Are Army Boots Good For Hiking? – All You Need To Know in 2023

“Are army boots good for hiking?” If this thought has crossed your mind and got you typing the same question on Google, then voila! You’ve come to the right place!

This article will cover everything from the differences between army boots and hiking boots, the pros and cons of wearing army boots for hiking, and some of the best army boots you can get for yourself. 

Army boots are primarily used for combat with the United States Army in conjunction with the Army Combat Uniform

There are two types of army combat boots – one made for temperate weather and one specifically meant to be worn during hot weather. 

As the name suggests, what makes them different from hiking boots is that army combat boots are designed for combat used for the military, whereas hiking boots are made specifically for hiking.

While combat boots can be used for hiking, there are some pros and cons that we will further discuss in this article. 

It is essential to remember that it is vital to wear proper footwear suitable for your feet to build support and comfort. The right pair of shoes will protect your feet and provide good traction when you hike without compromising how you feel in them. 

Without further ado, let’s begin and find out if army boots are suitable for hiking!


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Are Army Boots Good For Hiking? 

Essentially, no, army books are not good for hiking. Although you can use army combat boots for hiking, it is not the best choice. These boots are uncomfortable and heavy and are not optimized for hiking. Most hikers would prefer wearing lighter footwear like trail runners or hiking shoes. 

Army boots are not designed for hiking. However, despite being heavy, rugged, and not the most comfortable pair of shoes you’ll put on, they will undoubtedly get the job done.

One of the downsides is that they can be cumbersome to walk in – quite similar to wearing ankle weights while you walk. 

With this being said, if you find yourself comfortable and supported in a pair of army boots, then incredible! For most people, army boots can be too much for their feet.

It is important to know that there are different brands of boots that are more compliant and will feel more comfortable than military-issued boots.

Advantages of Using Army Boots For Hiking                                                            

  • Have stiffer soles compared to regular hiking shoes 
  • Tougher exteriors 
  • Rugged
  • Better suited for carrying heavy loads 
  • A higher ankle provides more support, keeps our debris, and keeps you dry when crossing streams. 
  • More durable

Army boots can be suitable for hiking for those who are comfortable wearing them, especially for hikers and backpackers looking for something sturdy. It is very durable and has good ankle support. 

They are made to survive extreme conditions and can be used across different terrains, making them ideal for backpacking and intense tracks. 

Disadvantages of Using Army Boots For Hiking 

  • Can be uncomfortable 
  • It does not offer much foot support 
  • It takes a while to break into
  • Heavy and can cause feet to tire faster
  • Not suitable for summer hikes 

The insides of army boots can be pretty warm and stuffy.

 They are also not easy to pack as they are heavy and take up a lot of space which can be a bit of a hassle if you plan to travel and hike. 

They are not suitable for long-distance walking or longer trails. As combat boots for hiking do not have much internal foot support and lack flexibility, you may find your feet hurting sooner than you want to on longer courses, so best to invest in proper hiking shoes. 

What To Look Out For In A Good Pair Of Army Boots For Hiking?

The most important things to look out for in a pair of army boots that you plan to use for hiking are:

  • Durability 
  • Stability
  • Good ankle support 
  • Good fit 
  • Comfort (Breaking it in is necessary)
  • Breathability
  • Water resistance 

The different types of military boots within the hiking boots category are as follows: 

  • Traditional low-cut models with flexible midsoles are a favorite among ultralight backpackers for long-distance journeys. 
  • Backpacking boots are designed for more strenuous hikes – great for carrying heavier loads and often used for on and off-trail long trips.
  • Day hiking boots with mid-to-high cuts are designed for shorter trips and need to be broken in before being worn to avoid blisters. 

The upper materials of the boot affect how durable, water-resistant, and breathable a pair of army boots are. Some of the options you’ll have include: 

  • Full-grain leather 
  • Nubuck leather 
  • Split-grain leather
  • Synthetics 
  • Vegan leather
  • Synthetic insulation

On the other hand, the midsoles impact the cushioning and stiffness of the boot. It can affect your comfort and stability when you explore different terrains. If comfort is your priority, look for those with polyurethane or EVA midsoles for better, comfy adventures on the trails. 

