For an amateur traveler hiking shoes and boots are but just an alternative to each other. But once you enter the world of hiking you will know that this debate between what to choose over what has been an age long discussion with no suitable decision yet.
While some hail the comfort of hiking shoes, others ditch it for its lack of ankle collar. Some glorify the hiking boots for its durability; others look down upon it for its heavyweight.
What it actually comes down to is a matter of preference. We can’t ask you to choose one over the other because each has its own advantages. Besides, doing that will only make it difficult for you to embark upon your next adventure without the one thing that you felt most comfortable in. For a better perspective, we have compiled a detailed analysis to help you choose what’s best for you.
What are Hiking Shoes?
In a layman’s term, hiking shoes are a lightweight form of hiking. Hiking shoes are light on the feet and make the hike comfortable and fast. This lightweight only further saves energy.
These are a cross between hiking boots and running shoes. It has the sturdy qualities of a boot to add on to the qualities of a running shoe. Hiking shoes are perfect for even trails and day hikes. However, if your next adventure is through deep snow or miles of cacti, then shoes won’t be a wise choice.
Suppose, one fine day the roar of the nearby hills call on to you, you might very well put on those shoes and go on for a casual hike.
Because hiking shoes are not accompanied with ankle collars, they tend to be more breathable for your feet. This only negates the possibility of blisters for an entire day’s sweat.
Being waterproof they let you carry on your hike irrespective of the kind of weather. Even if your hiking shoe does not guarantee to be waterproof, it will dry quickly unlike hiking boots.
The issue arises when you are planning for a tough adventure up those steep hills of extreme climates of the snowy region.
What are Hiking Boots?
Primarily designed keeping in mind the needs of an avid traveler, a hiking boot is made for steep elevation and rugged terrains. Even though a bit heavy on the feet, hiking boots make it easier to climb steep elevation for a couple of hours in a row.
These boots sport an ankle collar which is what differentiates it from a shoe. This particular feature keeps out whatever that is supposed to be kept out of the feet including twigs, pebbles, and the debris.
In case you are backpacking, the heavy weight of your torso puts a pressure on your feet. At such times, hiking boots provide support to your feet and ankle making your onward journey a bit easier. The ankle padding only helps the cause more.
If your hiking boots are broken-in, it will only help your cause. It will give your feet some air thus reducing the possibility of blisters.
Most hiking boots have a synthetic or reinforced leather exterior, which makes it waterproof. Thus hiking on rainy days is no more a problem.
However, a disadvantage arises when your boot is made up of thick leather. This slows down the process of drying. Hence, your feet will remain wet either by precipitation or perspiration. Besides, hiking boots might feel a bit too heavy for a first-timer due to its strong and heavy built.
Which Is Better?
Having gone through the pros and cons of both the choices, it is more of a no-brainer to decide which to choose over which. While a hiking shoe is a perfect choice for an amateur, a hiking boot is for experienced hikers.
Hiking shoes are best for people who like to travel light. You would feel like a thunderbolt with these light shields on your feet. They deliver strong grip on rugged terrains along with providing comfort. However, if you don’t want things to get messed up in your shoes while hiking on elevated slopes or snowy climates, then shoes are not the right way to go.
As has previously been said, with boots comes added weight. How are you planning to enjoy your hike when all your energy will get drained on carrying such heavy weight on your feet? But then again shoes are incapable of keeping your feet safe or providing extra support on elevated climbs.
They will in fact, only drain your energy all the more. Thus after weighing the advantages and disadvantages of both these choices, it is wise to choose a hiking boot over a hiking shoe.
Besides, drying your boot sure takes up a long time. But that’s not entirely the boot’s fault. How much time a boot takes to dry entirely depends on the material that it is made of. Mesh boots, for instance, dries up much quicker than other boots. Also, if you buy waterproofed boots it will keep your feet absolutely clean even if you step in puddles.
What Should I Opt For?
Both these footwears have their fair share of pros and cons. Thus, glorifying one over the other will be justice to none. Both these choices are equally good. What matters here is your preference. If you want your feet to stay well protected throughout the journey, then go for a hiking boot. However, if you want to travel light and enjoy the hike, opt for a hiking shoe.
Boots are suited to experienced travelers who are not bothered much by heavy weight, whereas shoes are worthy of being worn by travelers who put comfort above everything else.
If your feet can go long hours without air then boots are for you. But, if you are highly prone to blisters at the slightest drop of sweat then shoes are what you should consider.
The debate over which is better hasn’t been settled yet. Both, hiking shoes and hiking boots have their own advantages. One might be good for some and not for the other. However, if one tries to analyze the features of the two choices and match it with their own needs, they will come to an apt decision.