Hiking boots are not always necessary for short hikes. A good pair of shoes is all you need if you plan on doing a hike under 5 miles. A true backpacker will wear hiking boots on every hike. I prefer a good pair of Nike or Reebok myself. If I were to go through hills, water, or rough terrain; I would want to wear boots. Weight is another factor to consider. A heavy pair of boots will slow you down and tire you out in no time. Dress comfortable and keep it lightweight.