Are Sperry boots good for hiking? Are duck boots good for hiking? Are you considering purchasing a Sperry duck boot for your upcoming hike?
You would probably come across readings that say duck boots are not good for hiking.
Yes, although duck boots perform well as waterproof shoes that can easily handle puddles and slush, they are not specifically designed for hiking.
However, it comes down to your definition of “hiking”.
Whether you are just doing a mile or more than 5 miles. If it is just casual hiking where you are planning to do less than a mile, then they will work just fine.
So, let’s read on! In this article, are Sperry boots good for hiking? I will also dive a little deeper into what duck boots are, including Sperry duck boots, and whether they are the right choice for your next hike.
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Are Sperry Duck Boots Good For Hiking?
Back to the question, are Sperry boots good for hiking? Similar to traditional duck boots, Sperry duck boots are not good for hiking unless for casual hikes – short and easy hikes. Are Sperry duck boots good for walking? For casual ones, yes.
One thing that Sperry has going for it is that it’s a very reputable and reliable company.
This means that you can be pretty sure that these boots no doubt will be waterproof and comfortable.
So, if you are going to hike in a traditional duck boot, you should go with a Sperry duck boot, although it is easier to get an LL Bean boot repaired compared to a duck boot. Also, a Bean boot tends to be even higher quality than a Sperry duck boot, so this can be something to consider.
History Of Sperry Boots
Let’s look into their history before I answer, are Sperry boots good for hiking?
Paul Sperry, a sailor on his boat one night, slipped and fell overboard into Long Island Sound. Since then, Sperry began finding ways to design a shoe that would avoid him falling off.
One day, he got the idea while watching his dog, a cocker spaniel named Prince, playing in the snow. He realized his dog was able to run nimbly and did not slip on the ice, writes Connecticut History.
Sperry then set out to design a shoe that wouldn’t slip either. A herringbone pattern of grooves in the sole is reminiscent of the cracks and grooves in a dog’s paw. The Top-Sider was invented in 1935 and Sperry has been a shoe company since then.
What Do I Love About Sperry Boots?
From all the different shoes tried, the biggest takeout is that Sperry boots are beyond comfortable and made so well.
The attention to detail in the materials used and the extra time taken in the design process result in a shoe that is good support and cushioning from heel to toe.
Sperry boot is a shoe you can wear for hours comfortably.
But, are Sperry boots good for hiking? That’s not at all what makes them the be-all.
It’s Sperry’s fashionable and functionality that makes them famous.
After all, they are very versatile- you can match your Sperry Black Boots or grey Sperry boots with any color from black to either chino or denim, they’ll stand proud anywhere.
What Sperry Boots Are Made Of?
Before you go further and read into the topic, are Sperry boots good for hiking? You need to know what Sperry Boots are made of.
Are Sperry duck boots warm? Sperry boots have a nice warm cozy microfleece lining inside with an overall fit that provides ample comfort, a nice warm Sperry boots.
The outside has a rubber sole, a waterproof rubber foot box and the top half of the boot is constructed from durable leather material, with rust-proof eyelets and rawhide barrel tie lacing.
According to Rancourt & Co., each piece of leather that is used at the factory where Sperrys are made, is inspected and sometimes discarded if not up to Sperry’s standards.
Other features include a non-marking rubber outsole with Wave-Siping tread and a side zipper which helps when taking the boot on and off.
How Is The Sizing For Sperry Boots?
The top opening circumference ranges from about 10-11 inches, depending on how you keep the laces tied. There are choices of 3 sizes for width – Slim, Medium, and Wide.
If you’re wearing thicker wool socks during winter, you can consider ordering up a size.
What do you think? Are Sperry boots good for hiking?
Sperry Duck Boots And Bowline Boots
For the kids, there are 2 options of Sperry boots kids – Sperry Duck Boots and Sperry Bowline Boots. Both boots work well in big snow and rain.
These boots work well in these weathers and keep the kids’ feet from being cold. Compared to the more rugged snow boots, the lighter sole made it easier and more flexible for them to move about and run around comfortably.
Also, the traction on these boots keeps kids from slipping.
What Are The Original Duck Boots?
He noticed that most hunters including himself have no hunting boots that could keep their feet dry and warm.
What Exactly Is A Duck Boot?
Duck boots are a blend of rain boots and work boots.
Bean came up with the idea and made his pair of boots with some help from a local cobbler. He combined the upper leather of traditional hunting boots with the rubber soles of rain boots.
The upper leather provides better flexibility for your movements while the rubber sole of the boot is to prevent feet from getting wet.
