Hiking boots vs Hunting boots: What’s the difference? Aren’t they all boots?
Gosh – if I could tell you how long I have spent poring over the selection of boots on Amazon trying to figure out which boots are going to give me the most bang for my buck, I’d be writing this article for a long time!
Here’s me after a long day of figuring out the differences between hiking boots and hunting boots.
If you are new here, Hi, I am Aisha Preece ! I am an avid solo female traveller and I LOVE hiking! It’s free, good for your health and you get to see so many exciting parts of the world, through hiking 🙂
Luckily, all that research is going to benefit you, my beloved reader! You know I’d do anything for this awesome community that supports me so unconditionally!
So let’s get right to it!
Maybe you’ve decided to start exploring the great outdoors a bit more. And you’ve decided you need a pair of boots before you start.
Hiking boots and hunting boots are both incredibly specialized footwear meant for the outdoor adventurer.
However, they serve totally different purposes and, therefore, are incredibly different.
If you’re considering buying one pair of boots to hike and hunt in, read on to find out why that’s not recommended!
At A Glance: Hiking Boots Vs Hunting Boots: What’s The Difference?
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What Are Hiking Boots?
Hiking is described as ‘the activity of going for long walks, especially across country.’ So hiking boots are made to allow you to do just that: Go on long walks in the countryside!
Hiking boots need to be lightweight so you can walk long distances easily. They need to provide you with good traction so you don’t slip on muddy tracks.
They need to protect your ankles against injury as you walk sometimes on uneven surfaces and while carrying heavy backpacks.
A hiking boot can make or break your hiking trip. A good hiking boot will allow you to comfortably walk long distances while enjoying the views as you bask in nature.
A good hiking boot is like your best friend on a hike.
A bad hiking boot is like that toxic family member who makes your hike so miserable that you never want to hike, ever again!
Yup – I went there. O___O
What Are Hunting Boots?
Hunting boots are more heavy-duty than hiking boots. Hunters tend to stay off-track, heading into the woods and marshes.
Their boots must be sturdier to walk through the wilderness and provide excellent traction.
Hunters tend to hunt in the cooler months, and therefore, their boots need to keep them warm.
Going off-track also means being exposed to the elements: insects, snakes, and anything else that bites.
Hunting boots tend to be made of sturdier material to protect the hunter from all those bites that they may be exposed to.
Hunting boots tend to be more expensive in general. But a good hunting boot can last for years if you look after them well.
Hiking Boots Vs Hunting Boots: What’s The Difference?
Hiking boots and hunting boots differ in several ways.
Hiking boots and hunting boots are both taller than your average running shoes. Hiking boots tend to come up to the ankle.
This protects you from rolling your ankle while you walk on uneven surfaces or due to heavy backpacks. Ankle support is essential in hiking boots.
Hunting boots also come up taller than your average shoes. The difference, though, is that hunting boots tend to come up much higher.
They can be up to your calf, or sometimes, depending on the type you buy, they can even come up to your knee.
Hunters tend to go off track mostly, beating through bushes and long grass. Long grass is the home for many insects and even snakes.
Hunting boots come up high to protect the hunter from insect bites (which tend to bite at the ankles).
If you’re going to be hunting in an area known for snakes, then definitely get the even taller ones that come up to your knee to protect yourself from snake bites.
Hiking tends to be a summer activity. It could also be a spring or fall activity. While hiking, you tend to keep moving. Which keeps you warm.
And that’s why hiking boots usually don’t really have any or much insulation. Because there simply isn’t any need for it.
You could be one of those people who like to hike during winter. But if you are going to be hiking (or wading) through snow, then a typical hiking boot is simply not going to cut it.
Make sure to search for a ‘winter hiking boot’ or ‘snow hiking boot’.
Hunting, on the other hand, tends to be done during cooler months. And even if it isn’t, hunters sometimes stay in one spot or move very little while trying to find prey.
It’s hard to keep warm while staying still. Which is why hunting boots almost always come with insulation.
When you walk for miles and miles, your feet will get sweaty. There’s just no way around it.
This is why hiking boots are made with breathable materials so your perspiration can evaporate away.
Sweaty feet that stay sweaty are a surefire way to get athlete’s foot, and nobody wants that!
Hunters tend to wade through swamps and marshes while tracking their prey.
A breathable boot will just let all that water into their boot, and waterlogged boots are not a fun experience for anyone.
Hunting boots need to be waterproof to keep all that water out. You can’t really get a boot that is waterproof and breathable, and you gotta know where your priorities lie.
A waterproof boot while hunting is much more important than a breathable one.
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Hiking boots vs hunting boots: hunting boots are taller, have more insulation, and are made of heavier materials that are waterproof. Well, they must be heavier then!
That’s right! An average hunting boot will almost always be heavier than an average hiking boot.
But that’s okay; since hunters move around less and sometimes stay still waiting for prey, a heavy boot isn’t going to be that bad.
However, you give a hiker a heavy boot, and it will really impact the distance they’re able to cover.
And that’s why hiking boots are much more lightweight than hunting boots. Although, they’re still going to be heavier than running shoes.
They both look like boots, well, duh.
But since hunters need to stay hidden and not get spotted by their prey, you’ll see that hunting boots almost always are in some sort of camouflage pattern.
You’re not going to be finding any neon yellow or pink laces on them!
