Can you run in hiking shoes

People are trying to figure out how to use different shoes for different purposes these days, especially since multi-functional shoes are so popular.

Running shoes are usually not worn for running. They are light, cushioned, and good on pavement, but they are not as effective in the dirt as they are on pavement.

In this situation, hiking shoes come into play. More supportive than typical running shoes, hiking shoes have lugged soles for better traction.

The hiking shoes you get will be suitable for hiking and will also work well for walking around town.

Taking into account the length of the run, the type of hiking shoes you’re using, and the terrain you’re running on, can you run in hiking shoes?

Read on to learn what makes a good hiking shoe and how it translates to running if you want to see if your hiking shoes are suitable for running.

What are hiking shoes?

You can wear hiking shoes for a walk through a park, a day hike in the mountains, or a multi-day backpacking trip. Hiking shoes and hiking boots have a lot in common, but there’s one major difference: hiking shoes are typically low-cut below the ankle, while hiking boots offer more ankle support and are typically made with a mid-to-high cut.

It is common for hiking shoes to have leather or nylon mesh uppers, which are designed to be tough and durable. For both protection and performance, these shoes have thicker, more durable outsoles and midsoles that will withstand the beating of miles on rugged trail terrain. In hiking shoes, rigidity is used to put more stress on the shoe, not your body. Toe bumpers and caps are commonly found in hiking shoes. In addition, hiking shoes are available in both waterproof and non-waterproof varieties.

What Types of Hiking Shoes Are There?

We like to categorize hiking footwear into the following categories, from ultralight trail shoes to mountaineering boots:

  • Hiking Shoes
  • Trail Runners
  • Hiking boots for the day
  • Boots for backpacking
  • Extreme ice climbing boots for alpine mountaineering.

Since we have no experience with the last category, we will focus primarily on the first four. Trail running shoes work extremely well for many avid day hikers who don’t need to navigate super-crazy terrain.

It’s important to understand the components of hiking boots and hiking shoes and how they should fit before we get into our favorites.

Can You Run In Hiking Shoes?

The military runs in combat boots with fully loaded packs. It’s possible to run in hiking shoes or just about any type of footwear. They have a high incidence of injuries, but they do it.

Both hiking and trail running shoes feature lugged treads for traction. Think of hiking and trail running shoes like a spectrum, with the stiffest hiking shoes on one end and the lightest trail running shoes on the other.


Because you lift your feet higher and faster when running, running shoes are lighter than hiking shoes.

A lighter shoe is also more comfortable on the shins since the tibial muscles do not have to work as hard.

The joy of wearing lighter shoes isn’t just in their performance benefits. They feel bouncy and encourage you to move.


Hiking shoes with heavier weights are more durable because they can use more materials.

The extra fabric in the uppers and tread contributes to the shoe’s durability.

It is not as durable to run in running shoes.


Hiking shoes will have a stiffer midsole in order to provide more support for your foot during rough terrain.

As a result, you will be protected from rocks and roots on the bottom of your feet.

The forefoot flex of trail running shoes allows your feet to move more naturally while running, even with rock guards.

Water Resistance

Unless you are ultrarunning, you will probably hike more than you will run; hiking shoes are therefore more weather resistant than trail running shoes.

There are several ways to accomplish this, including making the upper more water repellent or using a membrane such as Gore-Tex to completely waterproof the shoe.

Runners’ shoes will have a mesh upper for breathability, which keeps them cool in hot weather and dries quickly.

Hiking Shoes: When To Wear Them

The answer is straightforward:

  • When you’re only hiking
  • In case of ankle or knee problems, you need support
  • If you want maximum durability, you should
  • When your feet need to stay dry in wet conditions

When To Wear Trail Running Shoes

The following situations require trail running shoes.

  • Your goal is to maximize your speed
  • You are participating in an off-road event or race
  • Over 3 kilometers of running
  • There is no weakness in your feet, ankles, or knees

Hiking Shoes: Are Trail Running Shoes Good?


The problem with hiking boots is that they are clunky, heavy, and generally unsatisfactory. I know I am not the only one who wonders, “Are trail running shoes good for hiking?”.”

As a result, trail running shoes offer more comfort and stability, and they’re lighter.

Rather than having two pairs of shoes, why not combine them into one?

Is it possible to use trail running shoes for hiking?

You can use trail running shoes for hiking, as long as you know a few things beforehand.

The first thing we need to understand is how trail running shoes differ from hiking shoes.

Hiking shoes vs. trail running shoes

The first thing you probably want to know is, “What’s the difference between hiking shoes and trail running shoes?”

It’s an excellent question.

When choosing hiking shoes or trail runners, keep these factors in mind:

  • Stability
  • Protection
  • Weight
  • Durability
  • Breathability

Both types of shoes have pros and cons, depending on what you consider more important.

Let’s take a look at the comparison.


There is no doubt that stability is important.

In unstable terrain, you want something that has your back (or feet) when things start going slippy-slidey.

There is a strong advantage to hiking boots in this situation.

Ankle and foot support

The hiking shoe raises above the ankle, locking it and protecting your lower leg. Hiking shoes ensure the safety of your ankles and feet.

A few hiking shoes have a low profile (like the Merrell Moab), but most hiking shoes have a higher profile to provide better protection.

Hiking trail runners, on the other hand, tend to stop right around the ankles.

It gives your ankle more freedom to rotate, which can be good as well as bad on hiking trails. Protect yourself against rolling your ankles on the trail.

