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How To Wear Pants With Hiking Boots? | 8 Common Pants

An outfit may not matter on many occasions, but it is essential for hiking. From the shoes to the pants, jackets, socks, and every other piece of cloth you wear. Generally, what you wear will help determine if you will enjoy hiking or not.

And in most cases, you have to dress based on the terrain, environment, weather, hike duration, and other factors that could be personal. This brings us to the kind of pants to wear when on a hike with hiking boots.

Of course, people wear different pants on the trail, from shorts to yoga pants, jeans, and others. And these pants usually come in different materials like cotton, synthetic, polyester, and nylon, each of which has its own unique occasions they are most suitable for.

Generally, you should wear super comfortable, flexible pants and allow your legs easy movement when on the trail. Then, there is also the talk about how to wear pants with hiking boots and if it is necessary for you to tuck your pants in your hiking boots or not.

You may not know it, but there are quite a few things involved in wearing pants with hiking boots, and we will be examining them in this article.

Let’s get into it.

How To Wear Pants With Hiking Boots

There are different ways you can wear pants with hiking boots, and these ways ensure protection, comfort and still make you look good on the trail. However, your primary motive behind the outfit you wear should not be about being fashionable or looking good for Instagram shots.

Of course, you need to look good, but your motive should be the functionality of the pants, how flexible and suitable they are for the terrain or weather. And most importantly, they have to make you comfortable.

So, we will examine the type of pants to wear with hiking boots and how to style them with pants.

Types of pants to wear hiking

People wear different kinds of pants while hiking. So, let’s see what types of pants you can wear with hiking boots:

People wear different kinds of pants while hiking. So, let’s see what types of pants you can wear with hiking boots:

1. Yoga pants

woman wearing yoga pants with hiking boots going hiking with her family

People wear yoga pants a lot, not just for hiking but for exercising as well. They are very flexible, and allow you free movement when you wear them.

Yoga pants material can be a combination of cotton, polyester, nylon, spandex, lycra, and other synthetic materials. They are usually light, stretchy, and soft on the skin.

Wearing yoga pants for hiking is good; they are moisture-wicking. But it also depends on the kind of material they are. For example, if your yoga pants are made of cotton material, they will hold moisture, expose you to cold, irritate your skin, and make you feel uncomfortable on the trail.

This means that they will not be suitable for extreme cold or hot weather conditions. Personally, yoga pants are primarily ideal for short hikes and easy terrain.

If you wear them in the woods and they get caught in tree branches, it could ruin your pants, and in the process, hurt you as well. Further, sandstone could also mess with your yoga pants or tights on rough terrain.

Nevertheless, if you decide to wear yoga pants while hiking, you can wear them with mid-cut or high-cut hiking boots.

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  • Offers flexibility on the trail.
  • Has synthetic materials that wick moisture.
  • Soft and easy on the skin.
  • Suitable for hikes on easy terrains and short hikes.


  • Cotton yoga pants are not moisture-wicking.
  • Can do little to protect your legs on the trail.
  • Not suitable for rough terrains.

2. Jeans

man wearing jeans and dark hiking boots sitting near a lake

Jeans are common wear; people wear jeans to work, school, parties, recreational activities, and other occasions, and hiking is not left out. This material is usually cotton and can sometimes be a blend, having polyester. Jean looks and feels tough, so it is durable and suitable for hiking.

Some people wear skinny jeans or regular jeans. And whichever one you choose to wear, ensure they are flexible and allow free leg movement on the trail.

Furthermore, jeans are suitable for cold, warm or hot weather conditions. They do well in keeping you warm during the cold, and they are not too hot even when the sun is scorching.

In addition, they tend to be moisture-wicking, so they don’t allow moisture to stay on your skin. However, they are not as fast drying as nylon or other synthetic materials. So, if you get drenched while on the trail, you will suffer the consequences of a slow-drying outfit, unless you change out of them.

