The Best Hiking Boots with Your Wedding Dress

Looking for the best wedding hiking boots? This guide has the best options, plus plenty of inspo and tips for choosing the perfect option for your day.

Bride sitting in the back of a truck putting on hiking boots for her elopement

Why a good pair of hiking boots is essential

If you’re going to be walking a significant amount (say, more than a half mile) for your hiking wedding, or if you’re going to be exploring on uneven terrain, having the right footwear is really important. 

Not only does this help your feet stay comfortable and dry to avoid blisters, but it helps protect you and your ankles from taking falls.

As an elopement photographer, I have seen brides try to wear heels on rocky outdoor terrain, and this usually results in a shoe change or going barefoot at some point. 

Luckily, wearing hiking boots with your wedding dress has become a much more popular choice these days! It’s no longer rare to see this, and in fact it is the most common footwear option for adventure elopements and hiking weddings.

What to look for in wedding hiking boots

While you can actually dive really deep into what makes a good hiking boot and what works best for each person, there are a few features that are absolutely crucial.

Bride standing in tall grass holding up her dress showing hiking boots and grey leggings

Waterproofing

I always recommend looking for waterproof hiking boots. If you’re going to invest in a good pair of boots, then you want to make sure it will not only last but also keep your feet comfortable on all your hikes. You make think you aren’t going to be stepping through water, but you never know when you’ll come across a muddy puddle, small creek, or even just a few inches of snow. Waterproofing is essential.

Tread

Any good hiking boot should have the appropriate tread on the bottom of the shoe to provide traction as you are stepping through rocky terrain. This helps to keep you from sliding around and falling, and it’s an important feature that all good hiking boots have.

Good fit

Last but certainly not least, you need a hiking boot that fits you well. Even the right boot with the wrong fit can leave you miserable on the trail. Be open to wearing whatever boot fits you the best, even if it isn’t your favorite look or your usual shoe size. Your feet will thank you I promise!

Once you have the right shoe size, check out this guide to lacing your hiking boots, which can also make a big difference in your hiking experience!

PRO TIP: REI allows its members to return any gear that isn’t working out for them within a year. This means if you try out your hiking boots on a few hikes, and they aren’t working for you, you can return them. 

This extremely generous return policy is one of the best parts of the membership in my opinion (although with the coupons and dividends, it basically already pays for itself anyway).

It’s one of the reasons that I always shop at REI if I can find a product there because it’s basically a product guarantee that you will be satisfied with the money you’ve spent. You don’t get that anywhere else (that I know of). As someone who wants to feel like I’ve invested my money in the right gear that will suit my needs and last, that is huge for me.

Don’t forget to break them in!

If you’re buying new hiking boots for your wedding day, it is very important to break them in! 

All boots need to be broken in, and skipping this step can lead to blisters. Not what you want on your wedding day!

Start at least a few weeks in advance. Wear them around the house at first for 30 minutes or so at a time. Then start with a couple of short hikes and gradually work up to what you’re planning to hike for the wedding.

Bride walking on rocky terrain and holding up her wedding skirt showing hiking boots

Best Wedding Hiking Boot Brands

Although I actually believe that what fits your feet best is more important than going with any one particular brand, it is important to choose brands that make good quality footwear that will last you over time. A good hiking boot is an investment, and you want that investment to last and perform well for you.

Here are a few brands that make high quality hiking boots:

  • Vasque
  • Merrell
  • Danner
  • Salomon
  • Timberland
  • Ahnu
  • La Sportiva
  • Teva
  • Oboz
  • Keen

My Top Wedding Hiking Boot Picks for 2021

Here are my personal favorites for a wedding hiking boot. These are the best combination of function and style!

Vasque St. Elias brown and black leather hiking boot

Vasque St. Elias GTX

The Vasque St. Elias GTX is actually the hiking boot that I currently hike in, and I love the way it looks too.

These boots are waterproof and have great cushioning in the sole. Many of the reviews I had read before buying them said that they were comfortable to wear right from the get-go (although of course you still need to break them in), and I agree. They provide good ankle support as well.

Vasque St. Elias GTX boots

Brown leather Danner hiking boots with flat red laces worn by a girl in skinny jeans with a wooden floor background

Danner Mountain Light Cascade

These classic leather boots from Danner have been around for decades and are trusted by many experienced hikers I know. They also have a great look to them, and I love the red laces!

They are more expensive than the other boots on this list but they can be resoled which increases their lifespan. They are very sturdy and made to last a long time.

Danner Mountain Light Cascade boots

La Sportiva brown leather women's hiking boot

La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX

I am a big fan of this hiking boot as well. It was the most highly rated boot on REI’s 2021 Best of Hiking Boots Guide. I almost chose this boot but ended up liking the fit of the Vasque St. Elias GTX better for my feet in particular. 

That said, this boot has everything you could want. It is lightweight, waterproof, durable, has great ankle support, offers excellent traction, and I like the look of it as well.

La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX boots

All white hiking boot with white laces

On Cloudrock Edge Raw White Boots

This boot has great reviews, but in addition to that, I primarily added it to the list for any one who really wants a white hiking boot for their wedding. Field Mag does a full review here!

On Cloudrock Edge Raw boots

More Options

If you are still wanting to look at more options, you can check out these others at REI here.

Photos shown above from REI website.

Bonus Tip: The most important (and overlooked) part of hiking wedding shoes…Socks!

Socks are so often overlooked when it comes to gear for your hike, but they truly are one of the most important things you will have. 

The right socks will keep your feet dry and prevent excess friction which causes blisters. The wrong socks will cause blisters and exacerbate any problems with your hiking boots.

In fact, most hiking experts will even recommend bringing an extra pair of socks with you since they are small and lightweight. If for some reason you get caught in a rainstorm or step in a creek that is just a little too deep and your socks get wet, you’re going to be in blister hell without a dry pair of socks.

A pair of men's and women's hiking boots showing wear and tear are next to each other on a marble table with flowers, vow books, and rings

Tips for choosing the right pair of hiking socks

  • Ideally, you want to look for wool socks. Definitely avoid cotton socks for hiking. My favorite brand of hiking socks is Darn Tough. They are high quality and also offer a lifetime warranty on their products. 

Back when I was first getting into hiking, I asked for a recommendation from a more experienced friend about what brand of socks to buy and she recommended Darn Tough to me, saying she “had strong opinions about hiking socks.” At the time I actually laughed a little about that as it was kind of a funny thing to say, but years later, I completely agree with her!

  • Choose socks that are tall enough for your hiking boot. If your socks are too short, the boot will cause friction against your skin.
  • Make sure the socks fit well and have the right amount of cushioning for your boot. You don’t want a sock that is too thick for your shoe and causes the hiking boot to fit too tightly.
  • If you still have issues with any blisters or hotspots on longer hikes, try sock liners. These have made a huge difference for me with hikes that are longer than 6-7 miles.

Are you planning a hiking elopement?

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Elopement Photographer Kim from Wild and Found Photography

Hi I’m Kim, a Denver, Colorado based photographer specializing in Adventure Elopements in Colorado and worldwide! Photographing couples on the most special day of their lives is a true honor for me. But I’ve made it my mission to take it one step further than that. When you work with me, you’re getting more than just a photographer. I’m here to help you with all of the planning resources you need to have the most amazing elopement day ever! That includes everything from assistance with location ideas, timeline planning, and lots more free resources. So you can forget the work, and focus on having fun!

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