I don’t usually go hiking, which is why when I started to go with a friend, I was utterly at a loss to gather the right gear for hiking. So I ended up wearing my comfy work boots on the trail.
And guess what?
It was a great first hike! I didn’t really have a problem with not using hiking boots. My work boots did an excellent job carrying my weight throughout the trail without making my feet sore.
However, not all work boots are hiking-friendly because they are not the same as hiking boots for a few different reasons.
So, can you wear work boots for hiking?
Yes, it is entirely possible to wear work boots for hiking as long as you choose good-quality work boots that tick a few boxes necessary for hiking. They need to be flexible enough, as light as possible, stable enough for rocky roads, and waterproof.
Read More: Can You Wear Work Boots Casually?
Which Type of Work Boots to Choose for Hiking?
Work boots aren’t usually meant for going on hikes but for protecting your feet from harsh conditions at work.
A few things make a lot of work boots not suitable enough for hiking. So you need to choose the ones that give you all the benefits of hiking boots and more.
Hunt down these kinds of work boots to get the best hiking experience!
Simply because work boots are footwear, they are supposed to give you just enough mobility.
But because they need to protect your feet and ankles more than other kinds of boots, work boots are usually really stiff.
Is that good for hiking?
Not always! Hiking on trails can put you in situations where you could injure your feet, which is where stiff and tough work boots can be great for your hikes.
However, you need to be able to carry out different types of foot movements when you’re on the trail. And that is possible only to a certain degree with work boots.
Seek out work boots that are flexible enough to make your required foot movements while keeping your feet protected.
Remember, not all work boots are going to be flexible enough for this purpose. You got to track down the ones that are!
When you go hiking, you face different kinds of surfaces, meaning you could have to walk on dry or wet, mossy grounds.
And it’s imperative that you use boots with a good grip that will prevent you from slipping on wet ground.
With that in mind, work boots are perfect for hiking on wet grounds as they are usually non-slip boots made to avoid slipping on things like oil and other chemicals at work.
Where’s the but?
But if you decide on hiking on hills and terrains, you need boots with no treads for utmost rock contact, which is no good on slippery grounds.
In this case, you should find a pair of work boots that have anti-slip qualities while having light treads for better contact with rocky surfaces.
Most work boots are pretty heavyweight because they are only designed to keep your feet protected from harsh work environments.
But you need lightweight boots for hiking so that when you walk on trails, your feet don’t get sore.
What to do?
Shop for work boots that are lightweight enough to be comfortable for hikes while being protective enough to survive work conditions.
If you wear steel-toe work boots, which are very heavy in weight, I recommend trying aluminum-toe work boots.
This is because aluminum-toe boots are lighter than steel-toe boots and even composite work boots. And they are cheaper than alloy-toe boots.
Plus, wearing toe box work boots can have a massive advantage for hiking on rough trails as long as they are not too heavy.
You’ll come into contact with a lot of wetness around you when you go on hikes. And damp boots are not a fun situation!
Getting your boots wet can not only be irritating, but it can also ruin your boots if exposed for long enough.
To avoid facing mildew or other kinds of water damage, you need to use waterproof work boots on your hikes.
Not all work boots are waterproof while hiking boots are! So you need to choose waterproof work boots if you want to use them for hiking.
Hiking boots use synthetic materials, whereas high-quality work boots are made of leather. And leather can handle water to a certain degree.
But if you expose your work boots to water on a regular basis, even when you let them dry each time completely, it might still damage your leather work boots.
Thus, you need the kind of work boots that have waterproof materials to ensure the shoes don’t retain water.
Work Boots vs Hiking Boots
Leather Work Boots Last Longer Than Hiking Boots!
To ensure hiking boots are lightweight, anti-slip, and water-resistant, most of them are made of synthetic textiles and rubber.
The synthetic part is used to make the upper, and the rubber part is the outsole. Now, these two parts are joined together using strong glue.
With leather work boots, be it expensive or mid-ranged, the whole boot is made using stitches while the sole is glued on.
When it comes to welted boots, the mechanical stitches combined with the glue make for a stronger bond than just glue.
So which is better?
You tell me!
If the glue on hiking boots starts to give, which will eventually happen, there’s no saving it. In comparison, leather work boots will take longer to come apart.
It’s true that you can get leather hiking boots to settle the matter. But you’re not here to buy hiking boots! You want to wear work boots for both work and hiking!
Therefore, the best possible option for you would be to get a pair of good-quality leather boots that are flexible, lightweight, and waterproof.
So can you wear work boots for hiking? Absolutely you can! You just need to make sure that the pair of work boots you choose has all the necessary features required for hiking.
Let me tell you a secret: I had to get new work boots after my first hike so keep up. I mean I did need new boots, but I didn’t want to get hiking boots, as I needed to work on my work site too.
Invest in a good pair of work boots if you face the same issue!