Are Military Boots Good For Backpacking?

If you like to wear military boots or have a pair that you don’t use often, it’s not uncommon to wonder if they can be used for hiking. Personally, I don’t have a pair of military boots but I’ve talked to a few military veterans to find out if the military boots are good for hiking. So, let’s start!

Are Military Boots Good For Backpacking?

So, are military boots good for backpacking? Military boots are comfortable and can be used for hiking and backpacking. Military boots will give you ankle support and extra durability if you’re hiking on uneven terrain. They can also be used in extreme conditions and are a perfect choice for any backpacking trip.

As I have a lot of experience with backpacking and hiking in different areas, I want to share with you what I learned on this topic. I will first explain the basic difference between standard hiking boots and military boots. Therefore, let’s get started with this topic.

Things To Look For In A Good Hiking Boot

Things that are important When choosing boots

If you are just starting out in search of quality hiking boots, the 3 main things to keep in mind are: the component, type, do the boots fit your feet. Let’s study them in more detail.

1. Types Of Military Boots

When it comes to hiking boots, you have a choice between several types:

  • Standard models with midsoles that are flexible. This shoe is often a choice for those who have long journeys and is used by ultralight backpackers.
  • Hiking boots day are high- to mid-cut models. They are designed for only short distances. They lack firmness when it comes to backpacking boots and must be broken-in.
  • These boots are made for long and tough walks where you carry a lot of things. They are usually used for any type of trail that lasts more than one day.

2. Features That Military Boots Need to Have

Every boot that is made for hiking needs to have these 5 features:

  • Upper boot materials have to be water-resistant, breathable, and durable. You can choose between split leather, full-grain leather, nubuck leather, waterproof membranes, synthetics, synthetic insulation and vegan leather.
  • Boots midsoles affect the cushioning and stiffness of the boot. It determines how stable and comfortable they will be on hard terrains. These materials used as standard include polyurethane and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA).
  • Internal Support of shoes for hiking includes the thickness of 3-5mm that shanks insert between the outsole midsole. Below the shank are plates with semi-flexible inserts.
  • Outsoles are usually made out of material rubber. To add grip and hardness to the boot, manufacturers put in additives. Outsoles also have heel and lug patterns.
  • Crampon capability is very important if you are hiking in winter or during the rain.

3. The Fit of the Boot

During hiking, feet swell from walking. Therefore your footwear for such a trip must be comfortable for the foot. When you are wearing your military boots, they need to be comfortable to move your fingers freely.

When You Should Wear Military Boots?

Wear Military Boots For Hiking

For most hiking routes, military boots are not the best choice. Most hiking enthusiasts these days prefer to choose trail runners or some other modern footwear. When choosing footwear from this category, you should definitely keep in mind the total weight you will have, along with the equipment during the hiking trip. Military boots are strong and therefore suitable for moving when you carry heavy loads. Here are some data that is good to know:

Pack WeightType of Shoe
0 – 25 lbsHiking shoes or trail runners
25 – 50 lbsMidweight, midheight hiking boots
50+ lbsCombat or heavyweight boots
Important things when choosing boots for hiking

You need to consider what type of terrain you will be moving on. When you are planning to go in the jungle or to walk over the gravel, keep in mind that you need sturdy shoes. Therefore, take a look at some of the strengths and weaknesses of military boots.


  • Better protection
  • Strong ankle support
  • Prevents debris from entering
  • Extreme durable


  • Usually heavier
  • Not as comfortable or cushioned
  • Not breathable
  • Not suitable for casual wear

Hiking Boots vs. Military Combat Boots

The choice between standard hiking boots and military boots is imposed on those who buy footwear intended for hiking, trekking, and backpacking. Knowing what is the right choice for you in this category will best conclude after researching.

Therefore, get acquainted with the strengths and weaknesses of both types of footwear and additional related details, making it easier to decide what to buy. I will first explain the features of standard hiking boots.

Hiking Boots

Hiking Boots

Logically, if you are planning to go hiking you will first think about hiking boots. They usually at first glance give the impression of robust footwear,  which makes them perfect for hiking. The reason for this is that they are designed to provide the user with grip, balance, and stability on rough and uneven terrain. 

The sturdiness of hiking boots gives strong support to the ankle and reduces the possibility of injury. It also allows the person wearing them an easy grip when moving on uneven terrain. In addition, this type of footwear is made of water-resistant material. 

So the conclusion is that standard hiking boots are made to keep your feet dry and safe whether you are walking on wet surfaces, mud, or rocks.

