Hiking and Horseback Riding: The Best Multi-Purpose Boots


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So, you’ve got your horse and camping equipment ready for your first multi-day horseback riding/hiking trip. But you need some boots and wonder, “are there boots designed for horseback riding and hiking?” Here are my picks for the best multipurpose boots for hiking and horseback riding.

Boot manufacturers do design footwear specifically for hiking and horseback riding. These boots typically have a heel, cover your ankle, and have a sole with traction. My favorite multi-purpose riding boots are Ariat Terrains.

In this article, we look at different highly-rated multi-purpose horseback riding and hiking boots. The boots come in a range of prices and features, so you will have options from this small sampling to find a great pair of boots for your trip.

Picture of a person wearing hiking boots with a heel standing on a log. 
 A backpack and thermos is also in the photo,

Ariat Terrains are the best multi-purpose riding boots

More and more horseback riders are choosing multi-purpose riding boots, either for working around the barn, wearing on the town, or hiking. Very few riders buy boots solely for riding their horses.

Things to consider when choosing your hiking/riding boots.

Multi-purpose boots need to be comfortable.

Many horseback riders find that riding boots with the flexibility to be used for various purposes have significant advantages over boots designed just for riding.

A multiple purpose boot is more comfortable to walk in, allows you to carry less footwear on your camping trip, and saves money because you don’t need extra shoes.

Don’t expect them to replace your riding boots.

Of course, multi-purpose boots aren’t for everyone. If you ride in equine competitions riding boots that can also be used for hiking won’t meet your needs.

Horseback riding boots are an essential piece of equipment, so take your time choosing a pair that works best for you. If you’re interested in an exceptional pair of cowboy boots for horseback riding click on this title: The Cowboy Boots We Like Best!

Choosing the perfect boot is complicated. But the process starts with deciding on how the shoes will be used, and while a fancy pair of cowboy boots may be nice to look at, they may not serve your purposes.

The equestrian market is filled with riding boots in many different shapes, sizes, styles, and materials. How do you know you’re buying the right ones? We will provide an answer to this question and provide other useful information.

Safety is paramount when choosing boots to wear riding.

Safety is paramount and quality, comfortable riding boots provide safety and comfort plus make it easier to maintain correct leg position when riding. We don’t want to sacrifice those features in a crossover hiking boot.

The increasing interest in horseback riding boots that can be used for hiking prompted us to review the best boots that meet these needs. We look at different styles and highlight some important details about the shoes so you can narrow down your search.

I want to wear boots that fit my saddles’ stirrup.

Picture of a boot in a saddle stirrup,

You want footwear that won’t get caught in the stirrup but provides traction, and protects your foot if stepped on by a horse. Choose boots that come over your ankle, so the laces and tongues don’t catch on the stirrup.

Multi-purpose riding boots should have a heel.

It’s critical to have a heel with any boot or shoe you use for riding because the heel prevents your foot from going through the stirrup. Exclude tennis shoes or sandals, moccasins, loafers, and slip-on shoes from your choices.

Because you also intend to use the boots for hiking you can’t have the extreme heel offerered in standard cowboy boots. An acceptable heel for a multipurpose boot should prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup, but not too high to make walking uncomfortable.

I want multi-purpose boots with full-grain leather uppers.

Hiking and riding boots need uppers made with a durable material. Full-grain leather provides excellent protection, is long lasting and when treated correctly good moisture resistance.

Boot uppers are also made with many other materials, such as split leather and synthetics. These may offer comfort and are lightweight but fall short on durability. Full-grain leather boots are the best material for hiking and riding boots.

I have done my research into the boots I chose, but it’s a good practice for you to check out Amazons reviews as well; here is the link to the Amazon customer review pages so that you can see for yourself what hundreds of customers have to say:

My picks for the best combination riding and hiking boots.

Ariat Terrains

Ariat Terrains are marketed to endurance riders who need to take on the elements. They claim to offer foot stabilizing technology to secure the foot and reduce fatigue. This line of boots comes in men and women and either waterproof or water-resistant models.

Horseback riders might be skeptical because they look more like a hiking boot than a riding boot and have a chunky heel. The boot felt broken in and was very comfortable right away, and they didn’t need any break-in.

The boot holds up well to daily chores around the barn and felt comfortable all day. The waterproof style stood up well when washing our horses and walking in wet areas; however, the water-resistant types weren’t nearly as proficient keep the moisture out. Click here to check Amazon’s prices on Ariat Terrains.

Are Ariat Terrains good riding boots?

The boot fits the stirrups nicely, and the sole was slick enough to allow me to get my foot in and out with ease. Most hiking boots have aggressive ground-gripping treads, so I was concerned that my foot would stick in the stirrup.

Terrains provide substantial arch support, and my feet felt good after a day of riding. Ariat Terrains were designed with the equestrians in mind. Overall they are functional riding boots, and the only concern is you tend to rub your leg because you don’t have the protection of the standard riding boot shaft for your lower legs.

Are Ariat Terrains good hiking boots?

The Terrains are very comfortable walking boots, and my feet feel good even after many miles. But as mentioned above, functional hiking boots have aggressive soles for better gripping of the ground.

Though too much tread is not suitable for riding, too little grip is not so great for hiking. The treads on the soles don’t provide grip, and you often slip, especially when navigating down hills and over slippery rocks and gravel. I often felt I was walking in dress shoes.

Overall these are comfortable hiking boots, and they provide excellent arch and ankle support. In the right terrain, they perform as well as any hiking boots; however, in wet areas or hilly trails, the soles don’t provide enough grip.

