Are Duck Boots Good For Hiking? Our Answer…

Planning for a hike can be overwhelming, especially when trying to choose the perfect clothing and footwear to accommodate the weather and your location. That said, hiking has many benefits… which is why I like to teach hiking and camping enthusiasts ways to keep themselves feeling comfortable and safe on their adventure. This way they’ll stick with it!

Choosing the proper footwear for hikes is a most crucial aspect of comfortability and safety. Even for a short hike, comfortable footwear is essential. Uncomfortable shoes can be unbearable, cause unnecessary injury and ruin your fun.

Some men and women prefer wearing running or cross country shoes for their hikes, while others go for boots. If you are a boot lover, you may be thinking of wearing duck boots for hiking. Heck, it’s crossed my mind!  But are duck boots good for hiking?

In this article, we’ll go over the pros and cons of wearing duck boots during hikes, so that you can make an informed decision.

Are Duck Boots Good For Hiking?

No. Duck boots are not suitable for hiking. The material on the bottom of the boot is rubber, which does not allow for breathability. Duck boots also lack the traction and stability needed for hiking enthusiasts who travel long distances across rocky, hilly, and valley terrain.

Additionally, duck boots provide minimal ankle support. This can be a recipe for disaster, especially when carrying a heavy backpack.  When you are hiking, you need footwear that will withstand  changes in surface traction and provide stability. Unfortunately, duck boots are not the best for that.

Duck boots are also unsuitable for longer hikes on hot days. Remember, they are made of non-breathable material and often lined to keep you warm.

When Are Duck Boots Good For Hiking?

Wearing duck boots for hiking can be appropriate in some situations. It’s ok to wear duck boots for hiking when:

  • You’re going for a short hike – Even with the most comfortable socks, you can get blisters on your feet because of sweat. That’s why duck boots are ideal for short hikes of no more than two hours.
  • You’re hiking on a cold day – You can wear duck boots during winter and keep warm throughout the day. They also allow you to walk in snow tracks or swampy areas, keeping your feet dry.
  • Exploring wet areas – To enjoy your hike to the maximum, especially on a rainy day, you need comfortable footwear and rain gear. Duck boots are designed with a micro-fleece lining, making them comfy and warm, without letting dampness in. 
  • The terrain is not too rocky, steep, or hilly. Flat surfaces or trails don’t always require hiking boots. 

What Are the Alternatives to Duck Boots For Hiking?

Comfortable boots should have enough cushioning and provide adequate ankle support. They should also have perfect insoles to absorb the shock as your step. A good boot should have good quality material to make it breathable and durable.

The first thing I ask the sales associate, or look for in customer reviews when choosing any hiking shoe, is breathability. If a boot does not allow for fresh air, my feet will sweat and blisters will likely occur in time… which would be an unwelcomed hiccup in planning another hike anytime soon.   Breathable footwear material allows excellent airflow.

You also want to make sure the boot you choose isn’t too heavy. Wearing a heavy boot during your hike can wear you down. This is because they make you use more energy, leading to fatigue.  Just be sure not to overlook the safety and quality of the boot when going for lightweight.

A good alternative for duck boots is one that eliminates its downsides, such as non-breathability, and also enhances comfort in all weather and terrain.  Two options I like are:

1. Best Value Hiking Boot: Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

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Lightweight, waterproof, and have maximum traction for all terrains. These hiking boots are suitable for running, hiking, or walking even in wet conditions. They provide ankle support, therefore reducing injuries. These boots have breathable fabric and are easy to clean. Technically, Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX is the perfect alternative since it addresses many downsides of the duck boot.

2. Best Hiking Boot for Women: HI-TEC Women’s Skamania Mid Wp-w

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These boots are well designed to protect your ankles. With their cushioned midsole, removable insole, and steel shank for support and stability, these boots will make your hikes fun and comfy all year round.

3. Best Hiking Shoe: Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

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These shoes are a great alternative for those who don’t want boots. They are constructed with performance suede leather and mesh. Bellows, closed-cell foam tongue keeps moisture and debris out and there is a protective rubber toe cap. It also features breathable mesh lining and a Vibram TC5-plus sole. As a bonus, the company is committed to trail preservation and environmentally sound products.

Final Thoughts on Duck Boots for Hiking

So here’s the deal… you wanted to know if you can wear duck boots for hiking? Unfortunately, we say “no”, they’re not the best option.   Duck boots lack good traction, ankle support and are not breathable.

While you can wear duck boots when going for a short hike on relatively flat terrain, or in cold and wet

weather, there are still better options for intermediate and advanced hikes.

Duck boots are comfortable for casual walk in muddy or damp place. Using them now and again won’t be the end of the world, but it’s setting you up for disappoint in the wrong conditions.

If you’re going for a hike soon, check out this article on what to pack for your hike. The hiking gear list will ensure you don’t leave anything behind.  Happy travels!

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