For hundreds of years, soldiers have been marching all over the world in every kind of climate wearing boots. Today's combat boots are the result of years of testing and research to keep soldiers on their feet, so wouldn't they make excellent hiking boots?
Let's take a closer look and find out.
What are Combat Boots?
Combat boots are made to be worn during combat, as you might surmise, rather than by soldiers on parade or doing other duties. Combat boots of the exact models used in the US military are commercially available from popular manufacturers.
There are a wide range of combat boots, but almost all of them:
- Provide excellent stability and protection for the feet and ankles
- Grip securely in all kinds of terrain
- Are made of hardened and often waterproof leather
- Often have internal panels of high-tech materials that improve breathability and comfort
- Have special designs for different conditions, including jungle boots, desert boots, cold weather boots, etc.
- Have a longer lifespan than most civilian boots, and are specifically designed to be comfortable in a wide range of changing conditions.
What are Hiking Boots?
Hiking boots are specifically made to keep the feet protected and comfortable for long walks over rough terrain. Hiking boots are made from a wide range of materials, but typically hiking boots:
- Protect the feet and heels from shock
- Support the ankle
- Have special designs for different conditions, including trail shoes, hiking boots, mountain and mountaineering boots, etc.
- May or may not be waterproof
- May or may not have breathable inserts
Advantages of Combat Boots for Hiking
Many people enjoy hiking in combat boots, because they have some distinct advantages.
Because soldiers are often carrying heavy packs and equipment, combat boots provide excellent support and make it easier to carry a backpack or camping equipment when hiking.
With proper care, combat boots can last for years, even when extensively worn in the toughest conditions. For people who go through expensive hiking boots quickly, the rugged durability of combat boots is a great advantage.
Disadvantages of Combat Boots for Hiking
However, there are some distinct disadvantages of hiking in combat boots as well.
Not very comfortable
Combat boots have stiff, inflexible soles and very little internal foot support that many hikers find uncomfortable.
Combat boots can be very heavy when compared to many hiking boots, which can cause fatigue and make a hike less enjoyable.
Are Combat Boots Good for Hiking?
To sum up, with combat boots, the military needed to develop a single boot design that they could issue to everyone to wear in any situation.
With hiking boots, the needs and preferences of individual hikers are very different, and there is no need for uniformity, which means you can get almost any kind of hiking boot for any kind of environment.
While you can hike in combat boots, you can also get hiking boots that have just the exact fit, features, comfort, and flexibility you need for any kind of hike in any kind of weather. Combat boots can be used for hiking, but aren't designed for it.
When using combat boots for hiking, most people prefer to add an insole for extra cushioning and comfort for the feet.
It's also a good idea to use hiking socks to add cushioning, water resistance and/or breathability, and greater comfort.
The most important consideration when choosing combat boots for hiking is to make sure that you are getting genuine, military combat boots, and not simply combat-styled fashion boots.
Because military-style combat boots are worn as part of many different fashion styles and trends, it's common to see boots that look like combat boots, but aren't made to the same standard or with the same materials.
Hiking in a combat fashion boot isn't a good idea; they aren't made to be as durable or as supportive, and won't wear as well as either a combat boot or a hiking boot.
If you want to wear combat boots on the hiking trail, you have a lot of excellent options. Look for combat boots that are lighter in weight, and either waterproof or breathable as suits your environment.
Make sure they fit perfectly, and hit the trail. If you want the perfect hiking boot, with just the right weight and flexibility, comfort and support, breathability and style, you may want to look instead at the much wider range of options in hiking boots.