Hundreds of pairs were sold quickly but needed to be repaired due to a defect in the connection of the rubber and the leather. With some revision and improvisation, Bean came back with Duck Boots, also known as Bean Boots, and became a huge success.
Why Are They Called “Duck” Boots?
Bean called the hunting boots he invented “Maine Hunting/ Hiking Shoes”. This is because Bean was from Main, the extreme weather in northern New England state.
It was later called “Bean Boots/ Duck Boots” when L.L. Bean Company was established in 1912 to market and sell the shoes.
The name Duck Boots is because they are mainly used by hunters, especially duck hunters to hunt wild ducks and other waterfowl in swampy and muddy areas.
Also because the boots are fully waterproof, like the feathers of a duck. As the saying goes. “Like water off a duck’s back”. The boots are suitable for duck hunting as a little water doesn’t affect them at all.
The boots became popular among ordinary people too as they use the boots for outdoor activities that have contact with wet areas.
Similar to ducks who love the mud and water, people can now step on damp and slushy grounds comfortably without slipping and thus, the term duck boots became famous.
Why Are Duck Boots So Popular? What Are They Good For?
Duck Boots have been around and continuously gaining popularity for over a hundred years with no sign of going out of style. Over the years, there have been only minor changes to the original model.
There is also a limited Bean Boot as L. L. Bean only makes so many a year. They are also made to last a lifetime with local materials.
Duck Boots were originally planned to be a boot for hunters in cold and wet conditions. Now, they are also available for children and women to be worn on snowy or rainy days.
These boots originally came in only earth tones and dark colors but now they come in a wider range of colors. They also come in different styles such as the Sperry boots with heels to match your Sperry boots outfit.
What Makes A Good Hiking Shoe?
First things first, you should know what you are looking for.
When searching for the right shoe, there are many features as there is no one size fits all. All shoes are built for different conditions and situations you might encounter on the trail.
So you need to carefully factor that in and take your time in choosing the right shoe that fits you.
1. Types Of Hiking Boots
During hiking, every terrain puts different pressures on your shoes. Hence, this is why there are three types of categories for hiking shoes, each optimized for its sort of hike.
Lightweight hiking shoes (trail shoes), which look like trainers, are essentially reinforced running shoes. The main purpose of these shoes is to be light and breathable while still protecting your feet. Hence, come with basic support.
These lightweight hiking shoes are a favorite among long-distance backpackers, although they are designed mainly for day hikes.
This is because they are lightweight while still providing sufficient protection to keep your feet safe during hiking, although a sturdier shoe would provide more support.
Bear in mind these trail running shoes only provide basic support, hence lack of ankle support, which could leave you at risk of twisted ankles and other injuries.
Mountaineering boots are on the other hand, designed for challenging terrains such as hiking through rocky paths or icy glaciers, as they provide all the necessary extra protection and support to your feet.
No doubt they are much more heavy-duty compared to hiking shoes, waterproof and abrasion-resistant while keeping your feet warm.
Backpacking boots fall in between the two, as they are suitable for any terrain. These boots are ideal as they are durable and provide enough support to get you through most challenges in any terrain.
The wrong fabric used in making a hiking boot can cause so much suffering to your feet. It is a challenge to find a shoe with the right combination of breathability and waterproof, while still being a comfortable shoe.
Here I will break down the material to take into consideration when deciding on the right hiking shoe.
Full-grain leather is a famous fabric, used in many mountaineering boots as it is a versatile material and is very durable. For hikes that go through rough terrains, full-grain leather is fully protective and provides comfortability.
Examples of full-grain leather hiking boots include the Jim Green Men’s Razorback Boots Lace-Up Water Resistant Full Grain Leather Work or Hiking Boot.
Although it has waterproof properties and keeps you warm, the increased weight of these heavy-duty boots is something you have to deal with.
The saying “one pound on your feet equals five on your back” describes full-grain leather boots well.
You will only feel the heaviness of the shoe after a few miles down the trail.
Nonetheless, the valuable protection full-grain leather provides is well worth the weight for tougher and more challenging hikes.
A more breathable fabric would be split-grain leather, which offers less protection and is more suitable for casual hikers. Although it is less heavy-duty and has reduced water-resistant properties, it is still a durable material.
To compromise between protection and comfort, this fabric is often used with synthetic materials.
Nylon and polyester are one of the few synthetic materials that are used in the making of hiking shoes. One of the benefits of synthetic materials is easy to break in compared to leather.
Hence, shoes feel lighter and also dry faster, but still lack the water-resistant properties of leather.
