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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Wedding Hiking Boots

As an adventurous elopement photographer, I spend a lot of time on the trail. Whether it’s location scouting for a future wedding or hiking with a couple to a beautiful view, I love to be prepared and know that my boots will never be an issue. After photographing many hiking elopements here in Colorado, I found that bad shoes were a constant issue. That’s why I created a complete guide for someone who is looking for wedding hiking boots that are meant for them! The type of hiking boots you choose will depend on the terrain, distance, and many other factors which we will cover below.

If you’re a couple who is planning a hiking wedding or elopement, then it’s very important that you come fully prepared!

Table of Contents

Bride and groom sitting in a camping chair holding hands. You can't see their faces but you can see their wedding attire and matching brown wedding hiking boots with red laces. Photo by Paige Weber Photography, a Colorado elopement photographer.

Don't Skip Quality Hiking Boots

Just imagine it: You’re hiking in the mountains with the love of your life on your wedding day. It’s sunset, and there are mountain views for miles that are colored pink from the light’s rays. You’re trying so hard to enjoy the views and the moment but a huge blister on the back of your foot is distracting you. Not to mention your socks are wet from when you accidentally stepped right into a deep puddle when you finally looked up from the trail.

This is why you need quality hiking boots on your wedding day! The last thing you want to worry about is an annoying thing like your shoes. Quality hiking boots can definitely be an investment and can be on the pricey side. In most cases, you’ll find that your money was well spent!

If you’re a couple who is planning a hiking wedding or elopement, then it’s very important that you come fully prepared!

Bride sits in her white wedding dress on a decorated blanket on the ground. She is in the trees and putting on her wedding hiking boots before her first look with her future husband. Photo taken by Paige Weber Photography, a Colorado elopement photographer.
Brown pair of Columbia hiking boots with red laces and black soles sit beneath a lace white wedding dress.

Yes, Hiking Boots Will Go With Your Wedding Dress!

I know it sounds crazy to some people, but yes, hiking boots and wedding dresses can look great together! Depending on your chosen wedding dress, you may not even see the boots unless you lift up the front of your dress. I may be a little biased, but if you’re outside hiking around in nature wouldn’t you want to be comfortable? Worst case scenario you could trip or twist your ankle if you’re wearing the incorrect shoes and I’m sure that’s the last thing anyone would want on their wedding day. If you’re looking for recommendations on good bridal hiking boots, keep scrolling.

Bride and groom walking hand in hand in their wedding attire on a hiking trail. The sun is bright as it's mid-day, and the bride is wearing heart shaped sunglasses and wedding hiking boots with her wedding dress.
Bride and groom dressed up in wedding attire. They are walking on a hiking trail with trees behind them. The bride is holding up the front of her dress to show off her wedding hiking boots as she crosses a river. The groom is right behind her in a blue suit watching. Photo taken by Paige Weber Photography, a colorado elopement photographer.
Green wedding hiking shoes sit in the sun next to a white vase with pampas grass.

Consider The Elements When Choosing Your Wedding Hiking Boots

There are many different types of hiking boots depending on your needs. The type of hiking boot you choose will depend on the type of these 3 main things:

  • What type of landscape/terrain you will be walking on
  • What type of weather you might encounter
  • Length of hike

Types of Hiking Boots

- Hiking Shoes

These are low-cut hiking boots that can be used for casual hiking, trailrunning or even backpacking. They are typically more lightweight and flexible than dayhiking or backpacking boots.

- Dayhiking Boots

Dayhiking boots will be inbetween hiking shoes and backpacking boots when it comes to ankle support, so they will be mid to high cut. Most models will take some time to break in, but as best used for dayhikes where you aren’t carrying a large backpack.

- Backpacking Boots

Most backpacking boots are high cut for ankle support and built to be ultra durable and supportive. They can be heavy or hot if you are hiking in warmer weather.

Learn more from REI about expert-level advice when it comes to choosing the right hiking boots.

Bride sitting in the living room in her wedding dress. She's on the couch, leaning over and tying her wedding hiking boots.
Matching pair of Danner mountain 600 hiking boots sits next to a bouquet. The Colorado mountains and pine trees are towering behind the shoes.

