Are Red Wing Boots Good For Hiking? (It Depends)

The Red Wing company has been making exceptional work boots ever since its founding back in 1905. They’re known for making long-lasting shoes and boots that can withstand any and all working conditions.

Even though the Red Wing boots are made for work environments, people often consider using them for other activites like hiking or trekking.

Can you hike in red wing boots? It isn’t recommended to use Red Wing boots for hiking due to a lack of traction, durability, and water resistance. Most work boots aren’t designed to be worn on the rough terrain of hiking trails and will wear down quickly if they are.

Although they aren’t made for hiking, some people do enjoy wearing them for short and easy hikes. Let’s find out why you shouldn’t wear them hiking and what might happen if you do!

Red Wing Boots

Red Wing Boot Features

TractionGood traction but will wear down quickly on rough terrain(roots, rocks, gravel)4/5
ComfortVery comfortable, but they take a while to break-in compared to other boots4/5
StabilityThey don’t have the best ankle support (which is important in hiking shoes and boots)3/5
DurabilityEven while hiking these boots will last years before needing to be replaced4/5

Hiking In Red Wing Boots

Now that we know these aren’t the best boots for hiking, let’s talk about the reasons why and some issues that you might run into. One user on a forum shared his experience with hiking in Red Wings.

As much as I love Red Wings I wouldn’t wear them for serious hiking or backpacking. The sole doesn’t provide enough grip, and if you get them wet it takes forever for them to dry.


Once these boots are broken in they feel great to wear around for any amount of time. The worst part is that it takes a few days for them to get past that uncomfortable feeling that comes with new shoes or boots.

They can be very stiff, but are super comfortable after a couple of long hikes in them.

Most of their boots are actually on the heavy side, which I personally don’t like in hiking boots. After walking around for hours or hiking uphill on a mountain it can really fatigue you with the extra weight on your feet.

Water Resistance

There are boots made by Red Wing that provide long-lasting performance and comfort in their waterproof section. They’re usually made of GoreTex materials, which are breathable but not perfectly waterproof.

If you live in a place where the climate is warm and there isn’t a huge amount of standing water, most Red Wings boots should be fine for hiking trails. For those areas where there’s a lot of rainfall you’ll find the boots starting to wear down and let water in after a few good trips.

Tips For Hiking In Red Wing Boots

If you’re comfortable with the risks above you may still want to wear them out for a quick hike here and there. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your hiking experience with these boots.

  • Only hike in them if they’re completely broken in
  • Wear socks that are long and thick to prevent uncomfortable rubbing
  • Bring an extra pair of shoes or keep your hikes shorter distances
  • Check the bottom of your boots after every hike to see any sole wear

Red Wing Quality

The Red Wing brand is know for making high-quality boots that are durable and long-lasting. Many of the boots are hand-stitched and made with the best and most durable leather materials. They’re designed in a way that it’s easy to replace the sole without having to buy a brand new pair of boots.

If you aren’t happy with the overall quality of your boots, online purchases can be returned or exchanged within 30 days of buying on Any purchases that were made in a store need to be returned to that location instead of online through their site.

How Long Do Red Wing Boots Last?

Red Wing boots are known to last between 2-3 years before needing to be replaced. They can last for up to 10-15 years if they’re worn casually, resoled correctly, and taken care of. The resoleable design of their boots allows the most out of the leather material while replacing the worn down parts.

It’s amazing the number of stories I’ve heard from people who’ve worn the same pair of boots for years without having to be repaired. Even with the sole wearing down, Red Wings are made with high-quality leather that has lasting properties.

I got my pair 2 years ago and they are still in pretty good condition(doing residential construction and landscaping).

Even if they’re used for more than a daily comfort shoe, you should expect at least 2 years before they start to wear down.


There are better footwear choices out there for hiking, but you should be fine wearing Red Wings for quick and easy hikes. For any hikes that are tough or very uphill, I would recommend wearing a pair that’s designed with hiking in mind.

Always wear something that fits and is comfortable when you’re out exploring or on adventures away from home. Otherwise, you might end up with some sore feet or blisters after that long day of hiking!