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What Do You Wear With Hiking Boots? The 7 Best Options

Choosing a pair of snug-fitting boots for your hike is tough, but what is tougher is what to wear with the boots. You have to put the weather and the terrain into consideration, plus you don’t want to show up on the trail looking like someone washed up on the seashore.

Surprisingly, hiking boots are making their way into mainstream fashion. Also, manufacturers are creating innovative designs that easily blend with different hiking gear and contemporary fashion.

Your health and hiking experience will likely depend on what you wear with your hiking boots. Therefore, it is always important to prioritize function over fashion.

Hikers walk on the mountain trail

Sometimes you may need to layer your clothing in such a way that each layer has its own unique role. Consequently, you can add or remove any of the layers to adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Layering is not only a fashionable way of wearing clothes with hiking boots, it is also a survival strategy considering the fact that forecasts often go off. In other words, the forecast may predict a wet condition, but it ends up being far hotter.

Another important consideration to make is comfort. The more comfortable you are with what you wear, the longer you can hike.

If you have decided to be more intentional with what you hear with your hiking boots, you have arrived at the right place. We are going to tell you what to wear with hiking boots while keeping safety at the core of our recommendation.

Cowboy Boots 1

What do you wear with hiking boots?

There are three categories of hiking boots, namely the low-cut, mid-cut, and high-cut models. Although you can wear any of these types of hiking boots with any type of clothing or accessories, the right choice of hiking boots will give you a better fit and protection for the terrain you plan to hike.

For example, high-cut hiking boots are best for mountainous terrain. However, they don’t give a very good fit when worn with shorts.

So, can you still wear high-cut hiking boots with shorts when hiking in mountainous terrain in the summer? The answer is yes, but you must throw in some accessories to make it look more appealing.

Below is a long list of what you can wear with hiking boots, when, and how to wear them. While a lot of consideration, research, and community opinion inspired our list, don’t let it stifle your creativity.

1. Wear hiking boots with shorts for summer

FREE SOLDIER Men's Lightweight Breathable Quick Dry Tactical Shorts Hiking Cargo Shorts Nylon Spandex (Gray 36W x 12L)
Willit Women's Yoga Lounge Shorts Hiking Active Running Workout Shorts Comfy Travel Casual Shorts with Pockets 2.5" Denim Blue XL
FREE SOLDIER Men's Lightweight Breathable Quick Dry Tactical Shorts Hiking Cargo Shorts Nylon Spandex (Gray 36W x 12L)
Willit Women's Yoga Lounge Shorts Hiking Active Running Workout Shorts Comfy Travel Casual Shorts with Pockets 2.5" Denim Blue XL
FREE SOLDIER Men's Lightweight Breathable Quick Dry Tactical Shorts Hiking Cargo Shorts Nylon Spandex (Gray 36W x 12L)
FREE SOLDIER Men's Lightweight Breathable Quick Dry Tactical Shorts Hiking Cargo Shorts Nylon Spandex (Gray 36W x 12L)
Willit Women's Yoga Lounge Shorts Hiking Active Running Workout Shorts Comfy Travel Casual Shorts with Pockets 2.5" Denim Blue XL
Willit Women's Yoga Lounge Shorts Hiking Active Running Workout Shorts Comfy Travel Casual Shorts with Pockets 2.5" Denim Blue XL

Last update on 2021-11-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When hiking difficult terrain during the summer, you want to keep your dressing as light as possible to avoid getting too sweaty. A breathable, low or mid-cut hiking boot will be a preferable option here so that your feet can stay dry throughout the duration of the hike.

Wearing a pair of socks may not be necessary because it can cause your feet to heat up. However, you will definitely need a straw hat that shields your head from sunlight while staying breathable.

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Last update on 2021-12-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mans wear shorts with hiking boots

When it comes to the choice of shorts, women can go for a pair of denim bump shorts that hug their thighs. Men, on the other hand, should choose hiking shorts that stop just above their knees.

Shorts that go lower than your knee or stop at the calves don’t look good with hiking boots. Moreover, the essence of wearing shorts in the first place is to keep a large part of your legs exposed to the air. So, wearing longer shorts is simply counterproductive.

