Why Are Hiking Shoes So Ugly?

Why Are Hiking Shoes So Ugly?

Why Are Hiking Shoes So Ugly? A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to hiking shoes, there seems to be a common consensus that they are not the prettiest of footwear options. In fact, many people might even go so far as to say that they are downright ugly! But why is this the case? What makes hiking shoes look so unattractive? And more importantly, what can you do about it?

Why Can’t They Be Both Fashionable and Protective?

It seems like every time I go to buy a new pair of hiking shoes, I’m faced with the same dilemma: why are all the good-looking ones so flimsy, and all the sturdier ones so… well, ugly?

Is it really that hard for shoe companies to make a hiking shoe that’s both fashionable and protective? Apparently so.

Most fashion-forward hikers will tell you that they’ve just resigned themselves to sacrificing style for function. And while I understand their logic, I can’t help but feel like there must be a middle ground between these two extremes. After doing some research, it turns out there are a few reasons why this might be the case.

Why Can’t They Be Both Fashionable and Protective?

One reason is that the materials used in most hiking shoes are not conducive to good looks. Hiking shoes need to be made of tough, durable fabrics like leather or nylon, which can sometimes make them look a bit clunky. And because they need to be able to withstand all sorts of weather conditions and terrain, they often have thick soles and laces, which can make them look even bulkier.

Another reason is that most hiking shoes are designed with function over form in mind. Hikers need their shoes to be comfortable, supportive, and stable, so many of the design elements that would make a shoe look good are sacrificed in favor of these other qualities.

So what’s a fashion-conscious hiker to do? Well, a few companies out there are starting to make more stylish hiking shoes. And while they might not be as tough or durable as some of the more traditional options, they’re a good compromise for those who want to look good on the trail. [1]

Reasons Why Hiking Boots Are Ugly

So, why do hiking shoes have to be so unattractive? Here are some possible reasons:

Bulky and Heavy

Hiking boots are designed to be tough and durable, which often means they are bulky and heavy. This can make them look clunky and unattractive.

These boots are generally bulkier owing to their heaps of straps and laces, which can all contribute to the overall heaviness.

A thick sole that they have is necessary for providing good adequate support and traction while hiking might make the boot look chunky.

Used for Outdoor Adventures

This type is often associated with outdoor activities and adventures. They can also make them appear rough and intimidating, which some people may find disagreeable.

Not for Everyday Use

Hiking boots are not intended to be worn on a daily basis. When people wear them in other environments, they may appear out of place because they are meant for specific pursuits and environments.

Not for Everyday Use

If you only use your boots for hiking, they will stand out as unusual when you’re not outdoors.

Not Meant To Be Stylish

It’s vital to remember these boots aren’t designed to be attractive. They are designed for function over form.

Hiking boots are not built with style in mind. They’re made for utility rather than aesthetics.

So, if you’re looking for a boot that is both stylish and functional, you might be out of luck. Anyway, there are ways to make some hiking boots look better. We’ll discuss that more later on.

Not Made for Urban Environments

These boots are not designed for use in cities. They are designed for specific activities and environments, which can make them seem out of place when worn in other settings.

These variables all contribute to why some people might find hiking shoes unappealing.

Made for All Weather Conditions

These boots are designed to endure a wide range of weather conditions. Because of this, they are frequently equipped with a lot of additional features that make them appear big and unsightly.

To give you an example, most hiking boots will include a waterproof outer layer. In wet conditions, this foot gear helps your feet stay dry, but it can also add to the overall bulkiness of the boot.

They will also typically have a thick sole for added traction and support. While this is necessary for hiking, it can make the boot look clunky.

Made from Ugly Materials

For example, many of them are made from leather. Leather is durable and tough, but it’s not typically considered to be a stylish material.

Hiking boots may be large, especially if they include a lot of additional hardware such as buckles and laces.

Another reason is that they often have a thick sole. This is necessary for providing good support and traction while hiking, but it can make the boot look chunky.

Not Easy to Clean

Hiking boots can be difficult to clean because of all the extra materials and features.

Not Easy to Clean

For example, leather is a material that is difficult to clean. If you get mud or dirt on your leather hiking boots, it can be very difficult to remove.

Hiking boots also often have a lot of extra hardware, such as buckles and laces, which can add to the overall bulkiness.

Not made for everyone

Hiking boots are not typically made for everyone. They’re meant for certain tasks and circumstances, which may make them appear strange when worn in other situations.

This can be a major reason why some people consider hiking boots to be ugly. If you only wear your boots for hiking, then they will always look out of place when you’re not hiking.

Less Versatile

Hiking boots are less versatile than other types of shoes. This is due to the fact that they are built for certain activities and settings.

For example, if you only wear your hiking boots when you’re not hiking, they will always look odd.

All of these factors play into why some people might find hiking shoes unattractive. [2]

Hiking Boot Adjustments

One of the main reasons these shoes are so ugly is because they’re designed for utility, not fashion. That means that they often have a lot of straps and buckles, which can make them look clunky. But those straps and buckles serve an important purpose: they allow you to adjust your boots to get a perfect fit.