Next but not least is the internal support of the military-style hiking boots, which include 3-5mm thick -inserts called shanks that are placed in between the outsole and midsole. Below the shank, you’ll find semi-flexible inserts called plates. 

The outsoles usually feature lug and heel patterns and are mostly made of rubber which has additives added to them to improve grip in the shoe and boost hardness.

Crampon capability is also essential if you plan to go backpacking in winter or mountaineering. 

Your combat boots for hiking should fit snugly and have enough room to wiggle your toes around.

After a long day of walking or hiking, the feet tend to swell due to the increased muscle use and limited blood flow to your muscles which can cause swelling. 

Tips For Hiking In Army Boots 

1. Plan Ahead 

There are many ways to break in a pair of army boots for hiking, and it can take a long to get through them all.

Make sure you plan and give yourself at least one month to break your boots in after buying them to ensure they fit you perfectly before hitting the trails.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice! 

As soon as you receive your boots, we recommend treating them like slippers. Wear them indoors with a pair of hiking socks or arch supports that you usually use on the trails. 

Lace the boots snugly and be sure to position the tongue at just the right spot to ensure that the boots crease correctly, and use them as you usually would at home. This will allow you to see how they feel with light use. 

The goal is to find any potential hot spots when you wear your boots.

A few spots may be irritating, and it’s completely normal. 

However, should you feel any pain in your feet, cover these areas with duct tape or moleskin, and then begin working on the parts of the boots that are causing you pain. 

Leather conditioner or leather softener can add moisture and oil to leather boots to reshape them to fit your foot better. 

Once applied, stuff them with newspaper or towels and leave them to dry or put them on so that they can better contour to your foot. Optionally, you can use a rubbing bar to dull the pain spots on the inside of your boots

3. Take Your Boots For A Walk Outside

If you can walk indoors without incurring anything more than a slight irritation, you can start your boots outside for short strolls. 

Take a walk around the block when you get home from work or use them to run short errands (no more than 10 minutes). During this time, you’ll notice that creases are beginning to form across the front of your boots, right around where your toes are connected to the ball of your foot. Bend this crease gently a few times to make them more flexible and spacious. 

4. Embrace The Outdoors 

When your walks become easier, slowly increase how long you spend walking in your new military-style hiking boots. If your 10-minute walks are getting too easy, raise them to 20 – 30 minute walks every day for one week. 

The following week, add 10 – 15 minutes and make sure you step out of the sidewalks every once in a while. They’re meant for the trails and should be trained to explore these areas properly. Walk through some parks, cut through grass, and find some small hills and bumps to walk through. 

On your last week, carry your fully loaded backpack to help your boots settle into their proper form and carry your load efficiently before going on your trail adventure. 

Some other tips and tricks that can be helpful when hiking in combat boots include: 

  • You can use alcohol to stretch your boots. Soak cotton balls with alcohol and moisten the tight spots on your boots. Then, put your shoes on and walk around to get the alcohol working on expanding your boots.
  • A hairdryer can also be helpful to help break in your boots. While wearing your boots with your socks on, use the dryer to heat the areas that feel tighter in your boots. Remember to flex your feet while you do and watch the leather expand! 

Best Army Boots For Hiking 

1. Under Armour Valsetz 1.5 Military and Tactical Boot

are army boots good for hiking

What we like about these army boots for hiking

  • Made of synthetics and textile 
  • Updated textile uppers
  • Supportive
  • Long-lasting 

What we didn’t like: 

  • It takes a while to break-in   
  • Soft soles tend to wear out faster with more use
  • Discolors quickly

The Under Armour Valsetz Military and Tactical Boot is one of the best army boots for hiking. It is comfortable and has good tread and soft soles that provide excellent cushioning. It is made of synthetic material suited for rough use compared to most “leather substitute” leather. 

This pair of boots offers good flexibility, a wide range of motion, and freedom to move around. They last long in winter or cold conditions, but these boots also provide warmth without compromising breathability, so you know it’s a steal! 

