What type of shoes or boots do you need for hiking?

Traditionally, everyone hiked in big leather boots. But now there are several different types of footwear to choose from: day hiking shoes, day hiking boots.

Day hiking shoes

Salomon Outline Goretex trail shoes

Low-cut day hiking shoes take the flexible soles of trail runners and beef them up for the rigors of the trail. They give you more stability than trail runners and also protect your feet a bit more too.

Day hiking shoes are best for: Hiking on groomed trails, hikers with day packs, and hikers who don’t need ankle support or lots of stability.



  • Not much ankle support
  • Less durable and less stable than hiking and backpacking boots

Shop hiking shoes

Day hiking boots

Day hiking boots on a wooden bridge

Boots for day hiking come in mid- and high-cut styles that offer more ankle support for rugged trails or carrying heavy loads.

Day hiking boots are best for: Technical trails, long-distance hiking, hikers carrying heavy day packs, and hikers who need more ankle support and stability.


  • Lots of ankle support thanks to mid- or high-cut cuffs
  • Increased stability (and lack of flex)
  • Durable soles and uppers
  • Most day hiking boots are quite water resistant


  • Heavier than hiking or trail running shoes
  • Much less flexible than hiking shoes so you may need a break-in period
  • Most day hiking boots aren’t very breathable


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