Are Hiking Boots Good for Climbing?

Hiking boots are a common staple of the outdoorsman’s wardrobe, but what about climbing? Are they suitable for rock climbing? The short answer is no, but there are certain circumstances where hiking boots could be used for climbing.

Different Purposes

Hiking boots and climbing shoes have different purposes. Hiking boots are designed to provide maximum protection and cushioning on uneven terrain.

They usually have a thick sole and sturdy upper that can handle rugged terrain. Climbing shoes, on the other hand, are designed for one purpose only: to stick to the rock face. They feature an ultra-thin sole and an aggressive rubber compound that allows them to grip the rock as you ascend.

When Hiking Boots Are Suitable

In some cases, hiking boots can be used in place of climbing shoes. For example, if you’re doing a low-angle climb or scrambling up boulders, then a pair of sturdy hiking boots might be enough to get you through it safely. If you’re going up something more technical with steep pitches and overhangs, then it’s best to opt for a pair of dedicated climbing shoes.


Another factor to consider is durability. Hiking boots tend to be much more durable than climbing shoes because they’re made with thicker materials.

This means that if you’re going on a long climb where you need your gear to last longer than a few hours, then hiking boots may be the better option. However, if you’re only going for a short climb and want maximum grip on the rock face, then opting for climbing shoes is the way to go.


In summary, hiking boots are not suitable for all types of rock climbing but can be used in certain situations such as low-angle climbs or scrambles up boulders. They also offer more durability than dedicated climbing shoes so they may be better suited for longer climbs or multi-day hikes. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and what type of terrain you plan on tackling with your footwear choice!

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Samantha Mckinney