Difference Between Hunting and Hiking Boots

A person wearing hiking boots

Whether you like hunting or hiking, one thing you can’t afford to overlook is the importance of choosing the right boot.

In a market flooded with hunting boots and hiking boots alike, it can be a little overwhelming trying to settle on one shoe over another.

For most people, the confusion sets in when trying to differentiate between a hunting boot and a hiking boot.

Most people assume that the two can be used interchangeably. While there is no such thing as a perfect boot, hiking boots and hunting boots are totally different.

And because of that, you can’t use a hunting boot when you need to hit the hiking trails and vice versa.

You could try but one thing you will note is that there are features that make a hunting boot ideal for hunting and a hiking boot best for hiking.

Both boots however do offer the stability and traction that you need to manoeuvre rugged terrain whether you are hunting or hiking. So what is the difference between hunting and hiking boots?

Hiking and Hunting Boots Comparison

Hiking boots and hunting boots are designed to offer support and traction when you are trekking through different terrains but they are different.

One notable difference is that hunting boots are usually categorized based on where they are used while hiking boots are classified by weight.

By knowing the difference, you are assured of choosing the right boot that will meet your specific needs.

The boot toughness

There is no telling where hunting will take you and the same applies to hiking. From easy to rough terrain, the right hiking boot will make all the difference.

Toughness is one of the main features that you must consider when you are buying a hunting or hiking boot. The toughness also stands out as one of the major differences when you are choosing between the two boots.

Hiking boots and hunting boots are constructed using different materials but where the hiking boots stand out is in the toughness.

This is despite the fact that you might encounter the same kind of terrain when you are hiking and hunting.

The way the hiking boot is designed, however, it is meant to offer ultimate support regardless of the trails you might encounter.

This feature ensures that hiking boots triumph over different weather conditions when you are hiking. Hiking boots offer excellent ankle support as well as cushioning that you need when going on long hikes.

A hunting boot on the other hand, while it can be tough, the attention is usually on comfort. The toughness of a hunting boot is meant to help you handle the terrain while ensuring that the boots remain comfortable.

At the end of the day, while hunting boots are tough in their own way, they are also light in weight and offer excellent support to help you better chase after prey and trek for long distances.

Boot Fit

Boot fit is of the utmost importance in not only hunting and hiking boots but all other kinds of shoes.

Whether you are going hiking or hunting, you need to choose a boot with the perfect fitting. Fitness matters more however in hiking boots than hunting ones.

When you are hiking, the terrain is never predictable unless it’s a trail you’ve hiked before. Therefore, blisters, swollen feet, and pain are the last things you want on a hike due to a poorly fitting boot.

Likewise, due to the uneven terrain you might encounter when you are hiking, you are more prone to slipping and injuring yourself.

A hiking boot, therefore, needs to fit perfectly so as to offer the best ankle and overall leg support.

Hunting boots on the other hand are different. Instead of tight-fitting boots when on a hunt, what you need is a well-fitting shoe.

With that in mind, narrow hunting boots will only work for hunters with narrow feet. Hunting boots need to leave room for air circulation so that your feet remain not only cool and dry but comfortable throughout the entire duration of your hunting trip.

If you will be hunting in hilly terrain, however, a hiking boot will work better for you.


When you are hunting or hiking, your feet are prone to sweating. Therefore, unless you want to walk around in wet and soggy boots, good ventilation is necessary.

When it comes to ventilation in hunting and hiking boots, it differs. To begin with, hiking boots in nature are always in constant move with very few resting periods unlike when you are hunting.

As such, if your boots don’t have proper ventilation, it’s blister city for you due to the increased friction.

Hunting boots also require some form of ventilation but this feature leans more towards the breathability of the boot.

When your hunting your feet will get sweaty at some point and since with hunting you may have to stay in one position for a while, your boots need to breathe for added comfort. Sweaty feet also produce an odor that may alert animals of your presence.

Insulation of the boot

When it comes to insulation in hunting and hiking boots, it’s more of how much your boot is waterproof.

Hunting boots have far better insulation than their hiking counterparts. Hunting involves sitting at one place for long periods probably even hours.

If you are hunting during cold months or at higher altitudes, your feet will get cold which is where the insulation comes in.

A hunting boot that has good insulation will protect your feet against the weather ensuring that they remain dry and warm throughout.

Hiking boots on the other hand also need to have good insulation. However, when hiking you are always moving so the insulation only applies to different situations like when you are crossing a river or something.

In which case you won’t have to stand in the water for long as you would when be hunting.

Boot shape

Hiking boots and hunting boots differ in terms of shapes. They can either be high cut, medium cut, or low cut.

When you are choosing the shape of the boot, you need to consider where you will be trekking.

Hunting boots are classified as either upland, high country, or multipurpose boots with the shapes differing from one model to another. Most of the time, the shape of the hunting boot you go for will depend on where you will be hunting.

The shape of hiking boots on the other hand translates to ankle support. Since you are always on the move when on a hike, ankle support is important if you are to be comfortable all through.

Ankle support also means better protection when you are wearing the boot.


Contrary to popular belief, as explained above it’s very easy to differentiate between a hunting boot and a hiking boot. Hunting means having to sit or stand in one place for long, while hiking means constant movement. As such, the boot you buy needs to support this which is why it’s a bad idea to wear the two boots interchangeably. Unless you are not hiking or hunting for hours, for your own comfort, just get a boot that is ideal for every situation. Your feet will thank you in the end.

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