However, unlike yoga pants, they are suitable for rugged terrains, and can withstand most harsh elements, fully protecting you. We advise that you wear jeans with high-cut ankle boots. And when you choose your jean, ensure it is the correct length, so it doesn’t collect dirt at the tip.

If you intend to tuck your jeans in your boots, you should not wear bootcut or relaxed jeans because that makes it more challenging. Instead, wear skinny or straight jeans.

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  • Suitable for all weather conditions.
  • You can wear them on rough terrains.
  • They protect your feet adequately on the trail.
  • Jeans are moisture-wicking.


  • Not fast drying.

3. Zip-off pants

a man wearing red jacket, tan zip off pants with hiking boots go across a lake

Zip-off pants are also common for hiking, and many people wear them because they are comfortable and flexible. These pants are extremely different from yoga pants or jeans, but they are suitable for hiking.

First off, their materials usually vary from blends of different synthetic materials like nylon, spandex, mesh, polyester, cotton, etc. Plus, they are pretty flexible as you can zip off the part from around the knee area below.

They usually have zippers that separate the upper and lower parts of the pants when on the trail. So, you can convert them to shorts if you need to.

In addition, some of them have many pockets where you can put a lot of things and reduce the weight in your backpack. This makes them suitable for both easy and rugged terrain.

At the same time, you can wear them for short hikes or multiple-day hikes and they will serve you well. Additionally, zip-off pants can keep you warm during cold weather, and you need protection.

And you can zip off the lower part if you need your legs to breathe on the trail. You can wear them with high-cut hiking boots on the trail.

You may or may not choose to tuck your pants into your hiking boots when on the trail. They can fall over your hiking boots and cover the ankle area.

Some designs can be baggy or slim, and sometimes the shorts can be a bit too high for hiking. This is why you should take note when selecting zip-off pants for your hike. Always keep comfort and functionality in mind.

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  • Very flexible and comfortable
  • Can hold a high amount of weight.
  • Suitable for most weather conditions and hiking terrains.
  • Lightweight and free on the body.


  • The upper part may be short when zipped off.

4. Cargo pants

man wears cargo pants with hiking boots

Another type of pants you can wear while hiking is cargo pants. They are pretty similar to khaki pants, and they have pockets that come in handy for hiking.

Cargo pants vary based on their uses and materials. For example, for hiking cargo pants, the materials are usually spandex or nylon. Furthermore, their colors are typically khaki, brown, or camouflage.

Their fabric type helps ensure that they are durable and keep you warm when on the trail. Therefore, you can wear them for long or short hikes, easy or rough terrain, and hot or cold weather conditions.

Their large and many pockets can hold some weight for you, so you can relieve your back of some weight. Plus, cargo pants make you comfortable on the trail, and they are also breathable for your legs.

In addition, you can wear cargo pants with mid-cut or high-cut hiking boots. You may also choose to tuck them in, allow them to fall over your hiking boots, or stop right on top.

However, you should note that they have to be comfortable, and they have to be the right length to provide you with maximum protection.

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  • Highly functional.
  • Have pockets that can hold weight.
  • Durable materials.
  • Suitable for most hiking conditions.


  • Not many color options.

5. Rain pants

rain pants and hiking boots

People wear rain pants when going for a hike. They are free, flexible and help keep moisture from getting on your skin. In addition, they will serve as protection if it suddenly rains when on the trail.

They also help to keep your body warm when hiking, so they are very suitable for the cold. Usually, rain pants materials are nylon, and some include waterproof and breathable fabrics like Gore-tex.

Rain pants can be lightweight, ultralight weight or heavy weight and you can wear them for either regular hiking, backpacking or mountaineering. They are durable, however, their durability differs depending on what weight they are as ultralight will wear faster than heavy-duty.

Therefore, you can choose which one is most suitable for your hike. For instance, if you predict the weather will be harsh or you’re hiking on tough terrain, your best choice would not be the ultralight rain pants.

