The secret to happy hiking is happy feet so finding the right footwear is essential.
Now we could give you a rundown on the pros and cons of trail runners and hiking boots but you can already find that with a quick Google search.
And it probably won’t help you because it’ll give you so many options your head will be in a spin!
Also none of these reviews will talk about hiking shoes that have had practical experience on a local WA trail.
In truth, deciding what shoes to get is down to each individual; the shape of your feet, whether you need ankle support or you really want to keep your feet dry.
So we took the question, trail runners or hiking boots, to the most experienced people we know when it comes to Perth trails – Team OTBT!
Here we share with you, the pros and cons of the shoes we wear on both day hikes and long distance hikes.
Team OTBT Shoe Reviews
Tracy (AKA Boss Lady)
Hiking Boots: Salomon Mid GTX Ultra
Tracy chose these boots because she loves the ankle support and sturdy grip on the soles. She really loves hiking up granite slopes or rock hopping near waterfalls so the extra support gives her a little extra faith that she’s not going to stack it!
What she likes the most: That her boots are waterproof and provide great ankle support.
What would she change about them: Make them lighter.
Hiking Boots: Oboz
Jody chose her boots for ankle protection against both sprains and snake bites and because they’re waterproof.
What she likes the most: She likes that her Oboz boots have a good grip on the soles and they look pretty darn good!
What would she change about them: More breathable as it gets a bit sweaty in summer (although that would be hard because they wouldn’t be waterproof anymore!).
Hiking Boots: Merrell Men’s Moab 2 GTX Leather Mid Hiking Boots
Mikey chose these for their waterproofing, ankle support and enough room for the toes to move.
What he likes the most: The toe room, plenty of space for my fat feet 😂
What would he change about them: Higher ankle support would be great but that’s pretty hard to find in a shoe that accommodates toe space.
Tail Runners: Altra
Hiking Boots: Altra
Sarah has a pair of trail runners AND hiking boots. She likes her trail runners because they’re lightweight and her boots because they’re waterproof and warmer in the cold weather.
What she likes the most:
Trail Runners: Altra’s have a nice wide toe box and are super lightweight, they offer enough protection but I can still feel the ground, which I love.
Hiking Boots: Once again, Altra’s have nice wide toe box, and are lightweight but I love the waterproof feature in the wet and cold.
What would she change about them: That they lasted forever!
Hiking Boots: Scarpa
Heidi chose Scarpa hiking boots because they have more ankle support.
What she likes the most: Comfort, style, wear and tear, tough sole and gortex lining (keeps feet dry).
What she would change about them: Improve the toe cover to help with scuffing.
Hiking Boots: Merrell Moab 2
These boots are waterproof, but with a soft outer shell and are really comfortable. They still have ankle support, but not super high.
What she likes the most: I don’t get any hot spots, blisters or foot pain at all. They’re really comfortable. I have a wider foot and there’s plenty of room in the toe box.
What would she change about them: Maybe a bit more tread on the sole.
Hiking Boots: Scarpa
“I have leather boots cause I’m an old school person 😆 They are more durable for me as I do, most years, walk a few thousand kms. Trail shoes just wouldn’t cut it.”
What she likes most: I love the security I feel in them. I love the ankle support as I have weakened ankles from many twists over the years. The waterproof that leather gives, far outways getting wet feet. Hate wet feet. I do have a lightweight mountain boot that works well when climbing through the mountains.
What would she change about them: Nothing really.
Hiking Boots: Keen
Liz chose her hiking boots for their ankle support.
What she likes the most: Supportive, comfortable and light.
What would she change about them: Nothing
The Team Wrap Up
Trail Runners or Hiking Boots?
Hiking boots are the clear winner here! Our team wear them for both day hikes and long distance hiking.
But as you can see, hiking boots don’t need to be heavy, sturdy work boot type shoes.
With hiking a worldwide pastime, shoe technology has definitely caught up with hikers and their foot needs.
For those of you interested, the main difference between boots and runners is the ankle support. Trail runners are more like sneakers in the way that they only come up as far as your ankle bone. If you feel you have weak ankles then we’d definitely recommend purchasing hiking boots!
What Does Team OTBT Look For In Our Hiking Shoes?
In order of most popular feature first:
Ankle support is by far one of the most important features! Obviously we don’t want to lose a day out on our beautiful West Aussie trails due to a sprained ankle! Even on short day hikes, you’ll always come across uneven terrain on the trail which can be a killer if you slip or roll your ankle. Keeping your feet strong and healthy along with good hiking boots will provide you with a lot of protection.
Being waterproof comes in a close second. Whether it’s rock hopping in summer, heavy dew in spring or puddles in winter, keeping your feet dry is one of the most important ways to prevent blisters.
Which Hiking Shoe is Right For You?
Keeping everything we’ve mentioned in mind, a good fit for your shaped foot is at the top of the list!
Everybody’s feet are different and while we’ve given you some great suggestions, you need to try shoes on and make sure they fit you well. We recommend visiting a store like Compleat Angler & Camping World Rockingham and being fitted correctly for your hiking footwear. Tell them OTBT sent you for a sneaky discount too!
Wear new shoes around the house for a few days. Wear them in and find their weaknesses before you hit the trails. Pay attention to things like pressure spots as they’ll cause you trouble on the trail. Knowing what might cause problems in advance means you can prep with blister protection, trialling different socks, and different styles of lacing.
We hope this helps you in your choice of hiking shoes! And as always, if you’re on one of our group hikes, feel free to ask us more about our boots 😀
See you on the trail!