What Is the Difference Between Hiking Shoes and Backpacking Shoes?

By Robert Palmer

When it comes to backpacking and hiking, the type of shoe you choose to wear can make or break the experience. Although both activities involve trekking through nature, there are distinct differences between hiking shoes and backpacking shoes.


Backpacking shoes tend to be significantly heavier than hiking shoes due to the additional support and cushioning they provide. This is especially important when carrying a heavy load on your back for an extended period of time. Hiking shoes are relatively lightweight, allowing for greater agility when moving through terrain.


Backpacking shoes have more cushioning than hiking shoes since they need to absorb the shock of a heavy backpack as well as protect your feet while trekking over rough terrain. Hiking shoes have less cushioning but still provide enough protection to keep your feet comfortable during an extended hike.


Backpacking shoes are designed to be more durable than hiking shoes since they typically encounter harsher conditions such as rocky terrain and extreme weather conditions. They also need to stand up to more wear and tear due to the extra weight on your back. Hiking shoes are made from lighter materials that may not last as long in difficult conditions but will hold up during regular hikes in milder climates.


When it comes down to it, there is a clear distinction between hiking shoes and backpacking shoes. Backpacking shoes are heavier, provide more cushioning, and are made from more durable materials than hiking shoes which are designed for agility and light weight while moving through terrain in mild climates. Ultimately, it is important to consider your specific needs before choosing between these two types of footwear.