plenty of grip strength and protection from obstacles on the trail.
If you tend to avoid technical, rocky terrain, and you don’t usually carry a heavy pack, trail shoes may be right for you. You’ll enjoy a more lightweight, simple hiking experience – and feet that are more well-ventilated.
There Is No “Best” Option – Just The One That’s Right For You!
In the end, there’s no “right” choice in the contest between trail shoes and hiking boots. What’s best for your depends on your personal preferences, typical hiking style, and your environment.
So take the pros and cons of hiking boots and trail shoes into account – and you’re sure to make the right choice for your feet!
From everyone at Devel Fitness, thanks for reading! We love providing advice for fitness and outdoor enthusiasts – and we’re dedicated to helping you live a better life!
And even dedicated hikers can benefit from our SuperBand training system! If you’re looking for the best alternative to gyms when hiking, or are seeking elastic band stretching exercises to help you prevent injuries on the trail, SuperBands from Devel Fitness are a fantastic choice! Shop now