Hiking In Cowboy Boots? Yes Or No And Side Effects!

Wondering if you can go hiking in cowboy boots?

So, I love hiking! I took it up when I moved to New Zealand, and I’ve been hooked ever since! 

My favorite hikes are Roy’s Peak Track in Wanaka, New Zealand, and Everest Base Camp in Nepal. 

As an avid hiker, I make sure to always use the correct type of footwear. As much as cowboy boots are fashionable to a certain extent, hiking in cowboy boots aren’t ideal because they aren’t the comfiest shoes.

I’ve tried walking in cowboy boots, which are bearable on easy trails or casual hikes. 

However, proper hiking typically involves going a long distance through rugged terrains and steep slopes. 

So, if you plan on doing it often, you may want to opt for footwear suitable for your hiking environment.

Remember, your safety should be your utmost priority when doing outdoor activities. 

And if you’ve seen or worn cowboy boots, you would understand how chunky-looking and bulky they are. 

Below, I’ll provide a few reasons why you shouldn’t hike wearing cowboy boots and recommend other types of footwear more suitable for hiking.

I’ll also share some side effects of wearing boots while hiking too! O_O

hiking in cowboy boots


  • Reasons cowboy boots aren’t advised for hiking
  • Some side effects of hiking in cowboy boots
  • Reasons proper hiking boots are better options
  • 5 best affordable shoes you can use for hiking
  • Cowboy boots when you don’t have a choice

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Why Are Cowboy Boots Not Made For Hiking?

Unlike hiking boots, cowboy boots were first crafted as riding boots – mainly for cowboys and riders. 

They eventually became practical daily footwear for cowboys while working or riding horses safely. 

The narrow tips on cowboy boots were constructed to fit their toes easily on stirrups, whereas the heel ensures their feet are in place. 

The cushion insoles and material made out of thick leather are to ensure comfort, safety, and durability while on the job. 

Yes, cowboy boots have similar features as hiking boots. But there are valid reasons why it isn’t advisable to hike in them. Let’s uncover them in depth!

And I know you may think you look super cute hiking in cowboy boots (#daisydukes), but let me share why they aren’t good for your feet! 

  1. No Traction Or Stability

The soles of cowboy boots can be made from either rubber or thick leather. 

However, unlike hiking boots, they are smooth or have only slight treads designed for primarily even surfaces. 

While they help with traction for cowboys when working on a ranch, they serve little help for hikers, especially when you have to go up steep hills and walk on rough stones or boulders. 

In this situation, a hiker can quickly lose their balance or stability while pursuing their venture. The lack of traction may also cause them to lose grip and slip easily. 

Listen, having front teeth is way more important than looking cute in cowboy boots… or is it? You tell me! HA!

  1. Inconvenient Design And Uncomfortable

Cowboy boots are designed to have heels with a narrowed foot tip, and the length itself reaches up to slightly below your knees. 

Its design provides little comfort for when you hike on challenging trails. Proving to contain inconvenient features for such situations can also impose safety issues for hikers.

You’ve noticed that a hiking boot can have similar features, such as having some heels. But its heels aren’t typically as high as those of cowboy boots. 

Also, hiking boots have thicker and broader heels made from rubber, which are meant to support rough terrains. 

The function of a cowboy boot’s heel is to grip stirrups, whereas the purpose of heels on hiking boots is to support your ankles and feet. 

  1. Heavy Weight 

The materials add to the weight since cowboy boots are typically made of high-quality and heavy-duty leather. 

Cowboy boots are often bulky, which will directly impact the quality of your hike as you must constantly lift your feet.

 The extra weight will cause your feet and legs to use more energy. 

Side Effects Of Hiking In Cowboy Boots

So, the answer to the question “Can you hike in cowboy boots?”, the short answer is: Yes, you can. But, it’s highly not recommended because of the reasons shared above. What will happen if you hike in cowboy boots?

There will be side effects on not only your feet but almost your whole body. Let me elaborate further below:

  1. Leg Injury

The heel height of cowboy boots can trigger knee pain as it adds pressure on your knees. 

I wrote above about how cowboy boots tend to have higher heels than hiking boots. 

Another fact is that a pair of cowboy boots must fit comfortably on your feet, but they aren’t often as snug as hiking boots.

 So, when doing strenuous activities like hiking, there may be excessive heel slippage, which then causes blisters

On top of that, their soles are stiff due to the materials they are made from. Therefore, they lack shock absorption and doesn’t cushion your feet – causing calluses or corns.

2. Back Pain

The stiff material of a heavy-duty leather cowboy boot can be uncomfortable and lead to back pain. 

The existence of the high heel causes your back to arch, which throws off your alignment and adds pressure to your spine.

 The height of the heel itself already causes some adverse effects on your back. 

Can you imagine what will happen if you throw hiking into the mix? Especially if you have to jump over the boulders at some point during your journey.

3. Slipping

The design and function of the cowboy boots – mainly its smooth sole – are made for even surfaces such as the ranch. Smooth soles don’t provide much support on rocky trails. 

So, using cowboy boots on a hike will increase your risk of slipping due to the lack of traction. And remember, constant slipping will lead to your feet sustaining injuries.

hiking in cowboy boots

Why Wearing Proper Hiking Boots Are Better?

Considering we’ve spoken about why cowboys are not made for hiking and will cause some side effects, let’s discuss something more positive. 

