Having the proper footwear can either make or break your next hike. If you already own a work style boot, like the Caterpillar brand, you may be wondering – “Are these boots good for hiking?” Well, a good hiking boot fits snugly, has a rubber outsole for traction on slippery terrain, a flexible midsole for comfort, and a waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry. So, let’s find out if Caterpillar boots meet all of those criteria.
Caterpillar boots are good for hiking. The leather uppers resist damage from rocks, water, and mud. The mesh lining keeps feet dry and cool on long hikes. The composite toes provide a barrier between the toes and rough terrain. And the rubber soles provide excellent traction in mud and on slippery slopes.
This article will look at how Caterpillar work boots can potentially double as hiking footwear. We’ll pick apart the key features that make these leather boots excellent trekking companions while also recommending the top models for your next summit hike.
Are Caterpillar Boots Any Good?
Caterpillar boots regularly earn rave reviews from hikers and construction workers alike. This rugged footwear boasts features like thick composite toes, durable PVC outsoles, and 100% full-grain leather uppers.
Combining these critical points enables CATs to last for years while also resisting damage on all imaginable terrain. Whether your travels bring you through bubbling creeks, steep mountains, or arid deserts, you’ll never regret your choice in footwear mid-hike.
Although boot durability is your #1 concern as a committed hiker, you also want footwear that will keep those nagging arch aches and blisters in the past. Many long-distance hikers report CAT insoles to be a little tough on sensitive feet, but most CAT models boast removable insoles — so you can swap in orthopedics that better match your arches.
The latest Caterpillar boot models are about 15% lighter to reduce leg and foot fatigue on long, draining treks. The key features that make models like the Caterpillar Nitrogen Hiking Composite Toe Hiking Boot a reliable piece of footwear include:
- Rough leather uppers: Where other boots’ exteriors would tear on sharp rocks or stain on muddy trails, Caterpillar boots remain unusually rugged and damage-free.
- Non-slip leather outsoles: The grippy rubber outsoles have an anti-slip pattern designed to provide balance and stability on muddy trails or when your boot is wet.
- Breathable mesh lining: Long hikes mean sweaty feet, triggering a chain reaction that leads to painful foot blisters. The mesh upper keeps airflow steady for dry and cool feet.
- Flexible midsoles: The more natural push-off you can get with each step, the quicker you can traverse your next hike without needing to ice your feet post-hike.
- Composite toe design: For trails with sneaky tree roots or unexpected boulders, Caterpillar’s composite toes will prevent you from stubbing or breaking your toes.
Of course, the average Caterpillar boots’ longevity further solidifies why they’re a solid footwear choice for avid hikers. Many people report wearing their CATs on 20+ miles worth of hikes weekly and having these boots last for a year or more without breakage.
Caterpillar’s brand reputation also speaks for itself. Now in business for 95 years (since 1925) and with likely millions of pairs sold since CAT’s inception, it’s no surprise that Caterpillar brand boots are gaining significant traction within the hiking community.
Are Caterpillar Boots Waterproof?
Many Caterpillar boot models are waterproof thanks to three methods: Seam sealing, liners, and leathers. These technologies essentially form a seal between the boots’ interior and any source of outside moisture (snow, rain, streams, or even a rogue hose).
So, if your next hiking adventure includes a flooded stream crossing or a sudden downpour, the thought of waterlogged boots and soggy socks will never cross your mind. And post-hike, you can take the hose to your CATs to rinse off the dirt and mud from the leather and PVC outsoles.
No longer do you have to turn back three miles in because of an unexpected water crossing.
Where Are Caterpillar Boots Made?
Caterpillar boots are reportedly made in America, though this fact is highly-disputed. After some research, it seems more likely that only specific CAT boot models are entirely American-made. For example, the Liberty boot gets its stitching from Michigan and steel toe from Wisconsin.
However, you’ll notice that most Caterpillar boot listings label themselves as “imported.” Many people believe that the remaining CAT lineup hails from countries like China or Vietnam.
Best Caterpillar Hiking Boots for Women
The best Caterpillar hiking boots for women are the Caterpillar Women’s, Colorado Boot. Made of 100% full-grain leather and boasting a practically indestructible T3 lug rubber outsole, there’s very little these boots can’t handle when your adventures bring you into the rugged wilderness. Many proud female hikers swear by these boots, in particular.
The suede leather uppers provide a level of protection resistant to every minor nuance of the great outdoors — sharp sticks, muddy escapades, and massive boulders. And with an outward appearance eerily similar to Docs, this CAT model will allow you to bring your “fashionista” with you as you traverse the highest valleys and lowest streams.
You even have your choice between four color options, so select the pair that best matches your hiking attire!
But of course, there’s far more to a reliable pair of hiking boots than how they look in photos. Many hikers tout the Colorados as easy to brush or scrub clean after wet and muddy hikes, so don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path.
And with a 1″ heel and tough T3 lug outsole, you’ll always feel “locked-in” and stable as the trails seem to get muddier, wetter, or sandier as you reach the two or three-mile markers.
Lastly, you can reap all of these benefits without having to sacrifice an ounce of comfort. The nylon mesh interior lining adds an air of breathability to a usually tight, hot boot. You’ll never get that uncomfortable sensation that your feet are “on fire” or sloshing around in a puddle of sweat as your afternoon hike carries on for hours.
Best Caterpillar Hiking Boots for Men
The best Caterpillar hiking boots for men are the Caterpillar Men’s Trekking Shoes. In true CAT fashion, this model highlights everything that’s drawing reluctant hikers to the Caterpillar brand en masse. These chunky hiking boots deliver an unusually retro styling boasting features like a breathable mesh upper, carefully-molded midsole, and tire-like rubber pattern on the outsole.
On top of bringing a sense of fashion out into the woods, these lightweight hiking shoes are excellent companions on those winding, mountainous trails. These Trekking Shoes won’t weigh you down as bulky Timberlands might, and you won’t feel quite as exhausted when the trail’s grade increases or you continue to log mileage on your trip.
The one feature you might be unsure about is the molded midsole — what is it? CAT’s top-of-the-line midsole infuses EVA technology and the stereotypical comfort to match. This unique build brings shock absorption and a little extra cushioning to your sensitive soles, helping to deliver a little bounce to your step and necessary momentum on flat trails and descents.
And while the mesh lining will keep your feet cool and dry on hot summer treks, the physical design of the rubber lug outsole will be incredibly noticeable on your next hike. The thick rubber protrusions — reminiscent of a tractor tire — will seamlessly sink into the mud, dirt, and softer terrain.
So, when your next hike comes after a sunshower or includes hill ascents, the reliable outsole will keep you on your feet and protected from slippage.
Want to learn a bit more about the best hiking boots? The video below will walk through ten of the best hiking boots (including a few CATs) for exploring the great outdoors:
The Caterpillar footwear brand develops durable footwear for construction workers, farmers, and avid hikers. Yet, some CAT boot models are either too bulky or not rugged enough to handle 12-mile hikes through varying terrain (i.e., mud, hills, water crossings, etc.).
So, if you’re going to ditch your Eddie Bauer’s and opt for a pair of CATs instead, we suggest either the Trekking Shoes (for men) or Colorado Boots (for women). Keeping your new Caterpillar boots clean after every hike, well-moisturized, and dry on the interior can help them last 500-900 miles without trouble.
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Erick is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up in Nairobi Kenya and now calling Glasgow, United Kingdom home. Sipping on homemade spiced swahili tea and enjoying a good book is his idea of bliss.