3. Cuts And Heights
Hiking boots are available in different cuts and heights, which cater to different types of trekking. Lightweight hiking shoes are often low cut, and end below the ankle which leaves your ankle exposed and vulnerable to injury but allows more flexible motion.
Hence, it is advisable to wear shoes like this on easy, even, and well-maintained trails.
Mid-cut boots provide more ankle support and better protection and balance, but the one that provides the most protection is high-cut boots. These boots support your ankle fully and are essential for trails that are more adventure.
An example of renowned high cut boots that are suitable for hiking is the Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot.
4. Internal Support
You can see many hiking boots that come with devices that provide additional internal support which protects both your feet and the soles of your shoes, especially on rough terrain.
Shanks are an option, which is 3-5mm thick, sit between the midsole and outsole, and run underneath your foot arch. They stiffen the outsole, which probably makes you feel uncomfortable, but are important for a more balanced and stable fit.
Without it, your feet will feel bruised and tired after a long hike. An example of hiking boots with shanks is the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe.
Shanks vary in length, some run down the boot, others halfway. This feature hinders flexibility especially at the sole as it keeps your feet in an all-time flat position. Shanks make your boot heavier, but it all depends on the material the shank is made from.
Plates are another form of internal support, which are thinner and semi-flexible. These can be used in conjunction with shanks as additional protection to prevent your feet from wrapping around every rock and root you step on, which can be painful.
5. Rubber Outsoles
All hiking boots have rubber outsoles, the part of your boot that has the highest contact with the ground. Some prefer more hardness on the material for extra durability, hence they will have additives such as carbon.
This is usually seen in mountaineering boots, but the extra harness of the outsole can mean they feel slick if you go off-trail. The grip is very important in a hiking boot, so it is important to get a boot with enough traction.
If you’re regularly trying not to slip during your hike, the increased pressure on your muscles, especially on your calf, can be painful and damaging, whereas getting a boot with a good grip will make your hike much more pleasant.
So, what makes a good hiking shoe? Ideally, it would be the right balance between protection and comfort, and this depends on your personal hiking preferences.
In general, a degree of protection from the elements, breathability, water resistance, and comfort.
Pros/Cons Of Duck Boots For Hiking
Easy To Put On
1. PROS: Comfortable
Comfort is primarily accomplished because of the boot’s waterproof features. Avoiding water from entering your duck boots relieves your feet from getting wet, dirty, and cold which could occur when wearing ordinary shoes that are not waterproof.
2. PROS: Easy To Put On
Compared to other boots, duck boots are easily put on and removed. This is because of the open toe box that gets tightened by lower shoelaces.
3. PROS: Waterproof
Because of the waterproof feature, you can wear your duck boots and walk on wet and muddy trails without any worry.
Not only will you feel uncomfortable if your feet get wet while hiking, but prolonged exposure to wet conditions can also result in immersion or trenching of your foot, which causes skin, tissues, and nerve damage on your feet.
1. CONS: Fit
The rubber sole of duck boots is designed to be spacious to compensate for its lack of breathability. In most cases, you might not even feel it, but they are often too spacious inside.
This is not a problem for shorter walks, but the spaciousness inside will not be ideal for long-distance hiking. This is because when your feet have space to move around in a shoe, this will cause friction.
This, in turn, will result in blisters and will affect your hiking experience.
2. CONS: Ankle support
Duck boots provide ankle support to your feet but only to a certain degree. However, the support is not sufficient, especially when hiking on a challenging trail when feet are most flexed and arched.
The support is a little weak at the ankle area where the rubber and leather of the boots meet. You can find more padding and support in this area on ordinary hiking boots.
3. CONS: Breathability
The waterproof features of duck boots become impractical if you are hiking on dry terrains only. It becomes a downside because the duck boots lack breathability which will cause your feet to start sweating.
Sweat will result in wet feet/ socks which will be uncomfortable and might cause blisters.
4. CONS: Traction
The soles of duck boots are designed for muddy, wet, and slippery conditions – not for dry and rough terrain.
Duck boots do not have enough grip to handle uphill climbs, scaling rocky terrain, and climbing sharp rises that are desired by serious mountain hikers.
Best Duck Boots For Hiking (Different Brand)
Now let’s take a look at other alternative duck boots besides the famous Sperry duck boots and LL Bean Duck boots. These boots are some alternative duck boots for hiking, but one thing remains: duck boots are not suitable for hiking.
The North Face Shellista II Mid Boots are still not ideal for hiking, but they are at least proven to be a better substitute for a traditional duck boot.
