Ask the Gear Guy

Low or high hiking boots?

Q. Hey Gear Guy, this question has been nagging me for so long: If I’m going backpacking should I wear boots with high ankles or ones with low ankles?
—Puzzled John, Nashville, Tenn.

A. If you’re going on a true backpacking trip and carrying a fully loaded pack, you’ll be more prone to rolling your ankle on unstable/uneven ground. So you should be wearing boots with plenty of ankle support. The higher-cut boots also protect your ankles from sharp rocks and thorns and keep you drier in wet environments. If you’re carrying a very light pack or just doing a day hike, low-top hiking shoes are fine. They are going to be lighter weight, more breathable and more comfortable.


Comments about “Low or high hiking boots?”

  1. Don boy says:

    I like 3/4 boots

  2. yo says:

    a lower high cut works good at bdsr in collorado i work high cut but this was in thevfoothills of the rockys where it was hilly

  3. ZTM says:

    In my opinion, it’s a matter of preference. I’ve ran tons of trails in cross country shoes, and have been fine. But I’ve also hiked miles and miles on high top boots. It’s just a matter of preference.

  4. Anonymous says:

    where can i find these boots

  5. Anonymous says:

    whats the name brands of those boots

  6. ASM says:

    Anything with a nice deep tread on the shoe. If you’ll be crossing streams or mud on your trip, you should get higher boots – it will keep your socks dryer (unless you’re up to your calves – then you’re out of luck).

  7. cpt. jack daniels says:

    I agree with anonymous the worst the enviorment the higher the boots so you can be completely comfortable

  8. AJM says:

    Low– you can’t run down a fourteener in high-cut boots. I have been hiking/running trails in CO and UT for almost 30 years and I have never worn high-cut (never had an injury either). High-cuts are way to cumbersome for me. When I get on the trail it’s all about moving…. and fast!

  9. Anonymous says:

    if you are hiking on a rocky slope or a steep incline wear high
    if you are hiking a level slope wear low

  10. heathbar64 says:


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