Are Running Shoes Good For Hiking?

Are Running Shoes Good For Hiking

There is a very common question which most of hikers want to know. They basically ask ” are running shoes good for hiking” so, in this post, I will be discussing this important question and offer my tips on the topic so read on..

Hiking in running shoes, how wonderful it seems for many of us? But do you actually know that if it’s all right to go hiking in your running shoes, or can you go on hiking trips in your casual sneakers?

Maybe you don’t go on hiking trips that often, or you are looking for a new multipurpose pair, or you don’t like hiking shoes. In these cases, what are the available options? Or you need exclusively made shoes for hiking?

The short and straightforward answer is yes, you can go on hiking in your running shoes. But there are some considerations that you cannot overlook at any cost. But first, we will recommend you to know all about running and hiking shoes.

Having said let’s discuss both these types below, along with other necessary info that will help you in deciding whether you can use running shoes for hiking or not?

Are Running Shoes Good For Hiking?

Before we discuss whether the running shoes are good for hiking or not, it is important to know the basic differences between the running and hiking shoes.

Running Shoes

Regular running shoes are designed for hard surfaces, pavements, and other similar places. These are more suitable for occasional walking ventures and not that ideal for rough surfaces. Furthermore, regular running shoes are very lightweight and extremely flexible.

In addition, these shoes feature thick cushioning to keep your feet comfortable and provide sufficient support, especially when you are walking on even or hard surfaces. In terms of durability, these shoes are designed to last between 600 to 700 miles of regular usage.

Hiking Shoes

Footwear for hiking adventures is more like a boot. Shoes or boots designed for hiking are heavier and bigger than running shoes. Moreover, these also feature a tough and rigid outsole along with a supportive ankle collar.

Furthermore, hiking shoes are made to withstand intense climates, steep elevations, and long-distance challenges. Plus, hiking shoes are the best choice when you are lugging or walking with heavy packs.

However, hiking shoes are a bit smaller in size as compared to work boots. Similarly, they are heavier than running shoes but lighter than work boots. Almost all hiking boots have a mid-cut ankle and a more flexible outsole.

Another feature that makes hiking boots safe for outdoor and rough uses is the breathability factor.

Can you use running shoes for hiking?

If you love to obey rules and regulations, then running shoes are not good for hiking purposes. This is because running shoes are less protective for your feet, and they are not designed for hiking on rough terrains such as rocks, mountains, hills, and uneven ground.

Furthermore, running shoes can cause various foot injuries, or you might feel discomfort while using them for hiking.

Besides, the most obvious answer to this question is that they are not designed in accordance with the hiking demands. So, as per hiking professionals and experts, if you want to really make your hiking trip a fruitful venture, you need to invest in a high-quality pair of hiking shoes.

The safest approach:

In our opinion, you can use running shoes for hiking purposes if the trail is easy and doesn’t have muddy puddles or lots of water. Hiking also refers to a comfortable and energizing walk with a very simple bag and with a little bit of planning. 

However, if you intend to go for a heavier hiking job or the trail is too challenging, we will not advise you to wear regular running shoes.

Differences between hiking and running shoes:

Many users don’t know the differences between running boots and hiking boots. But understanding all the differences is necessary for all users. However, you can still use a single pair of footwear for both these activities, but the fact is by doing so you are making things difficult for yourself than it needs to be.

Choosing footwear for hiking purposes depends on various crucial factors such as the shoe’s durability, weight, breaking-in period, protection, and waterproof level. Only then you can excel in both running and hiking, and your decision will be an informed one.

Below are some key points and features to look out for to determine whether your running shoes are ideal for hiking or not.

Breathability: Your hiking boots should be breathable and maintains good airflow throughout the shoes. Keep in mind that running shoes are more breathable than regular hiking shoes. So you can count on them in this element.

Comfort: Opposite to popular belief, hiking shoes are highly comfortable than running shoes. But you should check the shoe’s fitment. As in the end, it’s all about the proper fitment rather than the shoe style. Similarly, your footwear should provide long-lasting comfort to you in all situations and weather conditions. At this point, regular running shoes stand lower than hiking boots.

Shoe Weight: Hiking boots are heavier, but this heaviness is for good and protects your feet from various natural and environmental elements. This is something that you won’t find in running shoes.

Shoe Material: Most hiking boots feature premium polyester and nylon materials as they are the most durable out there. However, you will also find leather hiking boots. And lastly, it comes down to your personal preferences.

Shoe outsole: Most hiking shoes come with thick rubber and protruding tread design. This is because it offers more grip and traction when you are moving on rough terrains. And it’s hard to find this feature in standard running shoes.

If you find these properties and features in your running shoes, then you can wear them for hiking without any issue.

Other than that, here are some crucial questions that you must ask yourself before using your running shoes for hiking ventures:

Are Running Shoes Good For Hiking

Your Hiking level:

In simple words, you should ask yourself, are you a professional hiker, or are you a beginner?

For new folks, we will recommend the proper hiking shoes. This is because new users need reliable and more foot support. Plus, hiking shoes are more stable and safe to use on all types of terrains.

Furthermore, you will be climbing and walking uphill with a heavy pack on your back, and you will need the best stability at this point to move comfortably.

On the other hand, if you are a professional hiker with lots of experience and want to shed some weight off your feet, you can opt for the best running shoes. Besides, the break-in period in regular running shoes is minimum, and it is a big plus.

How much support do you need from footwear?

Another vital to determine is the support level that you need from your shoes. If you are suffering from any foot issue, you need proper and reliable support from your footwear, and in this case, we recommend going with hiking shoes. Similarly, hiking boots are also recommend if you travel with heavy loads on your hiking trips.

Conversely, if you need minimum support, you can get that from your running shoes.

Moreover, walking on rough terrains with a backpack is not that easy and takes a while to master the art. The wide, thick soles that you will find in hiking boots are designed for this very purpose and to keep you stable on those harsh surfaces.

The terrain on which you will hike: 

Rough trails demand heavy boots for better stability. Plus, hiking boots are more durable than running shoes and efficiently withstand daily wear and tear. These are made for rough terrains and comfortably manage abuse from rocks and roots and protect your feet. If you plan to go hike in such landscapes, then hiking boots are a must for you.

However, if you plan to go for a refreshing trip on a meandering forest trail, you can use your running shoes. Similarly, if you are heading to a paved nature trail, you can safely use your sneakers or running shoes.

But that will not be the case if you want to hike in the cold and wet conditions because, in these conditions, you need the warmth and protection that only hiking boots can provide.

How fast will you be moving? 

Ask yourself whether the hike will be a slow one or a speedy one? Lightweight running shoes are perfect if you want to move faster on even terrain. But if you will be moving steadily or climbing a lot, then you will need a protective hiking boot.

In the end

The choice of users is different from one another. Hence you will come across various opinions about are running shoes good for hiking or not? 

To simplify things, if you are a beginner and want to go on hiking, we recommend using the best hiking boots. 

However, if you are a pro hiker and planning a trip on the easy trail, you can wear running shoes. But if you plan a trip on any aggressive trail, you need hiking shoes. Road running shoes are fine, but they are not made for rugged terrains, and that’s why many users don’t wear them for most hikes.

John Oakley

Hi, I am John Oakley- The Guy behind this site. I am an avid hiker and long distance walker. I love to experiment with new gear for hiking and walking and this site is a result of my passion for reviewing and checking the best walking shoes and hiking gear.

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