Just like the shorts, your top has to be in sync with the weather too, meaning you have to keep it light. A bright-colored checkered or floral t-shirt or tank top will be a good fit for men. Women can opt for bright-colored crop tops.

Always keep the color of your top bright when hiking during the summer because bright colors reflect the sun’s heat thereby helping you to stay cool during hot weather.

It is important to mention that you should also know the nature of your hiking terrain. If you are going to wear shorts, make sure that the terrain is free of harmful insects and bugs.

If there are harmful insects on your proposed hiking trail, then you need to put on insect-repellent lotions.

Last update on 2021-12-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Wear hiking boots with crampons and gaiters for winter

Hiking boots with the best lug soles and grip pads will still not have a chance to prevent you from falling when you are hiking on terrain covered with a thick layer of snow. In this case, you will need crampons to improve your grip and keep your feet steady.

Crampons wrap around the soles of hiking boots to provide adequate traction that helps your boots bite through the snow. The choice of a high-cut hiking boot is really a no-brainer since it will give better protection and warmth to your feet.

Besides, to make sure that the snow or water does not make your legs soggy and cold, using gaiters is a good solution. They will keep your lower legs completely dry.

Pike Trail Leg Gaiters – Waterproof and Adjustable Snow Boot Gaiters for Hiking, Walking, Hunting, Mountain Climbing and Snowshoeing
Crampons Ice Cleats Traction Snow Grips for Boots Shoes Women Men Kids Anti Slip 19 Stainless Steel Spikes Safe Protect for Hiking Fishing Walking Climbing Mountaineering (Black, Medium)
Pike Trail Leg Gaiters – Waterproof and Adjustable Snow Boot Gaiters for Hiking, Walking, Hunting, Mountain Climbing and Snowshoeing
Crampons Ice Cleats Traction Snow Grips for Boots Shoes Women Men Kids Anti Slip 19 Stainless Steel Spikes Safe Protect for Hiking Fishing Walking Climbing Mountaineering (Black, Medium)
Pike Trail Leg Gaiters – Waterproof and Adjustable Snow Boot Gaiters for Hiking, Walking, Hunting, Mountain Climbing and Snowshoeing
Pike Trail Leg Gaiters – Waterproof and Adjustable Snow Boot Gaiters for Hiking, Walking, Hunting, Mountain Climbing and Snowshoeing
Crampons Ice Cleats Traction Snow Grips for Boots Shoes Women Men Kids Anti Slip 19 Stainless Steel Spikes Safe Protect for Hiking Fishing Walking Climbing Mountaineering (Black, Medium)
Crampons Ice Cleats Traction Snow Grips for Boots Shoes Women Men Kids Anti Slip 19 Stainless Steel Spikes Safe Protect for Hiking Fishing Walking Climbing Mountaineering (Black, Medium)

Last update on 2021-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Man wear hiking boors with gaiters and crampons for snow hiking

Pair your crampon-fortified hiking boots with fleece pants and a polyester fleece jacket or a puffy jacket to keep you insulated from the cold. Complete your appearance with thick gloves and a head warmer.

Yeokou Women's Warm Sherpa Lined Athletic Sweatpants Jogger Fleece Pants (Small, Black001)
Gihuo Men's Casual Fleece Lined Winter Pant Active Jogger Sweatpants (Black, Large)
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Women's Waterproof Ski Jacket Warm Winter Snow Coat Hooded Raincoat
Yeokou Women's Warm Sherpa Lined Athletic Sweatpants Jogger Fleece Pants (Small, Black001)
Gihuo Men's Casual Fleece Lined Winter Pant Active Jogger Sweatpants (Black, Large)
MOERDENG Men's Waterproof Ski Jacket Warm Winter Snow Coat Mountain Windbreaker Hooded Raincoat
Women's Waterproof Ski Jacket Warm Winter Snow Coat Hooded Raincoat
Yeokou Women's Warm Sherpa Lined Athletic Sweatpants Jogger Fleece Pants (Small, Black001)
Yeokou Women's Warm Sherpa Lined Athletic Sweatpants Jogger Fleece Pants (Small, Black001)
Gihuo Men's Casual Fleece Lined Winter Pant Active Jogger Sweatpants (Black, Large)
Gihuo Men's Casual Fleece Lined Winter Pant Active Jogger Sweatpants (Black, Large)
MOERDENG Men's Waterproof Ski Jacket Warm Winter Snow Coat Mountain Windbreaker Hooded Raincoat
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Women's Waterproof Ski Jacket Warm Winter Snow Coat Hooded Raincoat
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Last update on 2021-12-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It is crucial to mention that some crampons are only compatible with certain kinds of boots—or have narrow compatibility. Therefore, make sure that your choice of crampon is compatible with your hiking boots.

