Boys' Life magazine

What’s better: a hiking shoe or a hiking boot?

Q. What’s better: a hiking shoe or a hiking boot?
– Rambling Ryan, Somerset, Ohio

A. It depends. If you’re headed out on a basic day hike, hiking shoes are a great choice. In general, they’ll be more comfortable because they are lighter and more flexible and breathable, yet you’ll still have more traction than you’d get from running shoes.

If you’re going on a backpacking trip over rugged backcountry trails while carrying a fully loaded pack, then you’ll want to be wearing sturdy hiking boots. Boots give your feet and ankles the protection and support that will prevent you from injuring your feet and rolling your ankles on rough and uneven trails.