When you go hiking and backpacking, footwear is one of the most crucial things you need to consider.
Backpacking boots are made to traverse rough terrain and uneven surfaces. The way they are made is to give lots of support and to prevent injury. When searching for new boots, or when just starting to take up hiking.
Many consider the use of combat boots for hiking. While they are well made and long-lasting, it may not mean you can have the same experience when using tactical boots for hiking rather than hiking boots.
Here, you can learn if the best military boots translate into one of the best hiking boot options or you need to forget the ideal. (Read What to Wear Hiking in Summer)
By the end, you will know which is a great choice, and which boots are made for you, and will last you a long time.
Are Boots or Shoes Better for Hiking?
Much of this will depend on the time of year when you are hiking. There is little point hiking in low cut shoes when there is snow on the ground.
Saying this, there are advantages and disadvantages to boots vs shoes. Here, you can see the difference between the two.
- Great ankle support
- Protection on rough terrain,
- Great good traction
- Very durable and show little wear
- Warm and keep your feet dry
- Heavy on the feet
- Take longer to break-in
- Take far longer to dry once wet
- Harder to pack in back-packs
Many people consider hiking boots as stiff-soled and somewhat bulky and are too much unless they are for long-distance hikers. Nowadays, materials are lighter and more flexible.
If you are a recreational hiker who does occasional day hiking, choose a lighter and softer boot that has lots of cushioning and can let your feet flex.
If you hike up and down steep mountains and rough terrain, you are better off with heavier duty boots and stiffer soles. It is here when many serious hikers may consider military combat boots for hiking as soldiers carry large, heavy loads.
Hiking shoes are increasingly popular over the past few years. In appearance, they are similar to sneakers, yet there are differences.
Hiking shoes are a great choice for recreational hikers as they are rugged and have reinforced soles and toes. In many instances, you may hear these called trail runners.
- Light and comfortable
- Quick-drying when wet
- Hiking shoes require less breaking in
- Easy to pack in backpacks
- Minimal amounts of ankle support,
- Offer less protection a rough terrain
- Less durable than boots
Hiking shoes offer comfort and flexibility and are suitable for dry weather and gentle terrain. While less durable, hiking shoes are a good choice for travelers, and you can even find sandal varieties.
Do You Really Need Hiking Boots?
Hiking shoes are more comfortable flexible compared to hiking tactical boots. They aren’t as hard to get on your foot and won’t require breaking in like a hiking or military boot.
You will want to wear hiking shoes in dry weather and gentler terrain. In contrast, some hikers find shoes better than hiking boots in the wet as they leave your feet feeling better following a hike and dry quicker.
What are Combat Boots Good For?
Before seeing if military boots for hiking are a good idea, it is better to know where they are often used and why.
You can find military boots in many different styles depending on the origin country and the intended circumstances.
For instance, jungle boots are designed for jungles with hot, wet, and humid climates. In these conditions, a leather military boot would do more harm than good.
You can often find certain military boots are worn by construction workers, hunters, or anyone who does any fishing from certain locations. If you are scrabbling down muddy banks close to a river, you need something that offers lots of grip and protection from wet grass.
Besides, if you are hunting, you also need something that delivers the best protection and support as you follow an animal’s trail. Tactical boots in these scenarios and can get many years of wear from the ideal combat boot.
Suppose you are set on having a tactical boot for your next set of hiking boots. You can see here a little more about them before you decide.
Tactical military boots are made of EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) or Polyurethane, which is lighter and more comfortable. Also, it is more affordable while offering water-resistance, shock-absorbent, and protection from sharp edges.
Polyurethane is sturdier and is more expensive, although you have extreme durability.
Soles on tactical combat boots are often rubber, and Vibram soles being the most popular. Such is this rubber’s performance. It is industry standard on tactical military boots and resists industrial substances, slippage, and oil. (Find Out How Many Calories Does Hiking Burn)
It doesn’t mark and lasts ages in a workplace, battlefield, or on a trail.
You’ll also be looking for these additional features when selecting a good pair of tactical boots
- Clean outsoles that help slow you if you slip on a steep descent
- High levels of grip from the crampons or patterns in the sole. Smaller gaps fill up with mud on the trail faster.
- Good toe protection.
When using combat boots for hiking, many people like to add an insole to get extra cushioning support and comfort for their feet.
It is a good idea to add hiking socks to increase cushioning, breathability and comfort, and water resistance.
If looking at choosing combat boots for hiking, make sure they are genuine military boots and not just fashionable combat boots.
Are Leather Boots Good for Hiking?
Next time you need a new hiking boot, consider leather as they use in some combat boots.
A hiking boot made from leather can take a long time to break-in, yet once you reach this stage, they offer a very comfortable experience. Leather is one of the most durable materials you can find, and any boot will last you for a long number of years if you care for them properly.