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Do I Need Gore-tex Hiking Boots? Pros & Cons

The word “Gore-tex” isn’t news to hikers because, at some point, when buying their hiking gear, they would’ve heard about it. Gore-tex is a waterproof membrane that helps keep water from penetrating stuff and, in this case, hiking boots.

Therefore, what gore-tex hiking boots ensure is moisture prevention on your feet. When shopping for hiking boots, you will have seen a lot of hiking boots with Gore-Tex, and this may make you wonder what the fuss is about them.

Do you need gore-tex hiking boots or are the ones without them cool? At some point, you’ll need gore-tex hiking boots because of the benefits they give your feet.

When is it okay to wear gore-tex hiking boots? In this article, you will learn the benefits and drawbacks of Gore-Tex hiking boots and get answers to some of your questions about them.

Therefore, before you decide whether you need them or not, why not read through this article? Read on to find out!

Do I Need Gore-tex Hiking Boots?

man wearing waterproof hiking boots through a puddle

The answer to that is pretty simple; it is yes. You need gore-tex hiking boots because they are very beneficial on the trail and help to protect your feet from getting wet on the trail.

At some point, you have probably been wondering what it is about gore-tex. A quick history here: Gore-Tex’s original maker made the membrane from expanded PTFE, which has about nine billion pores but is still able to keep water from entering hiking boots.

Therefore, if you know you will be exposed to moisture one way or the other on the trail, then you need gore-tex hiking boots. Your feet will thank you for the comfort and safety that it provides for them.

It’s essential to choose hiking boots that match both the environmental conditions and your specific hiking preferences to ensure a great outdoor experience.

When You Need Gore-Tex Hiking Boots:

  • Gore-Tex hiking boots are excellent for hiking in wet and rainy environments. The waterproof membrane of Gore-Tex keeps your feet dry when walking through puddles, streams, or in constant rain.
  • If you frequently hike in muddy terrain, Gore-Tex boots can help keep your feet clean and dry. They prevent water and mud from seeping into your boots, keeping your feet comfortable.
  • In snowy or cold conditions, Gore-Tex boots offer insulation and protection from moisture. They keep your feet warm and dry in snow, slush, or freezing temperatures.
  • Hiking in swampy or marshy areas can be challenging, but Gore-Tex boots provide a barrier against water, helping you navigate such terrains without getting your feet soaked.

When You Might Not Need Gore-Tex Hiking Boots:

  • In extremely dry and arid climates where rainfall is minimal, Gore-Tex boots may not be necessary. Lightweight, breathable boots without a waterproof membrane might be more comfortable.
  • During hot summer hikes, Gore-Tex boots may make your feet feel too warm and sweaty. Consider well-ventilated hiking shoes for better breathability.
  • For short hikes on well-maintained trails in fair weather, you might opt for non-waterproof boots or trail shoes to enjoy more breathability and comfort.
Merrell Men's Moab 2 Mid Gtx Hiking Boot, Earth, 10.5 M US
Salewa Women's Trekking & Hiking Boots High Rise Hiking, Magnet Viridian Green 0674, 8.5 UK
Merrell Women's Moab 2 MID Gore-TEX Hiking Boot, Brindle, 9
Merrell Men's Moab 2 Mid Gtx Hiking Boot, Earth, 10.5 M US
Salewa Women's Trekking & Hiking Boots High Rise Hiking, Magnet Viridian Green 0674, 8.5 UK
Merrell Women's Moab 2 MID Gore-TEX Hiking Boot, Brindle, 9
Merrell Men's Moab 2 Mid Gtx Hiking Boot, Earth, 10.5 M US
Merrell Men's Moab 2 Mid Gtx Hiking Boot, Earth, 10.5 M US
Salewa Women's Trekking & Hiking Boots High Rise Hiking, Magnet Viridian Green 0674, 8.5 UK
Salewa Women's Trekking & Hiking Boots High Rise Hiking, Magnet Viridian Green 0674, 8.5 UK
Merrell Women's Moab 2 MID Gore-TEX Hiking Boot, Brindle, 9
Merrell Women's Moab 2 MID Gore-TEX Hiking Boot, Brindle, 9

Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You probably wonder what good gore-tex hiking boots can do for you. Let’s see some pros for Gore-Tex hiking boots.

Keep feet warm

dyed hiking boots that are less susceptible to water or light damage

One benefit of gore-tex hiking boots is that they keep feet warm on the trail. How?

First, they have insulating features, so you can be sure that your feet will be warm in hiking boots. This makes them suitable for usage during freezing weather.

Second, they are wind resistant and keep air from penetrating irrespective of how exposed to the wind you are.

Protect feets from water

man hiking through a natural waterfall with water splashes on his waterproof hiking boots

Gore-tex hiking boots are great for protecting your feets from water when on the trail. With the Gore-tex membrane sandwiched between the outer layer and the inner layer, water from outside can hardly penetrate hiking boots.

The material’s pores are numerous, but each pore is 20,000 times tinier than that of a drop of water. Therefore, if you are caught in the rain while hiking, the water cannot penetrate.