6 Things To Consider When Buying Your Hiking Boots

Now that you’re ready to purchase your wedding hiking boots let’s get into all the details! I would recommend trying on as many pairs as you can in-store, and if you can’t find what you like then go online.

Comfort

I would rate comfort as the #1 factor when it comes to choosing the wedding hiking boots that are right for you. Blisters can be enough to make you think twice before choosing a pair that look good but lack support. 

You might also want to consider insoles if you have high arches or are flat-footed. Personally, I have extremely high arches, and I can’t go without adding Superfeet’s GREEN insole into every shoe I own.

When considering buying a pair of good hiking boots, try them on in-store. Walk around as much as possible. If the store will let you, take them home and test them out on the trail.

Tread & Traction

When walking across rocks and other various terrains you will want to have a shoe with good tread. The sole of your shoe will have a lug pattern that determines how much traction you’ll have. The wider the lug pattern, the more traction you’ll have. It’s best if your heel has a clearly defined zone with a different lug pattern than the rest of the shoe, as this will help reduce sliding down steep terrain.

Groom laces up his brown wedding hiking boots. He's wearing a tan suite and the side lighting from the window on the right gives the boots an artistic glow.

Good Fit

A well fitted hiking boot can save you from having a rolled ankle! You will want your hiking boot to feel snug but not tight, and have room to wiggle your toes. Remember your toes may swell after hiking or at elevation so don’t buy anything that’s too tight.

When breaking in your hiking boots I would recommend wearing them around the house with the same hiking socks you plan to wear on your hikes.

Waterproofing

I don’t go hiking in Colorado without waterproof hiking boots. Unless you’re in the desert, it’s very likely you will encounter some sort of stream, creek, snow or puddle crossing during your hike. There’s nothing better than having a badass pair of hiking boots that allow you to walk right through a creek and out the other side with dry socks.

Bride laces up her brown wedding hiking boots. Her wedding dress is laying over the boots to show that she was wearing a long dress.

Type of Materials

- Full Grain Leather

Break in time will be required for full grain leather hiking boots. They are known for being durable, waterproof, and on the heavier side.

- Split Grain Leather

A boot made with a mix of leather and a synthetic material like nylon. You might find that your split grain leather hiking boots are less waterproof than full grain leather, as they are typically more breathable.

- Nubuck Leather

Similar to full grain leather, but with suede characteristics. Boots made of Nubuck leather are typically waterproof and flexible. Like other leather boots, you will need to break them in before hitting the trail.

- Synthetics

This is probably the most common of the bunch. Many modern hiking boots are a mix of polyester, nylton, and synthetic materials. They are lighter than leather but typically not as durable.

- Waterproof Membranes

Some waterproof hiking boots have what’s called a ‘waterproof membrane’ to keep your feet dry, but this can reduce breathability. If you’re hiking in the dessert and you don’t expect to encounter any water it may be best to skip a boot with a waterproof membrane. Personally, I prefer the waterproof boots no matter where I’m hiking!

- Vegan

Boots made without any animal ingredients or byproducts.

- Insulation

You will likely only see this if you’re buying mountaineering gear or snowboots for hiking in long distances in the snow.

A bride and groom lined up their wedding hiking boots in a row with their son's tiny hiking boots. In the frame to the right is a dried wildflower bouquet, and two matching red bow ties lay in front of the boots with wedding attire.

No Heels

It’s best to skip the heels and wedges. I’ve had a lot of couples that bring extra shoes and plan to change, but ultimately just decide to keep on their hiking boots.

A Few Tips:

  • Bring extra shoes & socks in your car
  • Don’t skip waterproofing your wedding hiking boots
  • Don’t forget to break in your hiking boots ahead of time
  • REI has a return policy that allows you to try out the hiking boots on the trail and return them if they don’t meet your expectations.

Top Recommendations for Wedding Hiking Boots

You’ll find this list is made up of men’s and women’s hiking boots in no certain order. These options will get you through any trail you’re hoping to visit!

Merrell Ontario 85 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

This day hiking boot has two cute color options and will go with any terrain and wedding dress. They are waterproofed using a waterproof membrane and made of synthetic materials which make them flexible. If you’re looking to backpack, I would go with a more supportive option.