3. Wear hiking boots with trail gaiters for sandy terrain

Pike Trail Leg Gaiters – Waterproof and Adjustable Snow Boot Gaiters for Hiking, Walking, Hunting, Mountain Climbing and Snowshoeing
Azarxis Low Trail Gaiters Reflective Ankle Gators Protective Shoe Covers with UV Protection & Breathable & Sand Prevention for Women & Men & Youth Hiking Climbing (Green)
Pike Trail Leg Gaiters – Waterproof and Adjustable Snow Boot Gaiters for Hiking, Walking, Hunting, Mountain Climbing and Snowshoeing
Azarxis Low Trail Gaiters Reflective Ankle Gators Protective Shoe Covers with UV Protection & Breathable & Sand Prevention for Women & Men & Youth Hiking Climbing (Green)
Pike Trail Leg Gaiters – Waterproof and Adjustable Snow Boot Gaiters for Hiking, Walking, Hunting, Mountain Climbing and Snowshoeing
Pike Trail Leg Gaiters – Waterproof and Adjustable Snow Boot Gaiters for Hiking, Walking, Hunting, Mountain Climbing and Snowshoeing
Azarxis Low Trail Gaiters Reflective Ankle Gators Protective Shoe Covers with UV Protection & Breathable & Sand Prevention for Women & Men & Youth Hiking Climbing (Green)
Azarxis Low Trail Gaiters Reflective Ankle Gators Protective Shoe Covers with UV Protection & Breathable & Sand Prevention for Women & Men & Youth Hiking Climbing (Green)

Last update on 2021-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are an avid hiker, there is a huge chance that you might have seen another hiker putting on gaiters. They can be mistaken for legwarmers, and their main purpose is to keep debris and sand out of your hiking boots.

Gaiters can be used on all types of hiking boots, although their impact is usually more pronounced on low-cut hiking boots. It is easier for sand and debris to get into low-cut hiking boots compared to high-cut hiking boots.

Gaiters can also prevent insects from attacking the top of your boots or from finding an exposed part of your skin to attack. Gaiters cannot be worn with shorts. So, you must pair it with your favorite pants.

Man wear hiking boots with gaiters

Gaiters come in different heights, and choosing the right one is paramount. If you are only concerned about insect bites around your ankle, you can use the low gaiters to cover this area.

However, if you want to keep sand out of your boots or prevent moisture from getting into your boots, then you will need higher gaiters. Gaiters can be restricted, which is why you need to make sure that you are using the right one.

In the absence of gaiters, you can keep sand out of your high-cut boots by wearing long pants and tucking them into the boots. Tucking your pants into your hiking boots will not work if you are wearing a low-cut hiking boot.

4. Wear hiking boots with denim pants for terrain with thick vegetation

Terrains with thick vegetation come with their own unique challenges, one of which is trying to keep thorny plants from hurting your skin. Wearing thick pants that leave no part of your body exposed is paramount in this situation.

Men wear jeans with hiking boots

Also, most parasitic insects find thick vegetation conducive to breeding. Denim pants are sturdy and will do a great job of protecting your skin from thorns, pricks, and insect stings.

The best types of denim pants to wear in this circumstance are the slim fit or skinny ones, and you should combine them with sturdy, high-cut hiking boots. Tuck the narrow end of the denim pants inside the collar of your hiking boots to give yourself maximum protection from the environmental elements.

