It’s incredibly important to have a pair of comfortable footwear when you are walking or trekking.
With footwear, you need to pick the right choice for your feet, activity and terrain. Without them, it can lead to bruised, sore feet that could end your walk or trek earlier than expected.
As similar activities, it can be confusing to understand the difference between walking and trekking, and why they may use different footwear.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide so you can tell the difference between the two and pick your perfect footwear.
Walking, or hiking, is a leisurely activity of walking long routes or nature trails. Walking is generally completed in a day, but can involve overnight stays in camping sites, hostels or huts along the way.
Walking boots are sturdy, thick boots that provide protection for your feet. With a tough sole and high ankles, walking boots help provide support for your foot and prevent you from spraining or rolling your ankles.
The thick protective material will also limit your range of movement, which can feel too restrictive for some walkers. The material will also need breaking in before big walks, otherwise, the shoes can be uncomfortable and cause rubbing or blisters.
Walking boots are also made with waterproof materials to keep your feet dry in wet conditions.
However, the waterproofing and thick material mean that water vapour can’t escape easily.
So, if you need to cross rivers or your feet are fully submerged in water, your shoes will take a long time to dry out. If you wear them in the summer months, your feet will sweat more easily and can cause blisters.
Overall, walking boots are strong, sturdy waterproof boots perfect for the colder months. They are also durable and can last you up to 1,000 miles when looked after.
Trekking is a multi-day long distance walk, where you will carry all your luggage and essential items with you. In general, trekking is a more challenging activity than walking and takes places in areas where other means of transport can’t access.
Trekking shoes, such as trail runners, are made from lightweight and more flexible materials than walking boots. The lightweight material offers more flexibility, giving you a better range of movement in your feet.
Trekking shoes are perfect for those who prefer lightweight footwear and are the ideal choice to get an overall lightweight kit. The shoes also need no breaking in and are ready for action right away.
Designed with a low-cut ankle and multiple mesh patches, trekking shoes give you maximum breathability. As they are fast-drying, they are great for crossing rivers or through the summer months.
However, trekking shoes aren’t as waterproof as walking boots and can’t offer the same amount of warmth through the winter.
The lightweight material also doesn’t offer the same amount of protection as walking boots. With narrow soles, you can feel bumps and rocks under your feet which can be uncomfortable on the long days.
Overall, trekking shoes are a lightweight, breathable and fast-drying shoe. However, they don’t offer the same protection, warmth or durability as walking boots.
On average, trekking shoes should be replaced every 500 miles to prevent potential damage to your feet.
Overall, walking boots are tough, durable and waterproof boots that protect your feet. Trekking shoes don’t offer the same protection or durability but are more lightweight, breathable and flexible.
When choosing between walking boots and trekking shoes, it’s important to bear in mind the weather and type of terrain you are going to face.
During the summer months, or places where you are likely to cross a river you may prefer the fast-drying trekking booths. However, in wet, and colder months the waterproof walking boots may be the better fit.