For most people, there isn’t much difference between hunting boots and hiking boots. After all, they are both sturdy footwear that can be used in outdoor activities. As a matter of fact, beginners might not even determine the distinction between the two.
However, knowing what type of boots to wear is crucial especially if you’re planning to go on a long hike that includes walking on uneven, rocky terrain.
In general, both the hiking and hunting boots have sturdy soles that are weatherproof, and they also provide insulation and ankle support. Depending on the type of boot, some are better at one dimension than the other, which will determine which boot is the best for you.
In this article, we will talk about the differences between hiking boots and hunting boots, and which one is better for you.
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Hiking vs. Hunting Boots: Which Is Better?
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between a hunting boot and a hiking boot is their weight.
On average, the former weighs around 2.5 pounds (1.13 kg) while the latter is about 5 pounds (2.3 kg).
The reason why hiking boots are more lightweight is that they are meant to be worn for longer periods of time. Therefore, they should be comfortable and easy to wear even when walking on rocky trails.
When hiking, more weight means that you will wear out much quicker, which means that having the lightest but most durable items are necessary.
On the other hand, hunting boots have better protection, thicker sole, and added insulation which makes them heavier.
Aside from the weight, there is also a significant difference between the height of hunting boots and hiking boots.
While both are available at ankle height, you will often find that hunting boots are taller, which makes them heavier.
Why are hunting boots taller? While on a hunt, hunters usually hide or walk in the tall brush, and having a taller boot provides extra protection against animals, insects, reptiles, or plants.
A shoe’s insulation is measured in grams. How many grams of insulation are present in the boot?
Basically, the higher the count of insulation, the better its insulation.
Most often, hiking boots are designed for warmer months because most people hike in summer. However, you may still find hiking boots that are created specifically for the winter season if you do a search with the words “winter” or “snow”. These types of hiking boots have better insulation than the standard ones.
Meanwhile, hunting is usually done during colder seasons, which means that they have more insulation to keep the hunter’s feet warm and comfortable.
Probably one of the most important differences between a hiking boot and a hunting boot is their specific purpose. After all, there wouldn’t really be a distinction between the two if they were used for the same purpose.
When we talk about hiking, we think of something that involves a lot of walking from flat land, uneven terrain, and rocky mountain trails to wet puddles, and more. Therefore, manufacturers consider these possibilities when designing the perfect hiking boots.
That said, a hiking boot should be comfortable, provide excellent traction and ankle support, and it should be lightweight and durable.
On the other hand, hunting boots will involve a lot of standing and hiding. For hunters, keeping the miles low while waiting for the prey is more ideal than walking for miles.
With this, hunting boots are designed to have great insulation to keep the user’s feet warm and dry, but they should also be sturdy enough so you don’t get injured in off-trail terrain.
The material used is also different in hiking boots and hunting boots. Because hiking boots are designed to be lightweight but durable, most often, a combination of synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester, suede, and split-grain leather is used. Mesh panels are also added for increased breathability.
Meanwhile, since hunting boots are designed to be sturdy, yet comfortable, full-grain leather, mesh, and nylon are usually used.
At a glance, you might think that hiking boots and hunting boots are similar in appearance. However, most hunting boots will come in a camouflage pattern or earth tones. Hiking boots are also usually made in earth tones with a hint of color.
Hunters may wear bright orange on their jackets and hats, but not on their boots. Hikers, however, use more stylish footwear so that they won’t feel awkward or out of place whenever they walk off a trail and into a more urban setting.
If you have a sudden hunting session with your friends and you run out of time to buy proper footwear, and all you have at home is hiking boots, then it is better than using sneakers or running shoes. While hiking boots are not the best option for hunting, they can still be used.
Hiking boots can be used for hunting when the weather is not too cold. However, if you’re going on a hunt that involves standing in swamps and puddles, then hiking boots will not provide you with the comfort and protection that hunting boots do.
Keep in mind that hunting boots are designed to protect your legs and feet from any elements on the brush, which a hiking boot cannot always provide.
What if you are going on a hike, but the only footwear that you have closest to hiking boots is hunting boots? Can you use them to hike?
Although it can be done, using hunting boots to hike is definitely not recommended mainly because they are much heavier than hiking boots, thus wearing you out much quicker. This means that even if you hike using hunting boots, you may not be able to go as far as when you are wearing hiking boots.
Are They Necessary?
If you’re just a beginner, you might be wondering: is investing in a boot really necessary? That all depends on how engaged you are in the activity.
If you’re going on a hike or hunt that involves walking on simple trails, then having these types of boots isn’t really necessary. Any good shoe that provides ankle support and traction will suffice. Of course, wearing any type of shoe without proper support isn’t suitable for these types of activities.
You might find some of them at a much cheaper price, but don’t expect high-quality boots that will meet your expectations.
That said, going on a hike or a hunt does not necessarily mean that you have to spend a lot of money on proper gear. You can start with whatever you have in your closet, and then expand your gear from there.
How to Choose
If you have to choose between a hiking boot and a hunting boot, which would be the best for you? To help you decide, you have to consider the intensity of the activity.
What kind of trail are you going to? Is it an established one, or are you going to walk on off-trails, uneven, rocky, wet terrains?
If you’re going for a walk on an established terrain, then hiking boots will do just fine. Hiking boots are lighter, and they also have that ankle support and traction enough for you to overcome those rocky sections of the terrain.
However, if you’re expecting a trail that involves tall grasses, then a hunting boot will be a great choice to protect you from any elements that may be lurking there.
While the hunting boot and hiking boot look similar, each has its own key feature that will help you decide which one of them is best for you.
In summary, hiking boots are lightweight yet durable footwear that is best suited for long hikes. On the other hand, hunting boots are an excellent option for hunters who will be crossing tall grasses and off-trails.
Before this article ends, let me share a quick tip when it comes to soles. Be cautious on wet and slippery surfaces. If you’re going on a hike or a hunt in cold weather, it is best to get boots with a softer rubber sole for better grip and flexibility which will help prevent sliding or falling.