Furthermore, some rain pants have zippers that you can pull to allow your skin to breathe or some breathability. When you wear these pants, you can let them drop over your mid-cut or high-cut hiking boots.

Tucking it in may look a little awkward because of their looks, however, for safety sake and extra protection, you can tuck them in.

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  • Suitable for a frequently raining, windy climate, and cold.
  • Very flexible
  • Highly functional in moisture resistance.


  • Can be less breathable
  • Not as fashionable as other pants.

6. Tactical pants

Another common pant people wear while hiking is tactical pants. These pants are comfortable, flexible, durable and super functional.

Their materials are usually made of polyester and cotton which makes them very durable for outdoor use like hiking. In addition, they are breathable, waterproof and stretchable allowing for easy leg movement on the trail.

Thanks to their polyester blend, they usually dry quickly if they get wet. They also have pockets that come in handy when on the trail and you can keep lightweight objects in them to reduce the weight on your back.

They are also water-resistant, so you can wear them on rough or easy terrain. Likewise, they are good for use in any climate. You can wear tactical pants with your hiking boots with tall uppers.

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  • Suitable for any kind of terrain and weather.
  • Highly durable and water-resistant.
  • They are fast drying.
  • Can hold some of your weight on the trail.


  • Tend to have extra material in the seat and thighs, making them a bit baggy.
  • The material is quite heavy.

7. Fleece lined pants

Fleece lined pants are also some of the pants that people wear while hiking and they are highly functional. They help keep you warm when on the trail.

Their materials are usually polyester, spandex, nylon or combination. While they function well in keeping you warm on the trail, they are also water and cold resistant so they protect you from moisture and cold.

As a result, they are suitable for hiking in cold temperatures and moisture-filled terrain. Their fabrics are also quick drying, so you don’t stay wet for too long on the trail.

In addition, they have cargo pockets that are useful for holding lightweight objects on the trail. You can let the edge of the pants fall over your hiking boots or you can choose to tuck them in.

However, if their length is too long for you, it would be best if you tucked them in for easy movement on the trail and to protect them from dirt.

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  • Suitable for cold weather.
  • They are fast-drying and moisture-resistant.
  • Their cargo pockets are useful on the trail.
  • Maintaining a relaxed and unrestrictive atmosphere


  • Not all types of fleece pants are water-resistant.

8. Shorts

woman and her friend wear shorts with hiking boots

Of course, there are people that wear shorts for hiking. Shorts can be any fabric type, ranging from polyester, nylon, cotton, and other synthetic materials.

Shorts are very flexible, durable, moisture-wicking, and breathable. Plus, they can sometimes be more flexible than pants. In addition, wearing them, you’ll discover that they are suitable for low-altitude summer hikes.

However, they leave your lower legs exposed to cold or other harmful elements on the trail. And with shorts, you have nothing to tuck in your hiking boots, but you can wear either mid-cut or high-cut boots with your shorts.

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  • They are flexible.
  • Very breathable, moisture-wicking, and durable.
  • Suitable for summer hikes.


  • They expose your legs.
  • Not suitable for cold weather conditions or rough terrains, or hiking in the woods.

How To Style Hiking Boots With Pants

There are different ways to wear hiking boots with pants. The following are the ways you can style your pants with your hiking boots:

1. Wear them normally

man wearing black pants with hiking boots

One of the usual ways to wear pants with hiking boots is to wear them normally. This means that you wear your pants over your hiking boots without tucking them in or doing anything special with your pants.

This style does not look bad, and at the same time, it protects your feet from external factors or harm. For example, depending on the length of your pants, they may stop directly on your hiking boots, or they may fall over them.

Whether you wear yoga pants, cargo pants, jeans, or zip-offs, you can generally wear them with your boots.

