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Low-cut or high-cut 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.

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3 Comments on Low-cut or high-cut hiking boots?

  1. If you can afford two pairs of hikers, by all means, buy both, and then pick and choose. But if you are a ‘thrifty’ scout, buy high tops, which can, and will, serve in any circumstances.

  2. Always buy the higher ones–more support for the ankles and more protection against snakes.

  3. HuongdaoVN58 // June 16, 2015 at 10:23 am // Reply

    All of my hiking boots are high cut even though I go hiking or backpacking. Reason is to prevent dislocating my ankles.

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