Hiking Boots: Leather or Textile?

Many people cope with an overwhelming variety of shoes and boots for outdoor activities. They are not sure which model is the best for their needs, so sometimes they want to have a footwear that could handle various weather conditions, different terrains etc. So, is there an ideal boot?

Probably there’s not. There is no ideal boot constructed for all occasions and for all seasons. Sometimes you’ll need the lighter model for long-distance trails, other times you’ll need heavier, sometimes you’ll be hiking in dry weather, other times you’ll be dealing with dump and rain. If your budget allows you, maybe it’s better to have a two pair of boots, or even more.


On of the usual dilemma is whether to choose leather or textile boots. The leather ones have always been a part of hiking footwear. The manufacturing of hiking footwear has exploded during the ’80s and their designs become increasingly specialized. The textile footwear and the leather boots with the textile membrane replaced boots made entirely of leather.

One of the reasons for the progressive popularity of textile hiking footwear is the one that leather footwear have no longer good quality they used to have. Many of nowadays models have synthetic elements or they are made of artificial leather such as sky and eco leather.

The textile footwear is now made of various materials. Footwear made with Gore-tex technology have waterproof, breathable fabric membrane and are widely used among hikers.

Here’s a guide that outlines your choices and helps decide which type of boots you will choose based on your primary intentions.



  • cheaper
  • lightweight
  • more flexible
  • allows the foot to “breath” better
  • easy maintenance
  • softer
  • membrane could be easily punctured
  • not durable in abrasive areas
  • need reproofing regularly


  • long-lasting, if properly maintained

  • generally more durable
  • better foot and ankle protection on rough, rocky trails
  • stiffer than textile
  • heavier
  • natural water-repellent
  • need frequent care and cleaning
  • extra money for maintenance
  • due to non-proper care, water can penetrate the boot
  • lower breathability of membrane
  • salt is hard to remove from the surface

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