Levi's Men's 511 Slim Fit Jean, Throttle - Stretch, 32W x 32L
Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Women's Totally Shaping Pull-on Skinny Jeans, Stormy Sky, 12
Levi's Men's 511 Slim Fit Jean, Throttle - Stretch, 32W x 32L
Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Women's Totally Shaping Pull-on Skinny Jeans, Stormy Sky, 12
Levi's Men's 511 Slim Fit Jean, Throttle - Stretch, 32W x 32L
Levi's Men's 511 Slim Fit Jean, Throttle - Stretch, 32W x 32L
Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Women's Totally Shaping Pull-on Skinny Jeans, Stormy Sky, 12
Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Women's Totally Shaping Pull-on Skinny Jeans, Stormy Sky, 12

Last update on 2021-12-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Women wear jeans with hiking boots

Hiking in terrain with thick vegetation using low-cut hiking boots or trail runners is a bad idea, and you should resist the urge as much as possible.

You will also need a thick long-sleeved top to keep every part of your body covered. If the weather is a bit cold, you can opt for long-sleeved sweaters. On the other hand, if the weather is hot, swap this pair with light or medium-weight long sleeve shirts—whichever makes you more comfortable in the weather.

While it is unlikely that you will have a thorn from a shrub or creeper grazing your neck, insects can still feast on your neck. However, you can also cover this area using neck gaiters.

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Last update on 2021-12-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. Wear hiking boots with hiking pants for wet terrain

When hiking in wet areas or if you anticipate light showers during the hike, it is important to wear water-resistant clothing. This is where hiking pants come in handy.

FREE SOLDIER Men's Fleece Lined Outdoor Cargo Hiking Pants Water Repellent Softshell Snow Ski Pants with Zipper Pockets (Gray 34W x 30L)
MIER Women's Quick Dry Cargo Pants Lightweight Tactical Hiking Pants with 6 Pockets, Stretchy and Water-Resistant, Graphite Grey, 2
FREE SOLDIER Men's Fleece Lined Outdoor Cargo Hiking Pants Water Repellent Softshell Snow Ski Pants with Zipper Pockets (Gray 34W x 30L)
MIER Women's Quick Dry Cargo Pants Lightweight Tactical Hiking Pants with 6 Pockets, Stretchy and Water-Resistant, Graphite Grey, 2
FREE SOLDIER Men's Fleece Lined Outdoor Cargo Hiking Pants Water Repellent Softshell Snow Ski Pants with Zipper Pockets (Gray 34W x 30L)
FREE SOLDIER Men's Fleece Lined Outdoor Cargo Hiking Pants Water Repellent Softshell Snow Ski Pants with Zipper Pockets (Gray 34W x 30L)
MIER Women's Quick Dry Cargo Pants Lightweight Tactical Hiking Pants with 6 Pockets, Stretchy and Water-Resistant, Graphite Grey, 2
MIER Women's Quick Dry Cargo Pants Lightweight Tactical Hiking Pants with 6 Pockets, Stretchy and Water-Resistant, Graphite Grey, 2

Last update on 2021-12-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

They are usually made of scratch-resistant polyester with a soft polar fleece lining. The material used in their manufacture gives them water and wind-resistant properties so that they can repel snow, rain, and wind.

Also, the materials used in their production give them superior moisture-wicking properties. If they ever get dry, they also lose the water quickly and dry faster.

Interestingly, regardless of these properties, they are still able to maintain good breathability. They are lined on the inside with premium fleece lining fabric that gives your skin a soft touch and effectively locks in the heat so that you stay cool—even when the environment is a little chilly.

Men wear hiking pants with hiking boots

When wearing hiking pants to prevent you from getting wet, it is important that you don’t tuck them into your hiking boots, or any water that drops on them will trickle down into your boots. Instead, have them drape over the collar of your boots.

To increase their efficiency of keeping water out of your boots, it will be a smart idea to combine them with gaiters . The gaiters will serve as a second layer that will collect any water running down from the pants and properly channel them away from the boots.

Interestingly, there are hiking pants for both males and females. Inasmuch as they are close-fitting, they stretch and still give your leg enough space so that you can freely move—and even climb—with them.

