I’ve noticed that a lot of people visiting sites with discussion forums on outdoor and hiking websites are asking the same question: which is better, hiking boots or trekking boots?
There is no correct answer to this. Whether you choose hiking boots or trekking (backpacking) boots will depend very much on what you use them for. People who like to do a bit of hiking on the weekends and really do mostly day trips will probably prefer something lighter even though these boots don’t provide much support. On the other hand, those who do longer trails that take several days and workmen who want a strong working boot will want something stronger with more support. These boots will obviously be somewhat heavier, so not everyone will want them.
Let’s compare the two types so that you can decide which is the one for you, a trekking boot or a hiking boot?
Hiking Boots or Trekking Boots
These are lightweight boots that offer more support than regular sneakers or training shoes. They are divided into two categories and we can look at this as light-duty hiking boots or medium-duty hiking boots.
Trail shoes that are low-cut and lightweight offer the least amount of support but are easier on the wearer because you’re not lugging any extra weight around. Basically, these shoes are like sneakers with a stiffer sole, providing your feet with more protection. They cushion the soles of your feet allowing you to handle uneven terrain with more ease. These hiking boots are ideal for short day trips that don’t put too much strain on your feet.
If you’re doing longer hikes, perhaps overnight, it would be better to have more support for your feet. This is where a boot made from a combination of fabric and leather will make your journey a much more pleasant experience. They are stiffer and offer more support to your ankles and feet. They also have a stiffer shank to protect the soles of your feet from the harsher terrain encountered on more grueling trails. Walking over rocks and even pebbles will take its toll on your feet and using a more sturdy boot will help to make your outdoor experience much more pleasurable. A fabric leather combination is not entirely waterproof so it’s a good idea to look for hiking boots with a Gore-Tex inner. This will keep the inside of the boot stay dry in wet conditions.
Some will call these backpacking boots. Whether you refer to them as trekking boots or backpacking boots, the principle remains the same. These boots are designed to provide extra support when you’re carrying a backpack on long trails over a period days. They are generally made from all-leather which is stiffer than fabric and can be treated to offer perfect waterproofing.
Apart from having a thicker sole and stiffer shank than other boots, these shoes offer the greatest amount of support to your feet and ankles. They will have a strong toecap and extra support to the sides of the boot. The extra support can be provided by using steel inside the boot cap and shank (either half shank or full shank) or very strong plastic. Plastic will be lighter but is not always as durable.
If you’re going to be trekking through snow or ice, a trekking boot is must as they can accommodate a crampon. For people who work in situations where foot protection is essential, trekking boots offer a more comfortable alternative to regular safety boots.
So, in conclusion, we can say that hiking boots are lighter and offer a reasonable amount of support if you’re not carrying too much weight and won’t be trekking across extremely harsh terrain. Trekking boots are designed for the serious adventure tourist who needs a sturdy boot for all types of terrain when carrying supplies like a tent, food, and water for longer trips.