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Why Do Hiking Boots Have Red Laces? | 3 Simple Reasons

Hiking boots’ laces are a big deal; they contribute to a lot of things when hiking, including protection, comfort, and more. Hikers have made a fuss about tying hiking boots laces properly on the trail. However, this isn’t what the article focuses on.

If you own a pair of hiking boots or have shopped for them in the past, you would have probably noticed something – they do have red laces. Now, you have probably wondered why hiking boots have red laces when there could be varieties of colors.

Of course, not all hiking boots’ laces have red color, but this seems to be a past trend that somehow still exists. And you’d agree there have been several speculations about why hiking boots have red laces, but what is true and false?

First, of course, there are various reasons manufacturers make hiking boots’ laces colored red, and you are about to find out. Why do hiking boots have red laces?

Let’s get right into it!

Why Do Hiking Boots Have Red Laces?

In the past, red shoelaces used to mean different things. For example, it was part of a movement known as the skinhead movement, meaning someone has committed a violent act.

It was like a baptismal into a group. Also, in the past, back in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, when hiking just became a thing, their laces were red. So, somehow from there, it became a trend, and most hiking boots had red laces. Well, that’s what people thought.

However, while that may explain why hiking boots have red laces, there is more to it. So, the following are reasons hiking boots have red laces:

Reason 1: To differentiate between work boots and hiking boots

brown hiking boots with red laces vs brown work boots with dark drown laces

One primary reason my hiking boots have red laces is to be different from work boots. In the past, when hiking just became a thing, it became a culture that people wanted to identify with.

They wanted people to know they also hiked; however, the boots seemed similar to work boots. So, one way manufacturers could do that was to make the laces color red. Therefore, when people wear hiking boots, they know the boots are not just for walking or working, but for hiking.


  • It makes you look good and gives off a sense of adventure

Undoubtedly, red laces on hiking boots look good. It adds color to boring hiking boots and makes them look even better than work boots. Going on hikes differs from regular working, and while work boots can look basic, hiking boots can be and should probably be more.

Therefore, hiking boots having red laces is an excellent way to distinguish between them and make you look good on the trail. Plus, since it’s a good way to spot a hiker amongst a crowd of boot wearers, it instantly gives off that adventure vibe.

Anyone with knowledge of hiking boots and how they look, will immediately tell you’re a hiker. And this can be good if you are trying to build a good hiking look.


  • They are too obvious

One major downside to red hiking boots’ laces is that they are too obvious. Therefore, they make you stand out too much on the trail. The red color is bright, and you can spot them from a thousand miles away.

While that might seem like an exaggeration, it is true to an extent. It can draw attention to you and ruin your peaceful hike if you are trying to hike without attracting attention.

But, of course, you’d discover that it is one of the reasons why manufacturers make them. However, if you don’t like bright colors, like red, you can always swap out the laces for a more earth-toned color.

Reason 2: Inform people of your presence

man wearing brown hiking boots with red laces

Another primary reason hiking boots have red laces is for visibility sake. In some cases, when hiking, some people have gotten lost or mistaken for animals by hunters.

Sometimes, people are not quick to notice others on the trail, especially hiking trails with trees, because they wear outfits that blend with nature. For example, colors like black, brown, or green can easily blend with the nature around.

However, red is so glaring that you can notice it from a long distance. So, if hunters sight two moving red laces on the trail, they will be more drawn to finding out what it is than being quick to shoot.

Likewise, wearing red-laced hiking boots could also help other hikers locate a wanderer or lost hiker on the trail. This is why you must wear colorful outfits on the trail, not leaving out boots’ laces.

Red is a bold color that one can hardly miss. Therefore, manufacturers considered this when choosing the color for their hiking boots.

While the bright red color is very functional and makes you stand out in the trail, it is very susceptible to dirt. Dirt can easily stick on the red laces, and you would need to wash them quickly.

While that helps indicate that you need to clean your hiking boots so they can last longer, it may ruin your style on the trail. For instance, when you wear your hiking boots on muddy terrains, the mud quickly sticks and stains the laces.

However, unlike grey color laces that are not so obvious, they become glaring almost immediately. They can also collect dust quickly and make your boots look dirty. Therefore, red laces are very selective of weather and environment.


  • It contributes to safety hikes


  • It’s susceptible to dirt

Reason 3: For style

Columbia Men's Newton Ridge Plus II Suede Waterproof Boot, Breathable with High-Traction Grip
Click image for more info on Amazon

Red laces also play some stylistic purposes for hiking boots, especially for leather.

The red color is bright and adds a touch of style and brightness to hiking boots. So, it makes hiking boots more fashionable in a way. However, we could say the same for other colorful places.

Hiking boots with red laces are stylish. They look more beautiful and bright than earth-toned laces like brown or black that blend in. Red pops not only on your fitness but on your outfit as a whole. This color is also a saver for ugly hiking boots.

If you can complement it perfectly well with your hiking outfit, you can be dripping on the trail and take peng pictures for Instagram.

One downside to hiking boots having red laces is that they are hard to match.

You cannot have yourself look like a clown on the trail and for your social media pictures. However, if you would rather wear your red laced hiking boots, you can match them with green, white, yellow, tawny orange, black or blue.

It may not sync with your colors, and you may need to get a couple more laces to swap with. Solutions are to combine with some pieces of clothes or accessories that are in red as well to make a ton-sur-ton effect.

Besides, red laces on hiking boots can fade pretty quickly, for some reason. But, first, since red laces are very susceptible to dirt, this means that you have to wash them now and then.

And the thing about fabrics is that they fade the more you wash them. So, it is more likely to fade off than earth-toned colors like grey or black.

However, not washing them will make your hiking boots look dirty. You can swap them with other laces to help you maintain their color for a long time.

Nobody said hiking boots could only have red laces. At least not now when people wear different color laces with their hiking boots.


  • It’s stylish


  • Hard to match
  • It can fade easily


Right from time in the past, red laces on hiking boots have had different meanings.

Stating that hiking boots have red laces so that people can distinguish between them and work boots. Plus, it helps you to stand out in the trail and serves as a means of protection. Lastly, they make you look stylish on the trail.

The good thing is, even though you aren’t so comfortable with red laces, you are free to swap them with other bright colors.

Since hiking boots have colored laces other than red, you can also switch up your look to match your mood or style. But, most importantly, don’t forget functionality.

Related post: Why Do Hiking Boots Have Round Laces?

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