How to Wear Hiking Boots With Shorts? (Consider This Before)

Good hiking boots can be the key to comfortable feet during a hike, but many people aren’t sure if they are appropriate for all seasons, especially those who don’t want to sacrifice style. 

Often, I get asked (mostly by men) whether it is ok to pair shorts and hiking boots together or simply how to wear hiking boots with shorts.

I weighed in with my team of experts and also considered my own experiences hiking in warm months to provide an answer to this question.

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about hiking shorts with hiking boots.  

Quick Summary 

  • Wearing shorts in the summer months while hiking can help you to ward off the heat and humidity and feel more comfortable. 
  • It’s perfectly acceptable to wear shorts with hiking boots and there are many ways that you can continue to look stylish while doing so. 
  • When deciding what type of hiking boots to pair with your shorts, consider the length of your shorts, the height of the boots, the length of your socks, the weather and terrain, and the style, color, and material of the boots

Is It OK To Wear Hiking Boots With Shorts?

three people wearing hiking shorts with hiking boots

Yes, you can wear hiking boots with shorts during the spring and summer months in order to stay cool while out on the trails while still protecting your feet.

Make sure you opt for a pair of lightweight shoes that have good breathability to help keep your feet from sweating. 

Most guys do not like to wear hiking boots as everyday wear, as the style can tend to look a bit bulky.

However, for hiking, we definitely always recommend a pair of hiking boots regardless of your clothing choice in order to provide the right protection for your feet. 

7 Things to Consider When Wearing Hiking Boots With Shorts 

If you want to make sure that you look and feel your best when wearing hiking boots at the same time you wear hiking shorts, consider the following tips.

These things mentioned will help you feel both comfortable and stylish when hitting up the hiking trails during the summer. 

The Length And Width of the Shorts You Are Wearing 

It is common to wear shorts for summertime hiking, however, choosing the right length can help them to look better with hiking boots.

Generally, the ideal shorts length for men is about 2-inches above the kneecap. Usually, this length translates to about a 7 to 9-inch inseam on the shorts, depending on your height.

Hiking boots will look best with shorts that fall into this length range. 

As far as the shape of the hiking shorts, look for ones that taper just slightly as they reach your knee. You do not want ones that have a leg opening that is too skinny or too wide.

Also, make sure that they sit at your natural waist and not too high or too low.  

The Height Of The Boots 

wearing hiking socks and hiking boots

You probably already know this, but hiking boots have a bunch of different styles, and some of them go higher up on your ankle compared to others, giving you extra ankle support.

When wearing full-length pants, generally you choose a boot that provides you the best ankle stability that you need for the hike you will complete. 

You still need ankle stability when hiking in shorts, however, if you’re considering how to style hiking boots with shorts so they look their best, you probably want to opt for a short boot.

Not only will it help you stay cool better, but it will also provide the most flattering shape. 

The Length Of Your Socks 

If you are hiking in full-length pants, the length of your socks does not matter because they are hidden. However, to look your best when wearing hiking shorts with hiking boots, consider wearing crew-length socks. 

Crew socks will help you to remain cool and comfortable and also look well-balanced with the length of the shorts. 

The Weather In Which You Will Hike 

Another thing to consider when thinking about how to wear hiking boots with hiking shorts is the weather conditions of your hike.

If your hike will be wet, or you will cross through water, consider wearing a waterproof boot with your shorts. 

In order to prevent your feet from overheating when it’s going to be quite hot outside, we recommend you use hiking boots and comfortable hiking socks that are very breathable.

Many people opt for different types of hiking shoes during the hottest months of the summer. Breathable trail runners or even a good pair of sturdy hiking sandals both make a good alternative.  

The Terrain In Which You Will Hike 

hiking summer on rocky terrain using good hiking boots from salomon brand
Hiking in the Summer on Rocky Terrain

Perhaps one of the most important things that you should be concerned about when deciding whether to wear hiking boots or not during a warm-weather hike, is the terrain that you will walk through. 

If your hike primarily consists of walking on a level path, over rocks, or other similar areas, you should have no problem wearing shorts while hiking.

However, if you will hike through an area that consists of a lush forest, lots of brush, or many insects, you should wear long pants instead regardless of the weather. 

The Style of The Boots 

If you’re all about the style when it comes to hiking boots and less concerned about their protective features, don’t worry! There are plenty of options out there to help you find the perfect look you’re aiming for.

Generally, all types of hiking boots look best with skinny jeans or other types of more form-fitting jeans. Try to avoid boot-cut jeans or boyfriend jeans, as they tend to look too baggy with the boots. 

However, if you’re wearing hiking shorts instead of jeans, the right pair of hiking boots can help you to look just as good. Consider the guidelines above for the length of boot and sock and you should find a good casual look for your adventures. 

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Material and Color

If your boots will be styled for hiking, consider sticking to natural materials like leather and earthy solid colors such as brown or black. Timberland boots are very popular and make a great option for hikers looking to purchase a well-made boot in classic colors. 

Don’t choose any trendy styles with loud prints on them. Although those boots with polka dots may seem stylish when you buy them, you will quickly find that it’s hard to make them work with your wardrobe.  

Tips and Recommendations 

The main thing when hiking is to make sure that you stay safe and have an enjoyable experience.

However, finding the perfect balance between function and fashion can sometimes prove challenging. When buying new hiking boots, consider the type of terrain that you normally hike, the clothes you like to wear, and the season in which you do most of your hiking.

Check out our list of top-rated flat feet hiking boots when considering what footwear you want to purchase for summer hiking.  

Catalin Geangos

Catalin Geangos

Catalin is a writer and outdoor specialist who has been traveling in over 35 countries so far. He loves spending time in nature, enjoying mountains and nature adventures, and ultimately inspiring people to travel more. In his time off, he is testing, analyzes, and reviews hiking and other outdoor gear and accessories.

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