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What is the difference between Walking Boots and Hiking Boots?

One of the biggest questions we get time and time again is; What is the difference between Walking Boots and Hiking Boots?

There's no denying the vast amount of Hiking Footwear on the market today; Hiking Boots seem to take center stage for many people but there are plenty of great Walking Boots available too!

What are Hiking Boots?

Hiking Boots are heavy-duty, rugged, and sturdy boots that are usually worn on rocky or more difficult terrain. you should opt for a pair of high-quality hiking boots when you decide to be more adventurous or on two or more day hikes. Most Hiking Boots have solid rubber lugs (The bits at the bottom of your shoes), a high-rise ankle support (the sturdy bit of material that wraps around your ankle), and multiple layers of water-resistant material to protect you from the elements. Some other features commonly found on most pairs of Hiking Boots include fast lace-up closures, ortholite insoles, and anti-slip technology which helps keep you walking for longer!

Overall, if you want to wear long-lasting, heavy but comfortable footwear then choose a pair of Hiking Boots!

Here are three of our absolute favourites Hiking Boots below:

What are Walking Boots?

Now, the answer to this question may cause some controversy; Walking boots are the same thing as Hiking Boots. Don't be fooled by different marketing buzzwords or mislabelled products. You can be confident that if you purchase a pair of Hiking boots you can certainly wear them on your shorter walks! You will still get the exact same benefits of grippy soles for easier ground contact, great ankle support, and comfortable padded inner linings.

What we are getting at is you can wear a pair of "Boots" for an extreme week-long hike through the mountains and your morning dog walks around the park; they're really that versatile. Next time you see Hiking and Walking boots on a pair of footwear you're interested in you can treat those two words as interchangeable as they mean the same thing!

There are some caveats to this answer which we will explain below!

Here are three more top-rated Hiking/Walking Boots you can check out:

Walking/Hiking Boots versus Walking Shoes

We mentioned above that Walking Boots and Hiking Boots are essentially the same thing. However many people are actually referring to Walking Shoes when they talk about Walking Boots (this is starting to get confusing I know). Walking boots are often thought to be lighter, smaller, and used more for shorter walks or more established terrain; however, we think that if this is what you are looking for in your footwear then what you actually need is quality pair of Walking Shoes.

A Quick Breakdown of Walking Shoes

We have written a really comprehensive article on the differences between Hiking boots and Walking Shoes but here we will go through why you might prefer a pair of Walking Shoes over a pair of Hiking Boots. If you are brand new to walking for longer distances or this is your first hike ever and you don't have any suitable footwear - choose a pair of Walking Shoes. Walking Shoes are lower in cost, don't require any break-in time, and can be worn straight out of the box (meaning you can get out adventuring quicker and discover if this is something you would like to invest in; remember it's always handy to have two pairs). If you don't often go on longer treks with uneven terrain or through "harsher" conditions then a pair of Walking Shoes may benefit you more in the long run (no pun intended)! Lastly, if you do want to go for long walks but aren't carrying heavy backpacks or camping supplies then you may not need heavier more durable boots (this also gives the added bonus of less fatigue with each step and Walking Shoes tend to be lighter and bouncier).

Here are some top rated Walking Shoes:


In Summary, there isn't much of a difference between what we call Hiking Boots and Walking Boots; you should essentially consider them the same thing. However, there is a big difference between a Walking/Hiking Boot and Walking Shoes.

You need a good quality pair of Walking/Hiking Boots if you:

  • Go on multiple day-long hikes.

  • Carry heavier backpacks or equipment.

  • Trek on terrain is uneven or much harder to traverse.

  • Value hardiness and durability but don't mind heaviness in your footwear.

  • Want the best protection for your ankle/toe.

You need a good quality pair of Walking Shoes if you:

  • Are new to hiking and don't want to spend too much money.

  • Go on day-long or much shorter walks.

  • Trek on terrain that is well established without much change in elevation.

  • Value lightweight and comfortability over durability in your footwear.

  • Don't need high ankle and/or toe protection.

If you want more help finding your perfect pair of Walking/Hiking Boots check out our full collection of Hiking Boots Reviews.


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