Walking Boots VS Walking Shoes

If you're deciding on your first proper pair of outdoor footwear or simply wondering whether you should replace your old pair, then you'll likely wonder whether you should opt for a pair of walking shoes or walking boots. Thing is, what's the difference between them? Is one better than the other? How do you know which pair is best for the type of walking you do? If these are the type of questions that've been on your mind whilst searching for some new outdoor footwear, then read on as we compare each type of shoe.

Walking Boots Or Walking Shoes: Which Should You Choose?

In order to figure out which type of walking footwear is right for you, we first need to look at the differences and features between each type of shoe.

Walking Boots

When it comes to outdoor footwear, walking boots offer the full monty. They're the most protective form of walking shoe as their taller construction covers the ankle, which helps defend against accidental knocks, scraping against rocks and bits of natural debris finding its way in to the boots. Furthermore, the heightened collar also provides extra support to your ankles, which makes for a more comfortable walk over long distances and uneven terrain as well as reducing the chance of twisting your ankle. That's because walking boots will help hold your ankle in place and therefore maintain correct form whilst walking, which will be welcome for those who hike with a backpack.

On the other hand, walking boots tend to be heavier than their counterparts due to their more robust build and added size. The taller shoe allows for thicker materials to be used for padding and the sole, which is great for their comfort and support, however it's all of these great features that end up ruling out walking boots if you prefer to hike at a jogging pace, as trail running shoes or walking shoes offer a lighter, less restrictive alternative.

Reasons to wear walking boots

  • Metal hooks and taller shoe height allows for versatile lacing methods, which can help prevent hiking blisters and deliver a more secure heel hold.
  • They're great for long distance hikes, particularly over rough, uneven terrain.
  • The enhanced ankle support reduces the chance of an ankle injury and keeps your feet in good posture for walking.
  • They'll keep your feet warmer in cold weather.
  • Deep soles and tall height help prevent water seeping in from splashing puddles and rain.

Woman sat down with walking boots on and other outdoor footwear around her.

Walking Shoes

Walking shoes (otherwise known as trail shoes) are essentially the lightweight, more dextrous little brother of walking boots. They'll still offer similar benefits, such as a specialised tread and a reinforced heel and toe, but hikers who prefer more dexterity will prefer walking shoes over walking boots. They won't protect your ankles from scrapes or knocks, however it's worth arguing that you're less likely to trip up in the first place if you're wearing a slimmer pair of walking shoes compared to a larger pair of walking boots. Walking shoes are best suited to shorter hikes on fairly even terrain, so if you find you typically walk along maintained pathways rather than off the beaten track, walking shoes are a better option for you than walking boots.

As they're much closer to trainers and casual shoes, avid walkers buying their first proper pair of walking shoes will find they feel more natural than boots. However, walking shoes won't encourage your ankle to maintain good walking posture like a pair of walking boots will, so if you're buying with the intention of reducing aching and not just extra traction, opt for a pair of walking boots instead.

Reasons to wear walking shoes

  • They're sleek and lightweight, allowing for more precise foot placement.
  • They're useful if you hike across mixed terrains.
  • Their smaller build makes them easier to climb up rocks.
  • They're a better choice for faster paced hikes, if you prefer to run or jog along trails.

So, Which Type Of Shoe Is Best?

Both shoes share similarities, for instance they'll both still provide some degree of breathability and waterproof protection (though boots will of course perform better in deeper water), however it's mostly down to personal preference on which type of walking footwear is best for you. Here at Regatta, our walking shoes are essentially lower versions of our popular walking boots, (which means they share the same sole unit) so you can enjoy the same great style no matter your preferred type of walking footwear. Lots of walkers prefer the ankle protection that walking boots provide, they're especially great if you're a bit clumsy, but there's still plenty of others that don't feel like they need it and feel more sure-footed in a pair of walking shoes.

In a nutshell, walking boots are better for long distance, loose terrain hikes, walking shoes are better for shorter distance, even terrain hikes. Make your decision based on the type of walking you do, then when you come to buy a pair make sure they fit you properly. An ill-fitting shoe will hinder all of the benefits both types of outdoor footwear can offer.

Looking For Some New Walking Footwear?

Treat your feet to a comfy new pair of Regatta Great Outdoors walking boots or walking shoes!

Walking boots

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Walking shoes

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We hope you found our comparison of walking boots vs walking shoes useful. If you want to learn more about the Regatta range of outdoor footwear, have a read of our buyer's guide to see all of the different types. Alternatively, you can discover more of our expert advice on walking boots, including:

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