2. Roll your pants ends

Roll your pants ends when wearing hiking boots

Another way to wear pants with hiking boots is by rolling your pants end over the boots’ tops. This way of styling is also a widespread way of wearing pants.

Although one of the reasons people roll the ends of their pants could be because they are extremely long; nonetheless, they still look good. So, you can style your pants this way over your boots if you feel they are long, and they can get dirty quickly or make walking awkward for you.

Plus, you’ll discover that this styling method is pretty fashionable as well. However, you probably won’t be able to roll your yoga pants on your hiking boots.

That would be awkward and stressful since they are tights and stretchy. So apart from shorts and yoga pants or tights, you can roll the ends of the other pant types.

3. Tuck pants in hiking boots

You can tuck any of your pants into your hiking boots, and you will be good to go. And there are different ways you can easily tuck your pants into your hiking boots.

But first, you should know that the pants shouldn’t be extremely big unless they will be challenging to get into the boots or look awkward.

You can tuck your pants in by:

  • Using the sock method
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You can tuck your pants into your hiking boots with the help of your socks. You will first tuck them in your socks before tucking them in your boots.

If your pants are too long, you must first fold the ends and pull your socks over them. After you pull your socks over them and you are good to go, you then put your boots over them.

  • Mitten clips
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Getting your pants into your boots can be a hassle, but you can hold them in place in your boots with the help of mitten clips. You can purchase some mitten clips if you don’t have them in an e-commerce store.

Then, you take both ends of the clips and fasten them at both ends of your pants. When you do that, the clips will pass beneath your feet.

After that, you pull your hiking boots over your pants and lace them up. Ensure you feel comfortable with the clips in your boots before leaving your home.

  • Elastic bands
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Additionally, tucking your pants into your boots using elastic bands is possible. You can wear the elastic band over the end of your pants to keep them in place. After that, you can wear your hiking boots over them.

Do You Tuck Pants Into Hiking Boots?

Yes, but not in all cases. People wear their hiking boots without tucking their pants in them when hiking, and they have not experienced any downsides to it.

So, it is acceptable to wear your pants with or without tucking them in. Both these styling methods will offer you comfort, protection, and a lot of other benefits.

If you have been wondering whether you can tuck your pants into your hiking boots, you can do that, and it offers you a wide range of benefits.

Some of which are:

1. Protection from insects and wild plants

orange pants are tuck in green hiking boots in a forest

Tucking your pants into your hiking boots protects your feet and legs from insects or wild plants like poison ivy. When hiking, especially in the woods or rough terrain, there may be insects everywhere, and they could crawl into boots or trousers.

However, tucking them in can form a sort of barrier that would prevent them from causing harm to your leg or feet.

2. Protect pants from dirt or stain

Another reason you should tuck your pants into your boots is that they can protect your pants from dirt or stains. But, again, this is most suitable for when you wear long pants.

You could step on your pants on the trail, or mud or sand could stain them when you leave them freely over your boots. And getting those stains off can be stressful, but you can prevent that by tucking your boots in.

3. Keep you warm

tuck pants inside hiking boots to keep warm on snowy terrain

Tucking your pants in your boots can also help keep you warm on the trail. It would help prevent air or cold from escaping from beneath the pants into your legs. So, tucking your pants into your boots will keep your legs warm and protect your feet at the same time.


Outfits on the trail are important to an enjoyable hike experience because of their materials, looks, flexibility, and other things. This is the case with the type of pants to wear on the trail or whether you should tuck them into your hiking boots.

We have mentioned the different pants and the materials, terrains, and weather conditions they are suitable for, as well as their pros and cons. Therefore, consider their functionality on the terrain, weather, flexibility, design, and other factors when selecting pants for your hiking trip.

Nevertheless, your pants should be good enough to protect you, be breathable, and durable. If you want, you could also make them waterproof by using a DWR or water-resistant finish on them.

Regardless, your pants can contribute a lot to your hiking experience, so choose wisely before setting out on the trail.

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