Make hiking boots ideal for different activities

waterproof hiking boots on rocky terrain

Another benefit of gore-tex hiking boots is that they are suitable for different activities. You can use your hiking boots for different activities like hunting, wading, motorcycling, working, and so much more.

They protect your feet from moisture, irrespective of the task you want to use them for. Of course, hiking boots are mainly for hiking on different terrains, but you can use them for other things, especially if you don’t go hiking often.

Makes hiking boots comfortable for use

One of the major causes of discomfort on hiking trails is wet feet. They irritate your skin and make your feet feel weird in hiking boots, and this can make you feel very uncomfortable on the trail.

It could get worse because moisture in hiking boots causes friction, and consequently, blisters, calluses, athlete’s foot, and more inside the boots. But when you take moisture away from hiking boots, hikers have fewer issues to deal with on the trail.

Easy to clean

Soften Suede hiking boots

Caring for and cleaning gore-tex hiking boots is easy. Whether you walk through mud, sand, or messy terrain, you can clean your Gore-Tex hiking boots easily without stress.

Cleaning them is as easy as the way you would clean your hiking boots. They are not that different, so you don’t need anything special. You only need to be thorough with how you clean them.

You don’t need to use a washing machine to wash them. You just need to brush the dirt off and wash it with lukewarm water and liquid detergent. You could also follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean.

Disadvantages of Gore-tex hiking boots

Although we have already stated the usefulness of Gore-Tex to hikers wearing boots, there are a few downsides to it. These downsides mainly surface in certain areas, like hot weather conditions.

Let’s take a look at some reasons why you shouldn’t always use Gore-tex hiking boots:

Not so breathable

A pair of suede hiking boots

One drawback of gore-tex hiking boots is that they are not very breathable. This is because they are padded with the gore-tex membrane and insulation, which prevent water from getting in and escaping from hiking boots.

Of course, gore-tex has millions of tiny pores, but they are too tiny to allow air into hiking boots, so they make your feet sweat a bit when on the trail. Likewise, they slowly evaporate water in hiking boots, so moisture stays longer in them before they are completely eliminated.

Not suitable for hot weather

man wearing hiking boots on rugged outdoor terrain

One thing you sure want to avoid on the trail during hot weather is more heat, and this is what gore-tex hiking boots do: keep your feet warm. Their insulation and the sealed pores in the membranes surely contribute to the warmth in hiking boots.

Wearing that when the sun is scorching is literally inviting more perspiration in hiking boots. This makes gore-tex hiking boots unsuitable for hot weather.

They are heavy

hiking boot with gusseted tongues for sand

Gore-tex hiking boots are heavier than other breathable hiking boots. The waterproof material in them adds to their weight and can easily cause fatigue on the trail.

This is why you should not use them much during hot weather, because their weight, coupled with the heat, can make you tired easily.

Less flexible

Another drawback of gore-tex hiking boots is that they are less flexible. Due to the membrane padded in them and the material used in making them, they are not so flexible.

However, one of the good sides of that is that it makes the hiking boots rigid and sturdy for use.

When to use gore-tex hiking boots?

Although gore-tex hiking boots offer several pros, there are instances when you don’t need them. So, when should you use gore-tex hiking boots?

Based on terrain

breathable hiking boots

Generally, you could hike on plain, rough, slippery, snowy, muddy, sandy, or rocky terrain, depending on your mood or the hiking group, if you don’t hike alone. But, do you have to wear gore-tex hiking boots on all this terrain?

Not exactly, but you need to wear gore-tex boots on most of this terrain. For example, you need them on slippery, snowy, and muddy terrain. However, for terrains like sand, rock, or plain terrains where the chances of water on them are slim, you don’t need gore-tex hiking boots.

Based on environment

man wearing big hiking boots on mountain

When deciding whether to wear gore-tex hiking boots based on the environment, you need to be sure whether they are exposed to moisture. For example, if you are hiking in the woods or in an area where there are bushes or leaves, you need to protect your feet.

As you walk through the environment, moisture is sure to cling to what you wear, and the gore-tex is a barrier to ensure that your feet don’t get wet.

Also, if the environment has water bodies in the area, you should wear your waterproof hiking boots and protect your feet from moisture.

Based on weather

With gore-tex hiking boots being waterproof and less breathable in nature, it only makes sense that you wear them during weather you are sure will expose you to moisture.

Therefore, they are more suitable for rainy, cold, or snowy weather.

But that doesn’t mean you should cancel them during the summer. For unforeseen circumstances like rain or water poodles on the trail, you can wear gore-tex hiking boots during the summer.

But first, you should ensure that you research the terrain and weather before you go hiking, so you don’t set yourself up for sweating in hiking boots.


If you have been wondering whether you need gore-tex hiking boots before, you should know that you need them. They are beneficial in helping you maintain dry feet on the trail.

Their gore-tex membrane helps to completely seal out moisture from getting into hiking boots. While gore-tex hiking boots are all good, they have certain drawbacks to them. For example, they are less breathable, which makes them unsuitable for certain weather and hiking terrain.

But, of course, they should be your option when hiking in the cold, rain, snow, or slippery terrain. And if you must wear them during hot weather, make sure you wear moisture-wicking socks so you can mitigate the heat they cause in hiking boots.

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