I’ll share a few reasons why wearing proper hiking boots are highly recommended. Read on below!

1. Better Tracking And Support

The treaded soles of hiking boots increase the center of gravity and protect you from slipping. 

They also help with shock absorption since the heels are made of thick, wide rubber, preventing injury risk. 

An example is when you must jump on rough terrains on your way down.

2. Comfort

You want to be comfortable when going on a hike, especially if you’re going on long treks. 

Hiking boots – especially their treaded soles and cushion insoles – are crafted to sustain rough and bumpy terrains and provide a better fit. 

So you’ll have fewer worries about whether your feet will terribly ache along the way or form blisters. 

3. Protection

Both cowboy boots and hiking boots are designed with the goal of offering a level of protection to their users.

In the case of cowboy boots, their design, sturdiness, and high length are meant to protect your feet when riding.

 In contrast, hiking boots are tested to withstand the conditions found along hiking trails, such as sharp roots.

5 Best Affordable Shoes Recommended For Hiking

Have I managed to convince you yet? Well, if you still have the urge to put on your cowboy boots, please put them down for the time being.

And if you also think, “Are chukka boots good for hiking?” unfortunately, no. Chukka boots are meant for formal wear and are not made for hiking, just like cowboy boots.

I can assure you that better and more well-suited shoes are out there. Let me share a list of boots or shoes you can use for hiking. These are a few of my favorites!

Hiking in Cowboy Boots
  1. Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot

These boots have handy features that provide durability, traction, comfort, and support. It is also constructed with the TECHLITE lightweight midsole technology.

 If you hate bulky boots (some hiking boots can be a bit heavy!), this will be perfect for you on top of being adaptable to different types of terrain. 

It’s also great for outdoorsy fashionistas, as it comes in multiple colors. Perfect for those who wish to mix and match for the gram! 

Hiking in Cowboy Boots
  1. ASICS Women’s Gel-Venture 8 Running Shoes

You can wear running shoes on a hike if you don’t know already. 

You can read about it here! And it is one of the reasons why these running shoes are included in the list. 

It has increased durability due to a recent change in design. The GEL technology used to construct also helps with better shock absorption and off-road traction. These shoes are designed mainly for those who want to have a pair of sneakers they can use in different ways.

Hiking in Cowboy Boots
  1. Merrell Women’s Moab 3 Hiking Shoe

These boots are a great example of hiking boots constructed with heels, which provide ample support in addition to the improved technology. 

This brand is famous for its focus on crafting hiking shoes that provide an all-purpose versatility. It is definitely recommended for those who are looking for high-quality hiking boots but are balling on a budget!

Hiking in Cowboy Boots
  1. Skechers Women’s Relaxed Fit Trego Alpine Trail Hiking Boot

Skechers are mainly known for providing comfort and support in all its line of footwear. And sure enough, these boots do not disappoint!

Its boot opening (around 9″) makes it easier for those with wide feet. Its footbed is constructed with foam and fabric that offers comfort at maximum—catering to those who may already have health issues but still prefer outdoor activities!

Hiking in Cowboy Boots
  1. Timberland Women’s Ellendale Hiking Boot

These boots are another excellent example of hiking boots that offer arch support and are also meant for wide feet, with their opening measuring around 11″.

Although, I believe that these boots will attract consumers who are more conscious of the environment. Their fabric linings are made from 50% recycled PET. The ultra-breathable material also provides ample comfort and support and is lightweight. 

What To Do If You Have To Hike In Cowboy Boots

Okay, so realistically, there will be a point in your life when you have no choice but to hike in cowboy boots. 

It could be because you want to spend less on boots that you may only sometimes wear. Or maybe you are working on a ranch but want to hike once in a while if there’s a trail nearby.

OR you may be on holiday at a beautiful farm in the countryside and have last-minute plans to hike after finding out that there’s a hiking path. 

Or maybe you are just in love with your cowboy boots.

 Or you are in the process of breaking into your cowboy boots and don’t want to miss any chance of wearing them.

So, what would you do if you found yourself in this situation then?

One tip is that you can opt for cowboy boots that have similar features to hiking boots, such as breathable cowboy boots. 

You can also find ones that offer some comfort and support with soles that can at least sustain a bit of bumpiness.

Make sure you also do thorough research on the internet on which cowboy boots are suitable for hiking. There are tons of information recommending the best cowboy boots for hiking. 

If you are more of a ‘walker’ instead, there are articles suggesting the best cowboy boots for walking as well.  

I have to say modern cowboy boots fare way better than the traditional ones. 

The improved design for cowboy boots is good news for those who don’t like owning too many pairs of shoes, so you can stick to purchasing your cowboy boots!

Here is an example of a modern cowboy boot you can buy! 

Hiking in Cowboy Boots

Does this answer your curiosity about why you shouldn’t go hiking in cowboy boots?

Now that we all understand why it is better to wear hiking boots rather than cowboy boots, keep your cowboy boots in the closet when it comes to hiking! 🙂

You can always bring them out on even more suitable occasions or when you’re out riding! Again, your safety should be your utmost priority when hiking. 🙂 

Has anyone ever tried hiking in cowboy boots? 

If you did, feel free to comment below and share the pros and cons of wearing those boots when hiking.

I’d love to hear and wonder if some people find cowboy boots comfortable when on a hike! 

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