If you will be hiking in a mountainous location that requires lots of climbing, we suggest that you choose hiking pants with zipper pockets. You can put your accessories like GPS trackers and mobile phones in the pockets and zip them up.

That way, you can minimize the risk of losing your accessories during a climb since they can easily slip out of your pocket.

6. Wear hiking boots with straight leg jean pants for rough terrain

From sharp rock edges to pebbles that your feet kick up as you walk, there are so many things that can hurt you when hiking through rough terrain. Wearing straight-cut jean pants is better than skinny cuts for this location.

Levi's Men's 550 Relaxed-fit Jean, Highland, 32X30
Levi's Women's Classic Straight Jeans Pants, -Maui waterfall, 29 (US 8) R
Levi's Men's 550 Relaxed-fit Jean, Highland, 32X30
Levi's Women's Classic Straight Jeans Pants, -Maui waterfall, 29 (US 8) R
Levi's Men's 550 Relaxed-fit Jean, Highland, 32X30
Levi's Men's 550 Relaxed-fit Jean, Highland, 32X30
Levi's Women's Classic Straight Jeans Pants, -Maui waterfall, 29 (US 8) R
Levi's Women's Classic Straight Jeans Pants, -Maui waterfall, 29 (US 8) R

Last update on 2021-12-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Give the bottom of the jeans a clean fold and use it to cover the top of your boot collar to create a thick barrier around your ankle and lower calves. This is important because most of the injuries you will experience will likely happen in this area.

men wear jeans with a clean fold at the bottom to cover the boot collar

It is easier to graze your lower leg against the edge of a low rock, especially if you have a casual and unconscious walking pattern. For rough terrain, wearing sturdy, high-cut hiking boots is not negotiable if you want to keep your feet safe.

Rough terrain is usually a good spot for dangerous reptiles. This is another reason to wear really sturdy boots and loose-fitting jeans. These will make it harder for them to get a clean shot at you if they decide to lurch at you.

In cool weather, combine this with puffy insulated jackets . The puffed-out nature of the jackets will also serve as a barrier that prevents sharp rock edges from easily coming into contact with your skin.

7. Wear high-cut hiking boots with colorful socks to look good

Girl wear jeans, hiking boots and colorful socks

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Last update on 2021-12-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Low-cut hiking boots blend well with socks and are sometimes worn by people with their regular outdoor clothes. However, wearing hiking boots with colorful socks is more of a fashion trend than a hiking essential.

Hiking boots were once thought to be unsightly. But millennials are adding color to how people view hiking boots by using artistic socks.

The hiking boots mostly worn with colorful socks are the high-cut hiking boots because they are the ones that have been really accused of being ugly.

When wearing hiking boots with socks, it is important to pair them with fashionable shorts, skirts, or bump shorts. When worn with long pants, the pants will cover the socks, thereby defeating the purpose of wearing the socks in the first place.

Some people tuck the pants into the socks to keep their brilliant colors displayed. However, we will not recommend this because it doesn’t always look appealing. If you must do this, make sure that you are wearing skinny pants.

Girl wear hiking boots with colorful socks and skinny pants

Wearing high-cut hiking boots with colorful socks and fashionable shorts is a creative way of showing up for a summer hike in style.

Foxelli Men’s Hiking Boots – Waterproof Suede Leather Hiking Boots for Men, Breathable, Comfortable & Lightweight Hiking Shoes
High-cut hiking boots | Click image for more information

Conclusion

The stereotype that hiking boots can only be used for hiking is changing as the younger generations are finding ways to creatively pair their hiking boots with regular outdoor clothes. Nevertheless, when considering what to wear with hiking boots, it is always best to put your safety first.

So, even though we have listed some of the popular ways of combining hiking boots with other wear and accessories, you are free to get creative without sacrificing your safety—if you are going to wear them on a hike.

We cannot also overemphasize the importance of having a good knowledge of your proposed hiking location because it will also guide what you wear. If your favorite combination is not suitable for the weather or hiking terrain, then there is no point in risking your health and safety.

Whenever necessary, make sure you show up on the trail with accessories like gaiters or hats. They may seem small but can improve your hiking experience in ways that you never imagined.


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