Why Do Hiking Boots Have Red Laces? [5 Reasons Why]

If you have been hiking for a while, you must have noticed that many people wear hiking boots with red laces. When I first saw this, I became obsessed with finding out why hiking boots have red laces. Is it a coincidence that companies make red laces, or is there some underlying meaning behind the choice of color?

Well, it turns out that there are several reasons why hiking boot manufacturers decide to go with the color red for their laces. To have red laces is not that common nowadays, but back in the day, almost all hiking boots had them. It was easy to tell if someone was a hiker or not by looking at the shoes they were wearing.

So, if you are still wondering why hiking boots have red laces, you have come to the right place to find out. This guide will feature the 5 biggest reasons why boots have red laces. Stick around for the rest of the guide, and you will find out exactly why that is the case!


hiking boots with red laces

Why Do Hiking Boots Have Laces?

Hiking boots have laces, making them quite convenient for taking off and putting on. The laces allow you to adjust the boot to your feet, making it wrap around your foot and ankle nicely. This will prove helpful in keeping the ankle in place, supporting it, and ensuring it cannot be injured.

But there are other reasons why laces are a great choice for hiking boots. For example, there are hiking sandals that have Velcro straps on them. These straps are quite easy to use but can get worn out quickly. If you get boots with Velcro instead of laces, you will have to ensure that the Velcro is always clean.

This is not easy because hiking trails have dirt, mud, and grass all over them. With laces, you can always take them off the shoe and wash them in a washer or by hand. I cannot say the same for Velcro or other types of straps because they are non-removable.

So, convenience is key when it comes to hiking boots and straps. Over the years, boots have improved quite a lot. The new boots still have laces like the original laces, but they are more durable and less likely to get dirty, while they also come in all colors.

If you are a big outdoor enthusiast, you might want to follow tradition and get some red laces. They are often associated with the skinhead culture that is not known for being positive. Still, they have also adopted other meanings over the years. If you want to learn more about these meanings, check the section below!

5 Reasons Why Hiking Boots Have Red Laces

Hiking boots with red laces can look amazing! You can always pair the footwear with a matching backpack and look like a real hiker. Only the real, experienced hikers will know the meaning behind the color red, but you can know it too if you only read this guide.

After thorough research, I learned the top 5 reasons hiking boots have red shoelaces. I would love to tell you more about it, so let’s get right into the list and see what it is that you should know about these shoelaces:

To stand out in nature

When walking in the great outdoors, you need to find a way to stand out. Many people get those neon vests to stand out, but you can also stand out by having red laces on your shoes.

This was one of manufacturers' ideas when they started making the red shoelaces. On another note, some hiking trails are close to hunting areas. So, people wanted to find a way to stand out without making the hunters think that they were animals.

With this in mind, they started making laces that would stand out or even glow in the dark. This was a great way to stay protected while also being able to explore nature. But since then, things have changed and many manufacturers have started using laces of different colors.

If you do not like the red laces, at least get laces in some other bright color that will make you stand out in nature.

To differentiate from other shoes

Another reason many people started wearing hiking boots with red laces was that decades ago, this was the best way to tell between their shoes. Work shoes, regular shoes, and hiking shoes were quite similar. So, people needed a way to differentiate between the shoes and decided to do that using the laces.

Since then, there has been a change, and nowadays, hiking boots are very different from regular or work shoes. They are bulky, go above the ankle, have earth tones, and can be made from various materials. The rubber soles are thicker and more comfortable, while the laces are durable.

Work boots are also bulky, but the soles are not as noticeable. The colors can be different, and they rarely go above the ankle. Remember this - you should have separate work boots and specialized hiking boots that will give you the protection and comfort you need. You should not use one pair of boots for all hiking and working.

To hide dirt and mud

Every member of a hiking community knows how easy it is to make your gear and hiking boots dirty while hiking. There can be a lot of dirt and mud that you might need to go through. As you step into the dirt or mud, your shoes will become dirty, and the laces will go from red to brown.

But that is the point – the red and the brown are so close that you might not be able to tell that the laces are that dirty. So, red-laced hiking boots will not look as dirty as other boots. This was another idea that manufacturers had when making these laces.

If you have boots with red laces, you might even be able to wear them several times without needing to wash them. If you decide to wash your shoes, ensure that you follow the instructions given by the manufacturing company. That way, you will be certain you will not damage the shoes while cleaning them.

To wash without any problem

Whether hiking, camping, hunting, or doing anything else, you are bound to make your shoes dirty in the wilderness. While the shoe or boot can be easy to clean, I cannot say the same for most laces. Imagine a pair of white laces with dirt all over them – that dirt will never come out fully!

This is why companies decided to go with red laces. The red laces do not only hide dirt well, but they are also quite easy to clean. A good scrub will be all it takes to make the laces spotless, though this does not go for all red laces.

Quality laces from good brands will always be tough, durable, and easy to clean. This is why investing in good shoes with good laces is smart. Since you will be walking long distances in them, it is better to get a pair you will enjoy than have one that will give you nothing but headaches and foot aches.

To look like a true hiker

Hikers have a long-standing tradition of having red laces on their shoes. Their clothing can be different, but the laces are what unite all hikers. If you want to look like a true hiker, you can always do that by simply changing your laces to red ones.

As I mentioned above, these laces are also connected with popular culture in the 1960s. That was the popular skinhead subculture that is connected to the neo-Nazis. Understandably, you might not want to be connected to this culture in any way.

The good thing is that this culture is no longer popular, but hiking is! So, do not be afraid to get red laces and rock them on the hiking trail. I do not doubt that they will look awesome on you.


Hiking boots can have red laces, sometimes white laces, while they can sometimes have laces in all colors! The longstanding tradition is to have red laces on your boots, so if you want to stick to the tradition, add some red laces to your boots. As you can see from the points above, these laces are quite convenient for several reasons.

Do you own a pair of hiking boots with red laces, or do you know someone who does? Would you ever consider changing your laces to red ones or not? I would love to know what you think about this. So, please share your opinions in the comments below!

Andrew Mullen

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *