When to Use a Waterproof Hiking Boot

When a hiker or backpacker is selecting his hiking gear, one of the more important selections is that of the hiking boot. Since every hiking trip requires miles of walking, sometimes for an entire day at a time, the choice in hiking boots can make or break a trip, leaving a hiker feeling strong and sure-footed or exhausted with blisters. In addition to the choice in type of hiking boot, there is also the choice of whether a waterproof hiking boot is required for a trip.


Waterproof hiking boots are designed to withstand water even when submerged. That way, a backpacker can walk through streams, rivers and deep puddles and snow and can be sure that his feet with not get wet. Normally a waterproof pant is worn with these boots so that the elastic bottomed pant leg is pulled down over the top of the boot, providing additional insurance that water will not inadvertently come down the top of the waterproof hiking boot, getting the foot wet.

Waterproof hiking boots are sometimes confused with water resistant hiking boots which only withstand water for a certain amount of time before letting it through to the foot. Although waterproof hiking boots can withstand submersion, water resistant boots cannot, even though they often look like they are made of the same materials. It is important for an individual who is looking for waterproof hiking boots to check with the store or manufacturer to make sure they are indeed waterproof rather than water resistant.


One drawback to using a waterproof hiking boot is that they do not breathe as much as a water resistant hiking boot or especially the lightweight hiking boots that do not have any water repelling properties. It is important for the foot to have some air passage in the hiking boot so that the moisture from the foot itself is able to pass out of the boot. Waterproof hiking boots do have some breathability, but a hiker will find that they will need to make sure they wear water wicking socks so that the water that does come from their foot is wicked away from it, thus providing more comfort while hiking.

Waterproof hiking boots are also usually more expensive that regular hiking boots of the same type, although if the individual searches for sales or buys them in the off season then they can often find them for comparable prices to water resistant or non-waterproofed boots.