Trail runners give some people more freedom of movement, so it’s largely a matter of preference.


The shoe’s ability to grip the ground is just as important.

While writing this post, my pinky shifts as much as the terrain on both shoes.

Unless you’re on rocky ground, hiking boots usually have good traction because they have heavier lugs and sticky rubber.

To a lesser degree, trail running shoes are similar to road running shoes.

In general, trail runners would like to have the sure footing hiking shoes provided. However, that comes at a significant weight cost (we’ll get to that later).

The design of trail running shoes had to be slimmed down, so the lugs had to be smaller as well.

Utilizing better materials and experimenting with lug sizes have helped bridge this gap in trail running shoes for hiking.

Depending on the terrain you’ll be hiking on, there are trail running shoes with deeper lugs that provide a better grip.


There is no question that an injury on the trail can ruin the rest of your hiking trip.

To protect your feet, you must choose a shoe that provides protection.

Boots built for hiking are strong and durable, ready to endure sticks jabbing them, rocks scraping them, and mud splashing on them. They’re ready for some technical terrain, too.

On the trail, they’re our horses.

Therefore, hiking boots are built with excellent protection, including padding, thick leather, and rock plates.

In many ways, trail runners are similar to other athletes, just on a smaller scale.

Their built-in protection (some shoes come with rock plates) will keep your feet safe.

This is not the case with hiking shoes.

Weight has to be cut somewhere when preparing for a fight. Protection is one of those places.

If you are looking for the best trail runners for hiking, you should keep this in mind.


A long day on the trails. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right…you get the picture.

Over time, you’ll accumulate a lot of steps and weight on your feet, depending on how long you spend out there.

The hike is 60% complete, and you feel like a Looney Tunes character with weights on your feet. You are just ready for the hike to be over.

It is for this reason that weight is such an important factor in choosing a shoe.

There’s no way around it. The materials and protection features add up, which means hiking shoes are heavy.

There are, however, light trail running shoes. 

In general, trail running shoes weigh between 6.5 and 13 ounces.

A hiking shoe weighs about 2-3 pounds on average.

If you are choosing hiking or trail running shoes, consider the weight difference when making your decision.


When it comes to shoes, you want something that lasts. You don’t want to make frequent trips to the shoe store (except for the owner).

It is therefore important to choose a shoe that is durable and well-made.

A hiking shoe is a durable machine that eats trails for breakfast. That’s what they do best.

It depends on how much you hike, but hiking boots usually last 1-2 seasons for the average hiker.

In terms of durability, trail running shoes differ greatly. Some are extremely durable into their elderly years, like the Queen of England.

Bitcoin seems to fall apart faster than others.

The durability of trail runners will be similar to the durability of hiking shoes if you only use them for hiking.

Some trail shoes excel on both trail and pavement, while others struggle. However, when you use them more frequently (like for long runs), they naturally degrade much faster.

The amount of life you want from your trail runners depends on your needs.


Despite popular belief, nature isn’t just trees and rocks.

It’s rough, it’s rugged, and it’s wet.

If moisture gets inside or outside your shoe, you need a way to deal with it quickly.

Getting blisters on the hiking trail is a nightmare, so you should avoid them as much as possible.

Having airflow through your shoes will prevent blisters and help them dry.

Unlike running shoes, hiking shoes are more enclosed. The same system that traps your foot also holds moisture inside, allowing it to accumulate.

This can be a big problem if you don’t air your feet often.

Trail running shoes are, however, more breathable.

Shoes with free-flowing air keep your feet dry and prevent blisters.

The shoes also dry quickly when you’re in wet conditions. No sitting and waiting for your feet and shoes to dry. You can keep walking, and they’ll dry naturally.

Make sure your shoe choice takes blister avoidance into account.

In some trail running and hiking shoes, Gore-Tex is used for waterproofing. You can identify a Gore-Tex shoe by the GTX designation.

Please note that this is for trail running shoes. Let’s move on to road running shoes.

Can you hike in running shoes?

No Normally, hiking should not be done in running shoes. At least, it should not be done in running shoes. 

The features of hiking and trail running shoes make them more suitable for hiking and trails. Running shoes lack these features.

In addition, you don’t have the protection you need for your feet, so you are at risk of getting injured.

Ask someone, “Can I wear running shoes while hiking?” next time.

It should be a simple answer. No.

Are hiking boots necessary?

In light of all of this, there is only one question left, “Why do I need hiking boots?”?”

You don’t. That’s a simple answer.

When it comes to hiking, trail running shoes are a perfect choice. They provide good support, stability, protection, and weight for hiking.

In my opinion, trail running shoes are the best hiking shoes.

However, remember what your shoe will be used for:

  • Do you hike day hikes or thru-hikes?
  • Which shoe should you choose based on a heel-to-toe drop?
  • What is the level of comfort and support you require?

You should consider these questions and answers when choosing shoes.

Hiking and trail running shoes

Hiking shoes are available from a number of brands, including Salomon, Topo Athletic, La Sportiva, Merrell, and many others.

There are many choices to make, so it is difficult to pick one.

In addition, it depends on how long you intend to hike.

Here are the two parts of this section:

  • Trail running shoes for hiking
  • Running shoes for backpacking on trails


This article will help you answer the question, “Can you run in hiking shoes? It is important to consider your own habits and preferences when choosing hiking shoes or trail running shoes.

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