Danner Mountain 600 Hiking Boots

These fantastic hiking boots are waterproof, stylish, and lightweight. They won’t drag you down, but they will need to be broken in. I’ve owned a pair of these myself, and I love them! If you have a wider foot I would recommend ordering a wide from Danner’s website.

Timberland Mt. Maddsen Valley Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

This sturdy high cut leather hiking boot will feel durable and supportive on your feet. They will need to be broken in before you hit the trail, but the extra water sealing on the tongue should keep your feet dry. 

Columbia Men's Fairbanks Rover II Boot

These leather hiking boots have a reflective and a waterproof lining which make them perfect for chilly conditions. I wouldn’t recommend them for mid-summer hiking. They are lightweight and well-cushioned.

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots

These Nubuck leather versatile hiking boots are highly rated and for a good reason. They are lightweight, durable, supportive, and waterproof. They come in many different colors depending on what you like! 

Forsake Patch Mid Sneaker Hiking Boot

Possibly the most stylish option on the list is the Forsake waterproof hiking boot. They are made of full-grain leather, so while they will take a little breaking in they will be durable and waterproof. They also come in several different colors.

Merrell Ontario Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

This boot is very similar to the other Merrell Ontario on the list, but this one is made of full-grain leather and has more of a classic look. Merrell is at the top of their game when it comes to comfortable, waterproof hiking boots. You can’t go wrong here!

Danner Jag Hiking Boots

This newly-released waterproof hiking boot from Danner features a synthetic material of nylon and suede, so the boots are very lightweight. In fact, they are half the weight of some of the other options on this list.

Columbia's Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boots

I’m an owner of these hiking boots and a huge fan. They are comfortable, light-weight, and extremely waterproof. They are the lightest boot on this entire list, weighing in under a pound at 13oz!

Alternative Wedding Hiking Boots For Shorter Hikes

You’ll find this list is made up of men’s and women’s boots in no certain order. I would recommend sticking to no more than 1 to 1.5 miles in mild terrain if you’re wearing one of these:

Dr. Marten's 1460 Pascal Virginia Leather Boots

I’m a little obsessed with these. Imagine them with black laces! They would look AMAZING with a wedding dress! Plus they come in different colors. The boots are made of fine grain leather, and I would recommend treating them with a waterproof repellent before wearing them out on the trail.

Teva's Midform Boot

These adorable white boots by Teva are great around town or on short hikes. I would recommend waterproofing the boots before hitting the trail for easier cleaning.

Sam Edelman Lydell Combat Boots

While these boots won’t get you very far on the trail, they are very stylish and have good tread. I would recommend waterproofing these boots before hitting any trailhead or rainy terrain.

Sorel Lennox Hiker Bootie

These full-grain leather boots are fully waterproof and stylish. The traction on these shoes will keep you up-right in any conditions, but they might not be durable for longer hikes.

Sorel Lennox Lace Boot

A little bit more of a modern style city boot, but they would be great for shorter distances or rainy weather. The boots come in full-grain leather or suede depending on your preferences.

Sorel Men's Fulton Moc Toe Boot

This waterproof suede boot is perfect for shorter hiking elopements and weddings where you will not be traversing down steep terrain.

Sorel Men's Madson II Hiker Boot

This waterproof suede boot is perfect for shorter hiking elopements and weddings where you will not be traversing down steep terrain.

Don’t Forget Quality Hiking Socks

One common mistake people make is just throwing on a regular old pair of cotton socks with their hiking boots. Cotton socks have a higher chance of causing blisters. My friend, if you haven’t discovered the magical world of hiking socks then you are missing out! I would highly recommend grabbing a pair of Merino Wool socks before your next hike. You’re going to want something that is breathable and moisture-wicking. 

My favorite is the zero cushion lightweight hiking socks from Smartwool. I probably own way too many pairs.

A bride's funky sperry boots sit next to a log with her jewelry, perfume, blue sola wooden bridal bouquet, and her custom hiking socks that have her dog's face on them.

Well that brings us to the end! Hopefully this was helpful if you’re on the hunt for the perfect hiking boot to go with your wedding dress or wedding attire.

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