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Gone Outdoors: Hiking vs. Hunting Footwear

Our feet support our entire bodies, so it’s very important to wear the right footwear for the occasion. And when it comes to activities in the wilderness, good footwear can be considered a crucial part of your survival gear. It may be challenging to find the right hunting or hiking boots for your needs since they both have similar designs and features. This, however, also means that there are plenty of good choices. Hikers can choose to wear hunting boots, and hunters can choose to wear hiking shoes.

hiking footwear

Differences and Similarities Between Hunting & Hiking Boots

Regardless of whether you are looking for the right shoes for hiking, camping, surviving or hunting, you’ll find that both types of shoes have some advantages. And, thankfully, good quality reliable hiking and hunting footwear often features the best characteristics of both worlds. So, though the lines between both types of footwear are blurred, and there are as many similarities as they are differences, some things are definitely worth considering before buying boots for your next adventure.

Water Resistance

One of the key differences is that when it comes to hunting shoes, water resistance is non-negotiable. Since hunters often walk through muddy and swampy areas, all of them are designed to be waterproof, to keep their feet dry. Hiking shoes, on the other hand, may come both as waterproof and non-waterproof. Choosing hunting boots will provide more insulation, which is another reason why some hikers may prefer hunting over hiking shoes. When it comes to the sole, hiking boots have more advantages, since they are designed for traction, balance and stability. This is why they will perform better in keeping your feet stable while carrying heavy loads over long hikes on rugged or steep terrain.


Another thing you should take into consideration when you are choosing between hunting and hiking footwear is the weight. Hiking shoes differ in weight, though some can be a little too heavy. However, they are generally made to be lighter, when you compare them to hunting boots. Since hikers walk through rough terrains and trails, heavy shoes may make climbing steeper areas much more difficult.

hiking shoes have better ventilation

Ventilation and Breathability

Generally, hiking shoes have better ventilation, while hunting shoes have better breathability. This is because if the boots don’t ventilate properly, hikers can get blisters, affecting their performance. For hunting footwear breathability is even more important than ventilation. Hunters will often have to stay in one place for a long time, which is why proper air circulation is crucial for comfortable hunting.

However, regardless of why you need them, good quality shoes should offer you ventilation and breathability, regardless of their name or their assigned purpose, which is what you should be looking for.

Resilience and Durability

Quality is very important for both hiking and hunting boots because you really want to be able to rely on them. Resilience and durability depend mainly on the materials used in production. Hiking shoes are made of strong and tough materials, to offer as much stability as possible and to help avoid falls during hikes, and provide support for the weight of your body, as well as your backpack and your hunting or hiking survival gear. Good quality hiking shoes are designed to survive even in the roughest weather conditions.

High-end hunting boots are also made of quality materials that make them tough, and comfortable. However, since hunting boots are made according to the environment where you’ll be hunting, there are some materials that aren’t useful for hikers, such as rubber for swampy areas and warmer temperatures, for instance.

high-end quality hiking shoes

Materials, Comfort, Style

Leather and synthetics can be used in the production of hunting and hiking shoes, though often hunting shoes are thought to be made only of rubber or neoprene. However, high-end quality leather allows for great breathability, as well as good comfort, which is why leather is the best option for material, regardless of whether you are a hunter or a hiker.

Both for hunting and for hiking, feet-comfort is crucial to the experience. Comfort has a lot to do with both the materials of the shoe, the sole, finding the right fit, as well as all previously mentioned characteristics. Since hiking shoes are made of tougher materials, they could take longer to soften. While the different styles of hiking boots mainly refer to how high or low the models are (mid-cut and high-cut models), hunting boots are divided according to the environment in which the hunter will go (upland, high country, multipurpose).

What Should You Consider Before Buying?

In conclusion, both hiking and hunting shoes can be good for either purpose. It all depends on your preferences, as well as the terrain and the weather. However, comfort is always a good place to start.

Whether you are walking, climbing, running or standing in place for longer times, feet comfort is one of the most important things. This is because feet pain affects your entire body and because cold feet affect focus negatively, which is really bad when you are in the wilderness. So, when it comes to comfort, the key characteristics to look for in footwear for hiking or hunting are quality sole with good arch support, warmth and water-resistance, and most importantly – proper fit.

However, when you are preparing to go out there, stability, protection and safety are the most important things to worry about. You want everything you wear to be an asset instead of an obstacle. And though comfort plays a big part in this, reliability is vital. This refers to the quality of the sole, the quality of the materials, the robustness, the toughness etc.