Why Do Hiking Boots Have High Heels? Are They Really Necessary?

Last updated on May 8th, 2023

Hiking boots are specially designed footwear for outdoor activities like hiking, trekking, and mountaineering. They are essential for protecting your feet from rough terrain and harsh weather conditions. One of the distinguishing features of hiking boots is the high heel.

In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind the high heels of hiking boots, how to prevent heel lift, and what is the ideal heel height for hiking boots.

Why Do Hiking Boots Have High Heels?

Hiking is a popular outdoor activity enjoyed by many individuals worldwide. A vital component of this activity is the right footwear. Hiking boots are designed to provide the necessary support and protection for the feet, ankles, and legs while traversing uneven terrain.

One distinctive feature of hiking boots is the high heel. In this article, we will explore why hiking boots have high heels and the benefits they offer.


Hiking boots are subjected to constant wear and tear. The rough and uneven terrain encountered during hiking can be brutal on the boots. High heels provide additional durability to the boots. The heels act as a barrier between the ground and the sole of the boots, reducing the impact on the boots.

Additionally, high heels prevent the soles from wearing out quickly, extending the lifespan of the boots.


Hiking involves navigating through rocky, uneven terrain and inclines. Hiking boots with high heels provide essential support to the feet and ankles. The elevated heel position creates a natural arch in the foot, which helps distribute the weight of the body more evenly across the foot.

This support reduces the risk of injuries such as sprains, strains, and blisters, making hiking a safer and more comfortable experience.


Comfort is a crucial factor when it comes to hiking boots. Hiking boots with high heels offer better comfort than flat-soled shoes. The high heel allows for better shock absorption, reducing the impact on the feet, ankles, and legs.

This shock absorption feature is especially beneficial when hiking on rough terrain or descending steep hills. The elevated heel position also promotes better blood circulation, reducing fatigue and swelling in the feet and legs.


Hiking boots with high heels offer superior stability compared to flat-soled shoes. The raised heel position provides better balance, reducing the risk of slipping or tripping on uneven surfaces.

The heel also anchors the foot firmly in the boot, reducing the risk of the foot sliding forward or sideways inside the shoe. Stability is essential when hiking, especially on steep inclines, and hiking boots with high heels provide the necessary support for stability.

Extra Shock Absorption

In addition to the shock absorption benefits mentioned earlier, hiking boots with high heels offer extra shock absorption features. Some hiking boots come with built-in cushioning systems, such as air or gel pockets in the heel area, to enhance the shock-absorbing capabilities of the boots.

These cushioning systems further reduce the impact on the feet, ankles, and legs, making hiking more comfortable and less strenuous on the body.

How to Prevent Heel Lift in Hiking Boots?

The heel lift is a common issue hikers face when wearing hiking boots. Heel lift occurs when the heel of the foot slips up and down inside the boot while walking, causing discomfort, blisters, and even injuries.

Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent heel lifts in hiking boots. In this article, we will explore three effective methods.

Ensure the hiking boots fit well

Proper fitting hiking boots are essential to prevent heel lift. When purchasing hiking boots, it’s crucial to ensure they fit well. Hiking boots that are too loose or too tight can cause heel lift. It’s essential to try on hiking boots with the socks you plan to wear while hiking.

The boots should fit snugly around the foot and ankle, with enough room to wiggle your toes. The heel should fit firmly in the boot without slipping up and down. It’s also essential to break in hiking boots before going on a long hike to prevent discomfort and heel lift.

Use insoles      

Insoles can be an effective way to prevent heel lift. Insoles are designed to provide extra cushioning and support to the feet, reducing the impact on the feet and legs while hiking. Insoles can also help prevent heel lift by filling up any extra space inside the boot.

They also provide a better grip between the foot and the boot, reducing the chance of slippage. Insoles are available in various materials, such as gel, foam, and cork, and can be purchased at most outdoor and sporting goods stores.

Use the right lacing technique

Lacing your hiking boots properly can also help prevent heel lift. One effective lacing technique to prevent heel lift is the “heel lock” or “lace lock” technique. This technique involves lacing the boots normally until you reach the top two eyelets.

Cross the laces over each other, and then thread them through the opposite eyelets. Pull the laces tight, and tie them normally. This technique creates a snug fit around the ankle, preventing the heel from lifting.

What is the Heel Height of a Hiking Boot?

The heel height of a hiking boot varies depending on the design and purpose of the boot. The heel height ranges from 1 inch to 2.5 inches. The ideal heel height for a hiking boot is between 1.5 and 2 inches.

A heel height of less than 1.5 inches offers less support and stability, while a heel height of more than 2.5 inches can cause discomfort and increase the risk of an ankle injury.

However, the ideal heel height for hiking boots may vary depending on the type of terrain you will be hiking on and your personal foot anatomy. For instance, hikers with flat feet or low arches may benefit from lower heel heights, while hikers carrying heavy loads or traversing steep terrain may require a higher heel height.

It’s crucial to choose hiking boots with the appropriate heel height that suits your needs and preferences. Trying on different boots and walking around to ensure the heel height provides adequate support, comfort, and stability is essential.

By understanding the importance of heel height in hiking boots, you can make an informed decision and enjoy a comfortable and safe hiking experience.

Learn more about: Should hiking boots be heavy or light


In conclusion, the high heels of hiking boots serve several important purposes. They provide stability and traction on uneven terrain, help to prevent ankle injuries, and increase the overall comfort and support of the boots.

Additionally, the height of the heels can vary depending on the intended use of the boots. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, choosing the right hiking boots with the appropriate heel height can significantly improve your hiking experience and help you tackle even the most challenging trails.


Are high heels necessary for hiking boots, or are they just for aesthetics?

High heels are not necessary for hiking boots and are primarily for aesthetics in fashion boots. Hiking boots should have a low, stable heel or no heel at all for optimal performance on rugged terrain.

Are there any disadvantages to having a high heel on a hiking boot?

High heels on hiking boots can cause instability, discomfort, and fatigue in the feet and ankles, and increase the risk of slipping or rolling an ankle on uneven surfaces

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