If you’re in the market for a new pair of boots, you might be wondering if there’s a single style or brand of boot that you can buy that will suit all of your boot-wearing needs.
For example, you might want a boot that is tough enough to wear to work, while versatile and comfortable enough to wear out on the hiking trails.
But that may leave you wondering: Are hiking boots strong enough to wear to a job site?
Are traditional work boots built to handle the terrain and mileage of hiking trails?
What is the difference between work boots and hiking boots, anyway?
What Is The Difference Between Work Boots and Hiking Boots?
One difference is that work boots are designed for--you guessed it--work!
Jobs like construction, plumbing, masonry, etc. require a boot with a rugged, tough exterior that can withstand the wear and tear that is typical on a job site.
A steel- or reinforced toe is standard issue among work boots to protect the foot in case something heavy falls on the boot-wearer's foot, and the sole is thick to protect the foot from nails.
On the other hand, hiking boots are designed for traction on rough terrain, comfort for long hikes, and with waterproof materials in order to keep feet dry on muddy or rainy hiking days.
A steel toe is far from necessary for hiking, so the overall protection may be a little lacking if you wear your hiking boots to work (not recommended).
But that doesn't answer the reverse question: can you wear work boots for hiking?
Can you wear work boots for hiking?
The short answer here is yes, but we wouldn’t recommend taking any old pair of work boots out onto the hiking trails with you just yet.
For one thing, not all work boots are created equal, and some will leave your feet blistered, calloused, and sore if you try to use them as your primary hiking footwear.
Fortunately, there are some special work boots that are more than sufficient for your hiking needs, as well as your day-to-day work needs.
For your convenience, we’ve detailed some of our favorite choices here for you.
What Are the Best Hiking Work Boots?
This is the luxury option for those of you who may not be constrained by budget, or if you are willing to pay a little extra for a top of the line brand like Timberland. Timberland is a favorite brand for many reasons: their boots are reliable, well-made, and they look great.
- CONQUER THE JOB SITE: Designed for a generous fit, with reinforced leather & rubber on high-wear areas & our exclusive anti-fatigue comfort technology, our Hyperion work boots were made to scale ladders, tread through water & oil and conquer any job site.
- TIMBERLAND PRO 24/7 COMFORT SYSTEM: A comfort system that helps reduce foot fatigue, supports the arch and cushions every step.
- A SOURCE OF PRIDE: We know you take pride in your work, so our soft-toed shoes and boots and steel-toe boots and shoes are designed to provide you with enhanced job performance day in and day out. Wear them at work well as at home with comfort & style.
- QUALITY WORKWEAR: Timberland PRO assesses the unmet needs of those who work in the most demanding environments and then develops solutions that deliver ultimate comfort, durability & protection-all day long-from work boots & shoes to anti-fatigue insoles.
- TIMBERLAND PRO: Compare the quality workmanship of Timberland PRO work boots & work shoes to products from Justin, Muck Boots, Servus, Tingley, Doc Martens, Romeos, Red Wing, Merrell, Ariat, Cat, Wolverine, Maelstrom, Stanley, Keen or Carhartt.
Their standard lines of boots are fantastic, but the PRO line of Timberland boots is specifically designed to even higher standards. They have a padded interior for enhanced comfort and a much thicker outside sole for added durability, giving them an edge over most other boots regardless of their purpose (work vs hiking).
However, these particular boots were designed with the potential for hiking as well—they even look like hiking boots! Complete with a durable outsole from sole-experts Vibram, this is a great choice all around for anyone looking for work boots that are versatile enough to wear out on the hiking trail.
Made from authentic leather with a rubber double toe means the exterior of this boot will stand up to almost anything. The rubber double toe protects you at work without adding the heavy weight of a steel toe. The hiking-specific features includes the abrasion-resistant upper material, complete with a waterproof membrane for those muddy or rainy days on the trail.
Pros: Timberland PRO line is of highest quality, durable abrasion-resistant material, waterproof, double rubber toe and Ever-Guard heel and instep overlays, durable Vibram outsole, antimicrobial mesh lining, classic hiking boot style and design.
Cons: Upper end of price range, only one color choice option (gray/gray).