It’s important to make sure your hiking boots fit properly because if they’re too loose, you’ll get blisters. If they’re too tight, your feet will be uncomfortable. The best way to avoid either of these problems is to take the time to adjust your boots before you head out on the trail.

Here are some tips for adjusting your hiking boots:

  • Loosen all the straps and buckles before you put your boots on.
  • Once your boots are on, tighten the laces until they’re snug but not too tight.
  • If you’re using a hiking boot with a heel counter, make sure it’s snug against your ankle.
  • Buckle the straps on your hiking boots so they’re snug but not too tight.

Does Hiking Boot Appearance Matter?

The first question most people ask is, does the appearance of your hiking shoes really matter? The answer is yes… and no. It all depends on your personal preference.

There are some who believe that the uglier a shoe is, the more “outdoorsy” it looks, and therefore, the better it must be for hiking. This isn’t necessarily true. While there are some great-looking hiking boots out there, they don’t all perform as well as their less attractive counterparts.

It really comes down to what you value most in a hike – comfort or style? If you’re someone who doesn’t mind sacrificing a little bit of style for the sake of comfort, then you’ll probably be more than happy with a pair of ugly hiking shoes. But if you prefer to look good even when you’re out in the wilderness, then you might want to consider investing in a pair of stylish hiking shoes.

Are There Hiking Boots that Aren’t Ugly?

If you’re looking for stylish hiking shoes, you might be out of luck. While there are some brands that are trying to make more attractive options, most hiking shoes are still pretty ugly. But why?

Are There Hiking Boots that Aren’t Ugly?

Despite the fact that hiking boots may not be the most fashionable footwear available, there are a few things you can do to make them appear better. Read on for some tips on how to style your hiking boots so they don’t look so bad.

However, there are ways to style them so they don’t look as bad. In the next section, we’ll give you some tips on how to do that.

Styling your hiking boots

No matter what type of hiking boot you have, you can find a way to style it so it looks good.

There are many different ways to style hiking boots, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find a look that you like. If you want your hiking boots to look less ugly, try out some of these tips:

Wear them with skinny jeans or leggings. This will help balance out the bulkiness of the boots and make your legs look slimmer.

Try a pair of hiking boots with a more streamlined design. These might be less bulky and have fewer straps, which can make them look more attractive.

Wear them with a skirt or dress. This is a great way to show off your hiking boots while still looking feminine and stylish.


Do hiking shoes make a difference?

Hiking shoes can make a big difference in your comfort and safety on the trail. They provide good traction, support your ankles, and protect your feet from rocks and other sharp objects. While you can hike in running shoes or even sandals, we don’t recommend it. Hiking shoes are specifically designed for hiking and will give you the best experience possible. [3]

So, even though they might not be the most stylish type of shoe, hiking boots are essential for a comfortable and safe hike. With the right care, they can last for years and years. And who knows? Maybe one day they’ll even be considered fashionable. Until then, we’ll just have to enjoy their utility and functionality.

Is it better to wear hiking shoes or boots?

The answer to this question is not as simple as it seems. There are a few factors you need to take into account when deciding which one is right for you. Let’s start with the two main types of hiking footwear: shoes and boots.

Shoes are usually lighter and more comfortable than boots, but they don’t offer as much support or protection. Boots are bulkier and can be heavier, but they’re often worth the extra weight for longer hikes or more difficult terrain.

So, which one should you choose? It really depends on your individual needs and preferences.

Are hiking boots trendy?

This is a difficult question to answer. In the fashion world, “trendy” can be defined in a number of ways. For some people, trendy means following the latest trends set by celebrities and influencers. For others, it might mean wearing clothes that are comfortable and practical. And for others still, it could simply mean not caring about what other people think and wearing whatever you want.

So, are hiking boots trendy? It depends on who you ask. If you’re asking someone who follows fashion trends religiously, then probably not. Hiking boots tend to be functional and durable rather than fashionable. However, if you’re asking someone who values comfort and practicality over style, then hiking boots can definitely be considered trendy. [4]

Can you wear hiking shoes as regular shoes?

Hiking shoes are designed to protect your feet from the elements and provide traction on uneven surfaces, so they’re not exactly ideal for everyday wear. However, if you don’t mind sacrificing a little style for comfort, you can definitely get away with wearing hiking shoes as regular shoes. Just be prepared for some weird looks from your friends and colleagues. [5]

Useful Video: Why Aren’t YOU Hiking In These? | Boots vs. Trail Runners | Backpacking Footwear Tips


Hiking shoes may not be the most stylish footwear on the market, but they serve an important purpose. They’re designed to protect your feet from the elements and provide traction on slippery or uneven surfaces. So next time you’re out on the trail, don’t forget to give your hiking shoes a little love – they deserve it! Thanks for reading!


  1. https://coremountaineering.com/why-are-hiking-boots-so-ugly/
  2. https://mountaintreads.com/why-hiking-boots-ugly/
  3. https://hikingguy.com/how-to-hike/hiking-boots-or-shoes-do-i-really-need-hiking-boots/
  4. https://www.johnlewis.com/content/fashion/women/how-to-wear-hiking-boots-trend
  5. https://decideoutside.com/are-hiking-shoes-good-for-walking/