Can Running Shoes Be Used For Hiking? (Qualities Of Good Hiking Shoes)

Yes, running shoes can also be used to hike. Sometimes you may neither have the budget nor space for an extra pair of hiking boots or shoes. Other times you do not hike enough times to warrant a designated hiking shoe. If that’s the case, instead of missing out on the hiking activity, it’s okay to use your running shoe. However, it may be better to use trail runners for hiking as they cross-breed running shoes and hiking shoes. If you are troubled about the durability of your shoes, you may want to use a designated hiking shoe for rugged terrains instead of hiking with a shoe meant for flat surfaces.

Why You May Not Need Hiking Boots

Why You May Not Need Hiking Boots

Most people love wearing a shoe they feel comfortable in for walking. Therefore, they may find hiking with running shoes more comfortable than boots. Whatever shoe you use, the most important thing is to be safe and comfortable. If you are doing an easy hike along the terrains, any sport shoe will work just fine.

Hiking boots can be very bulky, which is overkill, especially on easy hikes. That is why the popularity of hiking shoes and running shoes on the trails is increasing daily. If you want to hike in your running shoes, you can, although some running shoes are better for hiking than others.

Are All Running Shoes The Same?

Running shoes differ in functionality. Although they are all designed for running, some do a better job on the road, while others are good for trail running. Trail running shoes are also known as runners, are the best shoes for hiking. Hiking with road running shoes can be pretty challenging as they won’t offer the grip and protection you need.

Road Running And Trail Running Shoes- The Differences

Road Running And Trail Running Shoes The Differences

Let’s compare these two running shoes before deciding which shoe to buy for your hiking or running activity.


A road running shoe offers less traction than a trail running shoe. Roadrunners are also smoother, and after continuous use, the tread wears down and becomes extra smoother. This can result in slipperiness, especially when walking in muddy areas. Therefore, you must be very careful if you plan to hike in road runners as they may cause falls because they are specifically designed for pavement.

On the other hand, trail runners have an aggressive grip making them easy to walk on dirt, mud, and rocks. Some trail runners are also suitable for walking in the snow.

Toe Protection

If you are going for a hike, it’s essential to ensure that your toes are well protected, especially if the trail is long. Long hikes can make you tired, and your feet will start dragging, causing bumps and stubs. Hiking with road running shoes won’t give you any specific toe protection. Trail running shoes are perfect for hiking as they have a toe guard.

Design Of The Mesh Upper

Hiking trails cause the shoes to be wet and muddy. You will need a shoe with a mesh upper that dries quickly. The mesh should also be breathable and perfect for hiking. Road running shoes have a wide mesh design which may not be suitable for hiking.

High Tops

Many trail runners have high tops, which helps prevent tiny rocks from getting in the shoe and protects you against rain. If your trail runners do not have high tops, you can purchase trail gaiters. High tops keep the feet dry when hiking during rainy seasons.

Why Hiking Boots Are Suitable For Hiking

Although you may use your trail runners for hiking, you should also consider buying a hiking boot. Hiking boots are designed to help you walk through various terrain levels in different weather conditions. The shoes are well equipped to deal with extreme exposure conditions such as water, rocks, and mud.

A good hiking boot helps the hiker get stronger and easily navigate the rugged landscapes without wearing him down. The shoes are also quite durable. Manufacturers use rubber with deep tread to make the soles that help hikers easily navigate rough terrains and provide grip and stability when navigating uneven grounds.

Some people believe that hiking boots are always rigid and stiff. This is just a myth. Hiking boots are steady enough to support your joints as you remain flexible enough to move everywhere. Hiking boots work like trail runners by absorbing impact and prolonging your endurance.

One downside to hiking with a hiking boot is that some have waterproofing applied to them, affecting breathability. Nonetheless, some makes and styles of hiking shoes allow improved breathability, for instance, vented boots.

Advantages Of Using Hiking Boots To Hike


Some boots, such as vented boots, help with airflow and breathability, making the hiker more comfortable during the activity.


Contrary to common belief, most hiking boots are very comfortable. Most people think that they are heavy, but you will enjoy the comfort if you buy one that fits you well.


Hiking boots weigh a little more than running boots, but the weight helps to make it easy for the hiker to navigate challenging terrains.


Shoe manufacturers use polyester and nylon for making hiking boots. These materials are quite comfortable and easy on the feet. Others are made of leather depending on the style of boot the runner wants.

Better sole

Hiking boots have a thin protruding tread which adds more traction while keeping the feet safe from injury.

The downside of running shoes when hiking is that the soles might get damaged by rocky trails if there are not manufactured with friction. The outer surface may also get torn when navigating foliage areas. Therefore, you must be careful with the type of hiking shoe you choose to make your activity more fun and comfortable.


Many hikers use running shoes for hiking. Although they are pretty okay for the activity, trail runners are much better than road runners since they withstand rough terrains. Before you hike, you must ensure you have the right kind of shoe to avoid getting injuries or hurting your toes.

Leave a Comment