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The difference between hiking shoes and mountaineering shoes

DATE: Mar 27th, 2024

As an outdoor enthusiast looking to climb some smaller mountains under 1,000 meters, choosing the right pair of hiking shoes is crucial. Different hiking shoes are suitable for various terrains and climates, and selecting the right pair not only enhances safety and comfort but also allows us to better enjoy the hiking experience.


Firstly, we need to understand the types and features of hiking shoes. Generally, hiking shoes can be divided into three types: low-cut shoes, mid-cut shoes, and high-cut shoes. Low-cut shoes are suitable for flat terrain and short walks, mid-cut shoes are suitable for moderately steep trails and long walks, while high-cut shoes are suitable for steep trails and multi-day hikes. Additionally, hiking shoes are made of either leather or synthetic materials. Leather shoes are durable but require maintenance, while synthetic shoes are lightweight but less durable.

Simply put, can a pair of hiking shoes fully meet your needs? Let's briefly discuss the slight difference between hiking shoes and trekking shoes.


Hiking Shoes: Generally with a height of around 13-15cm, offering good waterproofing and slip resistance, allowing walking in water or rain below the ankles. Suitable for loads greater than 10 kilograms, suitable for complex terrains such as low mountains, canyons, deserts, and plateaus, with a certain level of professionalism. It is recommended to buy brands with pure leather + GORE-TEX + Vibram soles for better protection.


Trekking Shoes: With ankle heights designed below 13cm, relatively lightweight, suitable for short to medium-distance trekking with lighter loads, suitable for gentle mountain terrain, jungles, general outings, or camping activities. Trekking shoes are versatile for outdoor and commuting wear, with a wide range of applications. You can choose the upper material, lining technology, and sole according to the season and destination.


For mountains under 1,000 meters, we can choose low-cut or mid-cut shoes. Such shoes are lightweight and comfortable, suitable for climbing small mountains with non-rugged terrain and short walks. When choosing shoes, we need to pay attention to the following points:

  1. Choose abrasion-resistant soles to ensure better grip and stability on rocky surfaces.
  2. The upper should be breathable to prevent excessive sweating of the feet.
  3. The seam between the sole and the upper should be waterproofed to prevent water from seeping in.

Additionally, there are optional features such as toe caps and shock absorption systems. If you want to be safer and more comfortable on mountain trails, you can choose hiking shoes with these features.


Finally, it's important to try on hiking shoes before purchasing to ensure they fit properly. Shoes that are too tight can affect blood circulation and foot flexibility, while shoes that are too loose can affect stability. Only by choosing the right hiking shoes can we make our climbing experience safer and more comfortable.

When buying hiking shoes, make sure to try them on and choose the right size and style for adequate comfort and safety. Furthermore, we need to select shoes based on specific hiking conditions and personal preferences. For example, if carrying a heavier backpack, it's essential to choose more stable and comfortable shoes.

Lastly, it's important to emphasize that hiking shoes are just one part of hiking gear, and it's necessary to have other essential equipment such as waterproof clothing, hats, gloves, goggles, and trekking poles to cope with different climates and terrains. Hopefully, this article can help everyone make wiser decisions when choosing hiking shoes and enjoy a safer and more enjoyable hiking experience.