Hiking boots, on the other hand, although they tend to be brown, can have splashes of neon colors or nice neon laces.
If you fainted in the middle of a hike into a bush, you’d want someone to be able to spot your shoes sticking out, right?
Jokes aside, a splash of neon on your hiking boots isn’t going to do anything.
But a splash of neon on your hunting boots can alert your prey, and then you will have to go home without actually hunting anything.
Types Of Hunting Boots
1. Rubber Hunting Boots
Rubber hunting boots are made for hunters who stand around in marshland or swamps. It keeps your feet dry.
Rubber boots usually come up pretty high, even up to your knees. They tend to be made of stiffer material, so it’s not great if you plan on walking long distances.
2. Snake Hunting Boots
Snake hunting boots can be made of either rubber or leather. As the name suggests, a snake-hunting boot is supposed to protect you from snake bites.
That’s why the boot will come up to your knee to protect a bigger portion of your leg.
They are also made of much thicker material, making them puncture-resistant.
3. Upland Hunting Boots
Upland hunting boots are made for hunting on grassland. The grass isn’t that long, so upland hunting boots only usually come up to just above the ankles.
Insulation also isn’t really a priority in these boots.
They will still be waterproof; it’s hard to find a hunting boot that is not waterproof.
It provides enough traction for grassland but isn’t the best choice if you decide to climb up a mountain to hunt.
Based on these features, upland hunting boots are lighter than other hunting boots. If you’re looking for hiking hunting boots, an upland hiking boot would be your best bet.
4. Mountain Hunting Boots
Mountain hunting boots provide much better traction than upland hunting boots. Hunters climbing up rocky surfaces would need this traction.
Higher elevation means colder temperatures, so mountain hiking boots are usually the best insulated hunting boots.
Best Hunting Boots
If you’re starting out hunting and want to invest in just one good hunting boot, this would be it. The best hunting boots for men is the Thorogood 1957 Flyway Hunting Boots.
They’re waterproof and have amazing shock absorption properties.
More importantly, they have sturdy soles for uneven terrain but they are flexible enough for easy movement.
They look and feel great; you can’t go wrong with them!
Types Of Hiking Boots
1. Hiking Shoes
Appearance-wise, hiking shoes will be low-cut as compared to other hiking boots.
They resemble athletic shoes and tend to have much more flexible midsoles for easy movement.
This also makes it much lighter compared to other hiking boots and is excellent on easy-to-moderate trails.
If your trail is uneven or you might be going off-track, however, definitely go for something else with much more ankle support. Hiking shoes for hunting is definitely a no-no.
These are great for beginner hikers. The weight of your boot shouldn’t make you hate hiking.
2. Day Hiking Boots
Day hiking boots will have a higher cut than hiking shoes. They can be mid-cut (come up to your ankle bone) or high-cut (above your ankles).
You will need some ankle support when you walk for long distances.
Day hiking boots are slightly sturdier than hiking shoes but are still pretty flexible for easy walking. They provide better traction than a hiking shoe, as well.
These are the best hiking boots to own if you want to own just one.
3. Backpacking Boots
Are you planning a multi-day hiking trip? Are you planning on carrying a stove, tent, food, and water? Are you going to be climbing uphill while carrying all this?
Then a backpacking boot is what you need! They’re high-cut, providing excellent ankle support while you carry that heavy backpack.
That terrain you plan on hiking on also requires much sturdier soles, which a backpacking boot provides.
A backpacking boot is great for multi-day, uneven, and off-trail hikes. The qualities of this boot make it much more durable than other hiking boots.
So a good investment will last you a long time.
If you’re looking for hunting hiking boots, a backpacking boot would be your best bet.
Best Hiking Boots
The shoe claims to be ‘as agile as a trail running shoe with the stability and grip needed for a technical terrain,’ and I completely agree!
These babies have saved me a world of pain and quite possibly a twisted ankle or two!
FAQs on Hiking Boots Vs Hunting Boots
Can I Use Hiking Boots For Hunting?
You can use a backpacking hiking boot for hunting.
It isn’t the best idea, but it isn’t the worst either. If you really had to go hunting today, and all you have are hiking boots to wear, that’s alright then.
A backpacking boot would probably make the best hiking boots for hunting.
They still provide you with traction so you don’t slip on wet surfaces. They come up to the ankle to protect you from some injuries, maybe not all.
But do remember that if you are going to be hunting in the middle of a swamp, the hiking boot will not help you much!
Your feet will be wet and waterlogged for however long you’re hunting. And that is not my idea of a good time!
Can I Use Hunting Boots For Hiking?
An upland hunting boot can be used for hiking since they’re lighter.
However, even the upland hunting boot will not be breathable like a hiking boot, and your feet will not like that!
Are hunting boots good for hiking? As I mentioned, hunting boots have all these extra features (taller, insulation, and waterproof materials), which make them heavier.
Wearing heavy boots while hiking long distances will not be fun. After a while, just lifting your heavy boot to take the next step will feel like asking the impossible.
If you own an upland hunting boot, it might be doable to go hiking since they’re lighter. But any other hunting boot is not recommended for long-distance hiking.
While hiking and hunting boots are both boots, they’re made for very different purposes.
Even within hiking and hunting boots, there are different types for different types of hiking and hunting.
All this makes it very difficult to really have just one boot to fit all your needs.
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