Boys' Life magazine

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.