Overall performance for riding and hiking

These boots are better than I expected. Terrains are designed for people who spend a more considerable amount of time riding than hiking. Ariat Terrains are multi-purpose, you can ride, hike, work, and wear them to town and feel you are wearing the right boot for the occasion.

Note: The boots sizes run big. I usually wear a size ten boot but fit a size 11 in Ariat Terrains. In other Ariats boots, I fit my usual size 10. To read my product review of the Ariat Terrain H20 boots click here.

Mountain Horse Rimfrost Paddock

These are expensive boots, but they are also the best riding boots of the group we’ve reviewed. They are designed explicitly for cold-weather endurance riders.

picture of mountain horse rimfrost paddock boots,

Are Mountain Horse Rimfrosts good riding boots?

Yes, these boots are designed for a horse rider first and foremost. Mountain horse boots are comfortable and warm, and the makers take waterproof seriously. The boot has a built-in waterproof and breathable membrane that keeps water from entering to ensure your feet dry and comfortable.

It also has a heat-insulating lining to keep your feet warm in the coldest climates. The soles of Mountain horse boots have a patented stirrup control system with an enhanced grip to help you maintain stirrup position. The boot is also made with a steel shank to provide proper support. Click here to check Amazon’s prices on Mountain Horse Rimfrosts.

Are Mountain Horse Rimfrosts good hiking boots?

Yes, the sole of the boot has an excellent gripping ability that will keep you upright even in slippery conditions. The heel is fitted with shock-absorbing material to reduce impact while walking.

Mountain Horse Rimfrosts boots are multi-purpose specifically designed for riders who spend time walking.

Overall performance for riding and hiking

These are expensive boots designed for cold-weather riders. They are well made, and you can transition from horseback rider to hiker with ease. The boots are comfortable and stylish.

ROPER Horseshoe Kiltie Hiking Boot

Roper’s cross-purpose boot has all the features of a western boot, including a heel, spur ridge, and steel shank. These features don’t diminish its capabilities as an outdoors trekking boot.

The Roper Horseshoe Kiltie is a reliable boot of leather and features a Nylex lining and a non-insulated removable insole and durable rubber outsole. These are comfortable boots that can be worn every day. Click here to check Amazon’s prices on Roper Kiltie Hiking boots.

Are Roper Kiltie Hiking boots good for riding?

Yes, like the Ariat Terrians, Roper seemed to have produced these boots for horseback riding. Functional boots should have enough heel to prevent your foot from sliding through the stirrup should you fall off your horse.

Most hiking boots are unsuitable for riding because they tend to be broad and have a sole with lots of grips. These features are suitable for hiking but can cause your foot to get stuck in a stirrup.

The Roper hiking boot doesn’t have these issues. It fits the stirrup nicely and has enough heel to provide stability in the saddle, and the sole is slick enough to slide in and out of the stirrup without difficulty.

Are Roper Kiltie Hiking boots good for hiking?

The Roper Kilties are light and comfortable; they feel more like a tennis shoe than a hiking boot. Because these boots are designed with the equestrian in mind, they don’t have an aggressive sole.

This lack of sole grip leads to some slipping and loss of footing on hills and in slick areas. These are functional hiking boots with sufficient arch support and cushion, and you should get a lot of comfortable miles.

Overall performance for riding and hiking

These are sturdy, comfortable shoes that perform well whether you are working at the barn, sitting in the saddle, or hiking on the trails. Roper hiking boots are lightweight but still provide you the necessary support you need.

Timberland White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot

Timberland hit the mark with these hiking boots. They are made of high-quality full-grain leather. With routine maintenance, these boots will last for years.

The Timberland White Ledge is built with a sturdy sole and have ample room in the toe box. They do need a little time to break-in but overall are very comfortable hiking boots.

Are Timberland’s White Ledge Hiking boots suitable for riding?

They are just ok for horseback riding. They have an adequate heel but the sole is a little too extreme for me. I like a less agressive sole, but in a pinch these Timberland’s are suitable for horseback riding.

Are Timberland’s White Ledge Hiking boots suitable for hiking?

Yes, Timberland White Ledge boots are almost the perfect hiking boots; the only criticism is they don’t provide much ankle support. But they keep your feet warm and dry, and the soles offer excellent traction.

Overall performance for riding and hiking

The Timberland White Ledge boots are comfortable enough to wear and walk in all day. They are quality hiking boots but just adequate riding boots. If you plan to do more hiking than riding, then these boots will suit you.

Honorable Mention

Timberland Women’s Chocorua Trail Boot is primarily a hiking boot but does have a nice heel for riding, water-resistant, and they are very comfortable.

FAQ

What are the best boots for horseback riding?

Riding boots are a personal choice, with that said, I believe the best cowboy boots for horseback riding are Justin ropers. Ariat and Lucchese also make some very fine riding boots as well as Laredo and Dan Post.
To learn why I think Justin ropers are the best, check out this article: Horseback Riding: The Cowboy Boots We Like the Best!

Can a snake bite through a leather boot?

Yes, some snakes have enough biting force to pierce some leather boots. However, most sturdy leather boots are too thick for snakes to bite through. You can read more on the subject here: Can Snakes Bite Through Leather Cowboy Boots?

Additional information

Miles Henry

I love animals! Especially horses, I've been around them most of my life but I am always learning more and enjoy sharing with others. I have bought, sold, and broke racehorse yearlings. I have raised some winning horses and had some that didn't make it as racehorses, so we trained them in other disciplines. Miles Henry

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