Hiking shoes and hiking boots may seem to share a similar function, but they are vastly different. Hiking boots are heavier and offer more protection on long excursions in extreme terrain. Hiking shoes generally offer less protection from the elements but are lighter and ideal for those looking for speed on hikes or trail runs.
Hiking Boot Tread
Hiking boots generally have a more aggressive tread, with deeper lugs to ensure traction over a long trek.
Hiking Shoe Tread
Hiking shoes have treads that are more comparable to running shoes with shallower lugs than hiking boots to keep traction while maintaining a quicker pace.
Hiking boot uppers are usually mid- to high-top length, offering more ankle support and protection from debris, while hiking shoes are generally low-cut to allow for more ankle flexibility.
Hiking Shoe Cushioning
The cushioning in hiking shoe midsoles is geared toward absorbing the pounding of a fast hike or a trail run.
Hiking Boot Cushioning
The more dense midsoles in hiking boots are made to absorb the weight of a pack over a longer trek.
Article Written By Billy Brown
Billy Brown is an outdoor sports writer living in Northern California.
An avid rock climber and trail runner, he's been writing about outdoor activities, fitness and gear since 2005. He regularly contributes to "The Record Searchlight," uncooped.com, and Trails.com, as well as other print and online publications. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Simpson University and is a NASM-certified personal trainer.