You probably think the answer to this question is simple. Hiking, right? Well, ye—but they can actually be used for much more than that. Not only that, but there are also lots of different types of hiking footwear that are used for a range of different hiking-based activities. If you’d like to know a bit more about what standard hiking boots are used for, then you’ve found the right article. If you keep reading, we’ll also tell you a bit more about a few other types of hiking boots and the other activities they can be used for. So what are hiking boots used for?
What are different types of hiking boots used for?
Day hiking boots
These are the most common sorts of walking boots, and they’re used for general hiking and other assorted activities. They’re designed to give good ankle support so that you can’t twist your ankle on uneven ground. They should give you good support even when you’re carrying a small amount of additional weight, like a light pack.
You can use day hiking boots for most general hiking when carrying a small amount. They’re good for walking in most terrain (except perhaps extreme mountain areas) and provide good grip in most weather. Day boots are fully waterproof and are quite a lightweight hiking option.
These are a much heavier version of standard hiking boots. They’re built for more continued use and are made to support a much greater weight, like if you’re carrying a heavy backpack at the time. While these are good when used hiking, many people choose to wear them in all terrains when they’re carrying a heavy backpack because of the support they give.
Backpacking boots are extremely durable and a very heavy-duty hiking option. This makes them a great option for all sorts of activities including those in extreme weather conditions or rocky terrains. They tend to have excellent ankle support, even when carrying a heavy load. They’re suitable for much more demanding hiking including some of the most famous walking routes in the world, this is much more than most day boots could handle.
These boots also have much more insulation, keeping you warm in freezing temperatures. This does come with some drawbacks, though. And that’s their weight—backpacking boots can be very heavy. This makes them slightly less appropriate for lighter walking routes. They also need a lot more care and upkeep to maintain their leather and keep them waterproof.
These shoes are nowhere near sturdy enough, and don’t give good enough support for long or demanding hiking trails. They’re fine for a walk in the park or around the town, but don’t make the mistake many people are making by choosing them for demanding hikes. For the most demanding hikes, you’ll need backpacking boots. For reasonably demanding or mixed terrain, day boots can work well, but hiking shoes are the least durable and provide the least support of them all—so wear them accordingly.
Hiking shoes don’t provide the support your ankles will need in any type of uneven terrain or when carrying any loads. Your joints need support, so you should pick another option. You could get injured otherwise. The one benefit of hiking shoes is that they’re much more comfortable so if you just want them for normal walking they could be an acceptable option.
What other things can you use hiking boots for?
Most people generally look to buy a pair of hiking boots for, you guessed it—hiking. But that’s not all they’re good for. After all, you don’t have to take off your hiking boots as soon as you get to a town and hit some concrete. As we’ve looked at, hiking shoes are more appropriate for town terrain but they are NOT recommended for proper walking. The best shoe for a mix is the hiking day boot. These can support you on some reasonably demanding routes but may also be acceptable for walking around populated towns and areas. Proper backpacking boots aren’t great for this sort of use.
One thing you can’t really use these boots for is running or other similar sporting activities. They might be acceptable for power walks and are great for activities like orienteering, but physically demanding sporting activities will need something completely different.
How can you find the right hiking boots?
Firstly, decide what sort of activities and what sort of walking you’re going to be doing in your boots. You should know if you’re going on an extremely demanding hike or a mix. As a novice, day boots might be the best boot to start with unless you know you’re going to need the extra support of backpacking boots.
Once you’ve decided on a type of shoe, you’ve still got a few options and decisions to make. It’s important that you get a high-quality, well-made boot as you need something that lasts. You’ll also need something that fits, and unlike other footwear this is something you’ll need to pay close attention to as you could damage your feet if you go on long walks in footwear that doesn’t fit.
Make sure you try on potential boots with walking socks which you’ll be wearing when you use them properly, as this will give you a better idea of the fit. Make sure you move around a lot and go on a test walk. Walk uphill and downhill and test walking at speed. Your foot should barely move in the heel. This could cause blisters. Taking care over this decision is important for your foot health, so don’t rush it. Make sure the boot is waterproof and test this before your walk.
Finding the right hiking boots for you is important. Hopefully this article has given you a bit more information on the subject so that you can make a better decision.