Are Steel Toe Boots Good for Hiking?

The short answer to this question is – no, steel toe boots aren’t the most suitable option for hiking. However, this doesn’t mean that they are completely out of the running either.

I have been a hiking guide for over a decade now. If there is one thing that I can teach you, it is this: you can’t use one pair of shoes for all your excursions. Every trek is different because you’re dealing with varying terrain and weather conditions.

As such, you need distinct shoes to match each occasion. On this note, here is what I will be discussing below:

  • When to use steel toe hiking boots
  • A quick guide on choosing the best pair for you
  • When to give this type of footwear a miss

Now, let’s go ahead and get started.

When to Use Steel Toe Hiking Boots

Steel toe hiking boots are an evolution of steel toe work boots. Designed for construction workers, these shoes contain a steel toe box inside. This protects the front of the foot from falling debris and any object that can pierce skin or bone.

This is why I would recommend steel toe hiking boots if you are going bouldering on your hike. Bits of rock can loosen while you are scrambling around. Having reinforced shoes on can prevent injury to your foot.

Hiking through brush or dense foliage and need to clear a path? I would certainly wear these boots. They ensure that a misplaced machete or knife isn’t going to skewer your toes.

I like to have steel toe hiking boots on whenever I need to chop firewood as well. Once again, it gives me peace of mind to know that my feet are well protected when I’m handling an axe.

The Best Steel Toe Hiking Boots

If you are looking for a great steel toe hiking boot, I would endorse the Skechers for Work Blais Hiking Shoes.

Skechers for Work Men's Blais Hiking Shoe, Black, 10.5...
Skechers for Work Men's Blais Hiking Shoe, Black, 10.5...
1,056 Reviews
  • Steel-toe hiker in waterproof seam-sealed construction featuring lace-up vamp
  • Tongue and heel pull tabs
  • Removable memory-foam footbed
  • Lugged rubber outsole

What I like most about this pair is that you get enough protection as well as comfort. This is all thanks to the memory foam technology.

Due to this, the boots don’t take as long to break in and you can reduce the risk of developing blisters or callouses. At the same time, the comfort factor also helps when it comes to taking long hiking trips.

I also like the fact that they are seam sealed and waterproof. You can walk through muddy terrain and not have to worry that your shoes will get soaked through.

How to Choose Steel Toe Hiking Boots

Here are some tips you can follow when selecting your own pair:

The Weight

One of the main downsides of steel toe hiking boots is the weight. The metal adds considerable heft to your shoe which can make hiking tricky.

This is why it is important to check the weight of the boots. It is important to find a pair that strikes a balance between protection and bulk. Remember that you won’t be able to go far with shoes that are too heavy.

The Season Rating

Steel toe hiking boots have different season ratings. Some are for summer or dry conditions, while others are more suited to wet and cold weather. Unfortunately, you can’t wear one pair for all weather conditions.

The summer boots are often designed with mesh and other lightweight, breathable materials. This prevents you from sweating on your hike. The downside, though, is that they let in water quite easily.

The winter boots, on the other hand, boast waterproof material. They are also sewn or sealed in such a way that prevents water from getting in. However, this can make the shoes a bit warm to wear in the summer.

The Sole

The toe isn’t the only part of your hiking boot that helps to keep you safe. The sole plays a role as well. This is especially true when it comes to slick or worn down terrain.

For this purpose, you should look for treads that offer excellent grip. Rubber soles work best and should have a contrasting tread to prevent you from slipping.

The Size

Last, but not least, pay attention to the sizing. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how comfortable the inner shoe is if you have the wrong size. Shoes that are too small can cause chafing and blisters. Ones that are too large can compromise your safety.

The best way to make sure that you get the proper size is to base your decision on measurements. Don’t be misled by shoe sizes as these can vary from one manufacturer to another. Instead, measure the length and width of your feet. Then, compare these to the dimensions of the shoes.

When Should You Not Wear Steel Toe Hiking Boots

Ok, so when should you not be wearing such boots? I would say that they aren’t appropriate for longer hikes. They are too heavy and will become uncomfortable after a while. Not to mention, they will slow you down as well.

If you aren’t already used to steel toe work boots, these hiking boots can take some getting used to. As a result, you may find that it takes a longer while for you to break them in.

As discussed, steel hiking boots do have their uses. Despite this, I wouldn’t recommend them to be worn on every excursion you plan. Instead, it is best to break them out only when you’re hiking through dense forest or going bouldering. The shoes work best for shorter hikes as well.

If you are thinking of investing in a pair, the Skechers for Work Blais boots are your best option. They strike an excellent balance between protection and comfort. The shoes are great for hiking in wet conditions as well.

Make sure to follow the guidelines mentioned here for hiking with steel toe boots. You will find it easier to find the perfect shoes and ensure that your trek is safe, comfortable, and a great experience all around.

This page was last updated on 2021-09-21. Affiliate links and Product Images are from Amazon PAAPI

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