They have the basic features of duck boots which are waterproof, sturdy, and keep your feet warm. However, when it comes to grip and ankle support, they sit between a traditional duck boot and a real hiking boot.
This might be an ideal boot for snowy weather, but keep in mind that they are also really heavy.
The Sorel Caribou Boot is in many ways comparable to the Shellista Boot. Similar to Shellista Boot, these boots are also very heavy for casual hiking and more suitable for snowy conditions.
These boots are more of a snow boot than an actual hiking boot. Yes, they still do keep your feet warm and are comfortable, but they are not recommended for longer hikes or hikes on challenging terrain.
Best Duck Boot Alternatives For Hiking
Now I will introduce to you some valid hiking alternatives to duck boots, specifically for colder temperatures. It covers the best hiking shoes at a reasonable price.
For snow hiking boots, these shoes are recommended.
Overall, they have no big downsides and they have all basics you need in a hiking shoe plus they are very lightweight. Suitable for extreme cold, up to -25F/-32C, depending on what you are looking for these might be too warm.
Not only they are ideal for hiking in very cold conditions, these boots have good traction too.
If you are not looking for snow hiking boots, the Salomon X Ultra is a good alternative.
Similar to Bugaboots, these boots can be used for cold conditions.
However, they are not made for extreme temperatures. If you are not hiking in temperatures lower than 10F/-12C, these boots will be more suitable.
Are Duck Boots Good For Snow?
Are Sperry Boots good for snow? Are Sperry snow boots good? Duck boots are probably one of the best boots for snow weather. The wool insulation keeps the feet warm and comfortable on a snowy day.
With the rubber sole and toe box seal-up features, these shoes are fully waterproof. This means snow will seep into your boot and make your feet cold.
Can You Wear Duck Boots In The Summer?
Sperry duck boots on sale? Summer is the best time to purchase your duck boots as they always run out in winter.
You can wear your duck boots if summer is damp where you live. Of course, you do not need insulation in summer. Low-cut is recommended to be worn with thin socks so that it is more breathable.
Can You Wear Duck Boots Year-Round?
These boots are practical and can be worn all year long. With their versatile look, these boots can be paired easily with your casual wear. You can tie the boots loosely for a casual look, but make sure to tighten them when you go through a wet situation.
How To Clean Duck Boots?
Most people would wear their duck boots around snow and wet situation.
Luckily, with its materials, they are easily cleaned with just soap, water, and a sponge. Just soak the sponge in the warm, soapy water and remember to just scrub only the rubber portion clean, not the leather.
Clean the leather separately with a leather cleaner. Use a dry, clean rag to wipe off any remaining dirt and excess moisture. To add on, you can use a shoe refresher to keep the interior clean and smells fresh.
FAQ: Are Sperry Boots Good For Hiking
What Is The Purpose Of Duck Boots?
So, what is the purpose of duck boots? The main purpose of Duck Boots is to offer all the warmth, water protection, and grippy traction of a terrific boot.
This comes along with features like over-the-ankle and the comfortable calf which are more flexible and easier to move compared to the traditional heavy and stiff snow boots.
Are Rubber Boots Good For Hiking?
Are rubber boots good for hiking? Yes, rubber boots are suitable for a variety of conditions including hiking. In a situation where you are hiking or backpacking on the wet and muddy ground, rubber boots will protect you and avoid slipping.
What Should You Not Wear While Hiking?
Wondering what should you not wear while hiking? Clothing that is too heavy or too loose are things you should avoid wearing while you hike. It can be a problem when you hike. If the weather is too hot, you can wear a loose top but do avoid jackets that are too heavy or bottoms that are too loose.
What Should I Wear On A Hiking Trip?
Thinking about what you should wear on a hiking trip? On a hiking trip, hiking sandals and sneakers are appropriate for most terrain, though longer treks may still require hiking boots.
Breathable fabrics are something to consider too, especially for tops, bottoms, and hiking socks to keep sweat off your skin. Choose a lighter color to wear too as they absorb less heat and keep you cool on hot days.
Are Sperry boots good for hiking?
So, are Sperry duck boots or duck boots in general good for hiking? The answer is a simple no. Duck boots are made ideal for cold and wet weather, but not up to the standard of a hiking boot.
They lack ankle support and traction and are often not breathable or too spacious. Although ankle support is undeniably better than trail running shoes, more protection is needed for duck boots if you do anything other than light and easy hikes.
If it is just a single short and simple hike, I would say they are an acceptable option (2-4 miles max). Anything more than 4 miles max, you should take a look at some of the alternatives covered in this article.
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