2. Reebok’s Women’s 8” Sublite Cushion Tactical Boots 

are army boots good for hiking

What we like about these army boots for hiking: 

  • Made of leather and textile 
  • Rubber soles
  • Full-foot flex grooves 
  • Lightweight cushioning 
  • Available in wide sizes

What we didn’t like: 

  • Lack shock absorbency 
  • Minimal arch support 
  • It may not last very long 

The Reebok’s Sublite Tactical Boots are comfortable and lightweight, perfect for those looking for a pair of sturdy boots without compromising comfort. They do take a while to break into, but they can be perfect for long-hour use with practice. 

They have roomy toe space without being too bulky which can be great for women looking for army boots for hiking catered to wider feet. These military-style hiking boots also come with gel soles that cushion your feet perfectly for a cramp-free hike. 

3. Under Armour Women Stellar Military and Tactical Boots

are army boots good for hiking

What we like about these army boots for hiking

  • Durable 
  • Water-resistant 
  • Dries quickly
  • Comfortable 
  • Good traction 

What we didn’t like: 

  • Narrow fit
  • Bulky
  • It takes a while to break-in 

If you’re looking for something lightweight and comfy, the Under Armour Stellar Military Boots are the one for you. They perform well in cold weather with their well-insulated interior and provide supreme comfort with their arch support. 

They also last very long and are durable, perfect for rough terrains and prolonged use. However, it is advisable to stretch them out properly before wearing them out and avoid getting any blisters. 

4. Cestfini Snow Tactical Trekking Boots For Women

are army boots good for hiking

What we like about these army boots for hiking

  • Made of leather and textile 
  • Upgraded rubber soles
  • High-quality breathable lining 
  • Comfortable cushioning 
  • Stylish

What we didn’t like: 

  • Prone to mildew formation  
  • Sizes can run big
  • It doesn’t last long 

If style and comfort are your forte, the Cestfini Snow Tactical Boots may pique your interest. These lightweight tactical boots for hiking are a great addition if you’re looking for something light, supportive, and comfortable. 

This pair of combat boots for hiking works well on wet and slippery surfaces, with its rubber soles providing excellent traction for any surface. It also has a fantastic vent design that keeps your feet dry and breathable even on rocky and wet trails. 

5. FREE SOLDIER Tactical Boots 

are army boots good for hiking

What we like about these army boots for hiking

  • Durable 
  • Anti-skid soles
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable 
  • Lightweight 
  • Good ankle support 

What we didn’t like: 

  • Insoles can feel uncomfortable
  • Soles are stiff 
  • Tend to be looser around the feet area
  • Gets dirty easily 

The Free Soldier Men’s Tactical Boots are a good pair of hiking combat boots that are durable and scratch-resistant. It has EVA midsoles and has fantastic cushioning for comfort. It also comes with a strengthened toe cap and heel that offers extra protection and ankle support. 

The middle part of these boots is made of Lycra fabric that is relatively thin and has vented holes on the side to improve breathability, ventilation, and moisture drainage, making it comfortable to wear in the summer.

Are Military Boots Good For Everyday Use?

Military boots are a viable option for everyday wear or special occasions besides hiking. They are comfortable and practical, and more importantly, they come in different styles for the different types of individuals that wear them. Comfortable, stylish, and functional – they sound perfect for those looking to wear them daily. 


In conclusion, while using army boots for hiking may not be the best, it doesn’t mean you can’t use them. They come with significant advantages – more durable, more rigid exteriors, more support, and excellent traction. 

And the fact that it is more suited to extreme weather and heavy loads makes them a perfect addition for those who enjoy rugged terrains and extreme adventures.

It is crucial to ensure that you use proper shoes (or boots) for hiking to minimize discomfort and injuries. It is necessary to have adequate support and comfort, especially if you intend on wearing them for long periods. 

We hope this simple guide has helped you understand the pros and cons of wearing army boots for hiking and what to look out for when getting the perfect pair of army boots for hiking. Good luck!  

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