This option from Dickies is a bit more affordable than the Timberland PRO Men’s Hyperion Waterproof Work Boot, but it offers a number of similar features that may be better suited to you, depending on your unique work boot and hiking boot needs.
- Suede leather work boot with breathable mesh underlays and reinforced toe and heel guards in contrast tone
- Steel toe
- Breathable moisture-wicking mesh lining
- Padded collar and tongue
- EVA foam insole and midsole comfort
For one thing, the Dickies Escape Hiker Work Boot comes equipped with a true steel-toe as opposed to the double rubber toe found in the Timberland PROs. For some consumers, a rubber toe is more than sufficient for their work environment, but for those who truly rely on a steel-toe to protect them, the Timberland PROs just won’t cut it. If your work environment causes you to err on the side of caution, the steel toe found in these boots may be the right choice for you.
Like the Timberland PRO Hyperion Work Boot, these boots from Dickies resemble the typical hiking boot style and come in one color: brown. The leather is synthetic in this case, thus making these boots a bit more affordable for the average consumer. The suede leather offers a tough exterior, while the mesh underlays provide a contrast in color tone as well as breathable areas to help keep your feet cool.
The mesh lining also wicks moisture away from your feet, letting you stay at work or on the trails even longer, regardless of how hot, humid, muddy, or rainy it may be outside. The padded collar and tongue make these boots comfortable for any task, and EVA foam insole and midsole aid that effort.
Pros: More affordable option, rubber sole, true steel toe, reinforced toe and heel guards, breathable moisture-wicking mesh lining and padded collar and tongue. EVA foam insole and midsole add to comfort.
Cons: Synthetic leather, only one color option, some customers have reported a thin insole.
This sharp looking boot from Wolverine would likely be Goldilocks’ favorite, for a variety of reasons. First, it’s right in the mid-range sweet spot when it comes to price point: more expensive than the Dickies faux-leather option, but not quite as expensive as the authentic leather Timberland PRO Hyperion Work Boots.
- Gore-tex breathable waterproof membrane
- Removable full-cushion foot bed
- Ultra-light ethylene vinyl acetate midsole for all day comfort
- Rubber lug outsole
But that’s not to say that Wolverine cut any corners when it comes to materials, not by a long shot. These boots boast 100% leather and a true steel toe, plus a hiker-favorite brand of breathable waterproof membrane from Gore-tex. The rubber sole is similar to the one on the Escape Hiker Work Boots from Dickies, and the full-cushion interior foot bed is fully removable, allowing you to wash, repair, or replace those components if necessary.
And the design of the Wolverine Men’s Harden Hiker GTX Steel-Toe Work Boots is fantastic, with a classy leather exterior that looks good on the hiking trail, at work, or even paired with a pair of jeans in a casual setting. Plus, Wolverine actually provides some choices when it comes to color scheme, offering these boots in brown or orange.
The Wolverines are genuine work boots that are disguising themselves as hiking boots and doing a very good job. The thick sole, authentic leather exterior, and true steel-toe mean they’re built for any job site, but the rest of the features are representative of any reliable hiking boot. The Gore-Tex waterproof breathable membrane will keep you dry on muddy trails or rainy days at work, and the removable full-cushion insoles let you customize breathability and comfort.
Pros: Affordable but not cheap, 100% leather, Gore-Tex breathable waterproof lining, rubber sole, true steel toe, removable full-cushion insole. Two color options.
Cons: Traction in snow or ice could be better, could use more cushioning in hell area according to some reviews.
In conclusion, the answer to the question “can you hike in work boots?” is a resounding “yes!”
But, you want to make sure you pick the right product before you head out onto the trails.
Regular work boots are great—for work. If you take them out onto the trails, you’ll be complaining about blisters and tired feet before you know it.
Fortunately, brands like Timberland PRO, Dickies, and Wolverine know that there’s a large group of consumers out there that need tough, durable boots for work, and comfortable, waterproof boots for hiking.
The boots listed in this article are ideal hybrids between the two boot styles that don’t compromise in any department.
If you’re a hard-working person who loves to get outside and hike in their spare time, you might consider consolidating your footwear by purchasing any of these fine work boots that are also perfect for hiking.