Military Boots

Military Boots

Everyone associates traditional military boots with military personnel. When thinking of a soldier, you will for sure first imagine a strong, tall man with short hair and, of course, military boots. But military boots are not just for soldiers.

Anyone can wear military boots whether or not they have a connection with the army. They are a great choice for a construction worker as well as for people that are planning a backpacking trip on unexplored trails.

They are a flexible, versatile, and durable pair of footwear that provides stability and security to anyone who loves being in nature.

There are a large number of different military boots on the market, and the ones that are ideal for you are determined by the type of terrain on which you will most often move. If you are a construction worker, boots with a solid exterior are the best choice for you.

But if you plan to use military boots for hiking, you need to choose a model that gives your stronger foot support and flexibility. You need to know that most military boots are not made to be an ideal choice for hiking, like specialized footwear for that purpose.

Many people who opt for hiking in military boots line them up with an insole to provide their feet with better support. Can you do it effectively?

It all depends on how long the hiking trail you plan to take and the tough terrain. The conclusion is that military boots can adequately replace classic hiking boots.

5 Best Military Boots for Hiking

If you have decided to buy military boots that are intended for hiking, below we bring you an overview of the five best military boots we have found on the market. All the models that are here can be easily found online, and are also available through Amazon.

1. Mini-Mil Transition TR111 Boot

Tactical Research Mini-Mil

This model of the boot is not standard, heavy military footwear. It is a medium option that is a good choice for those who are hiking in military boots for the first time and looking for footwear that is a combination of shoes that are made for nature adventures and those for military expeditions.

Even though these shoes are not for rough military terrain, they are high quality and not cheap. The materials used in the production are the best denier nylon and leather. 

The inside of the shoe contains EVA insole and midsole, and the outside is made of rubber and VIBRAM oil, which is a combination that provides a strong grip and anti-slip protection.

2. Belleville 500 USMC

Belleville 500 USMC

The Belleville military boot model is a great choice for hiking because of its reliability in all conditions. In these boots, you can walk through a cold stream or riverbed that gets in your way without fear of wet feet.

The outside of these military boots provides a strong grip and stability, and when you buy, you can also choose between standard or extended options. The surface of the shoe is made of Cordura nylon and leather. Inside of the boot is cushioned with polyurethane, and because of that, they are extremely comfortable.

3. Desert TFX G3 Duty Boot

Desert TFX G3 Duty Boot

When we are talking about military boots, the Danner is a name you can trust. It has been on the market for a very long time. Danner puts a lot of effort into the models of their boots, and they are always looking for innovations that improve the quality of their boots.

The Desert model gives the foot great stability and strong support. The boots are made primarily for easy movement on the sand and generally in desert conditions. The outer part of the shoe is made of 1,000 denier nylon and leather, and the TEX system makes them lighter than the user expects.

4. Garmont T8 Bifida Tactical Boot

Garmont T8 Bifida Tactical Boot

The Garmont boot is a lightweight version of military boots. Nylon mesh and suede leather provide the user with foot ventilation, which means a lot in a situation of excessive condensation.

Materials that are used to make these shoes can be dried quickly and easily, making them perfect if you are planning a trip in humid conditions and crossing water surfaces on foot. The durability of the footwear is ensured by canvas and Texon.

5. Marine Temperate Military Boot

Danner Men’s Marine Temperate

This model of military boot from the manufacturer Danner is made to withstand all weather conditions and trails in the long run.

These shoes are made of 1,000 denier lightweight nylon with triple stitching. That makes the user more stable on uneven terrain and always gives him strong support. In these boots, your feet will always be dry with the help of the Gore-Tex system.

For those who want to know more, be sure to watch this youtube video.

If you are going hiking, be sure to read How to Purify River Water For Drinking (5 Methods).

FAQ: People Also Ask

Do all hiking shoes need to have a bigger size?

When buying hiking shoes always take one number up to ensure comfort. Slightly thicker socks are usually worn for hiking, and you must be prepared for the fact that your feet will swell after a long walk.

Are military boots good for climbing?

Although many people use military climbing boots, this is not their primary purpose. Those who choose to climb in military boots usually pad them extra to make their feet more comfortable.

Are military boots comfortable?

Military boots are made to be comfortable and easy to wear when a person has them on his feet for a very long time. Their greatest feature is that they dry quickly in all weather conditions and are very breathable. However, their soles can crack after long use, and some users point out that wearing military boots makes wearing them uncomfortable in the long run.

Final Thoughts

As we could see in this article, military boots can be used for hiking, and they are good. They are very durable and comfortable, which is important if you are going on a long trip. I hope we have helped you and if you have any further questions, feel free to contact us.

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