Can You Use Trail Running Shoes for Hiking? (Your Ultimate guide)

Can You Use Trail Running Shoes for Hiking

The question, “can you use trail running shoes for hiking?” has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially as more and more people are looking to participate in outdoor activities. The simple answer to this question is yes, you can. However, there are some essential factors to consider before you decide to use trail running shoes for hiking, and it is crucial to understand the differences between the two types of footwear to make an informed decision.

Can You Use Trail Running Shoes for Hiking


The Key Differences Between Hiking and Trail Running Shoes

Can You Use Trail Running Shoes for Hiking

Design and Construction

The primary difference between trail running shoes and hiking shoes/boots lies in their design and construction. Trail running shoes are designed specifically for the sport of trail running and provide the necessary cushioning, traction, and support needed for running on uneven terrain. They are also lightweight, flexible, and typically have a low-to-the-ground profile for better agility and ground feel.

On the other hand, hiking shoes and boots are designed for walking on various terrains and can range from lightweight shoes for day hikes to heavy-duty boots for backpacking trips. Most hiking shoes offer more support, protection, and durability than trail shoes but tend to be heavier and less flexible.


One of the main reasons people consider wearing trail running shoes for hiking is their lightweight nature. Lightweight trail running shoes can significantly reduce the overall load on your feet compared to traditional hiking shoes or heavy hiking boots. This weight difference can make a notable difference in your overall comfort and energy expenditure during long hikes.

Ankle Support

While trail running shoes do not provide the same level of ankle support as hiking boots, the need for ankle support while hiking depends on various factors, including personal preference, the weight of your backpack, and your experience level. Additionally, some trail runners offer more ankle support than others, so you can find a trail running shoe that meets your specific needs.

Traction and Protection

Most trail running shoes provide excellent traction on various surfaces, making them suitable for many hiking trails. However, if you plan on tackling technical terrain or areas with loose rocks and sharp objects, a true trail running shoe with a rock plate, protective toe caps, and durable materials may be necessary.


Trail running shoes good for hiking should offer ample cushioning to absorb impact and minimize fatigue throughout your hike.

Pros and Cons of Using Trail Running Shoes for Hiking

Can You Use Trail Running Shoes for Hiking

Now that you understand the differences between trail running and hiking footwear, it’s essential to consider the advantages and disadvantages of wearing trail running shoes for hiking.


* Lightweight: The best trail running shoes are lighter than most hiking shoes and boots, putting less strain on your feet and helping you move more quickly and efficiently.

* Breathability: Running shoes for hiking, particularly those designed for trail running, tend to be more breathable than traditional hiking shoes, making them ideal for summer hiking or those who prefer to keep their feet dry and cool.

* Flexibility: The flexibility of trail running shoes enhances comfort during long hikes, allowing your feet to conform to uneven surfaces and adapt to various terrains.

* Versatility: Trail running shoes can be a practical choice for those who want to run and hike on the same trip or are looking for footwear that will perform well in various outdoor activities.


* Less Protection: Most trail running shoes lack some of the protection features found in traditional hiking shoes and boots, leaving your feet more vulnerable to rocks, roots, and other hazards.

* Limited Ankle Support: If you require added ankle support, trail running shoes may not be the best choice for you.

* Durability: Lightweight trail runners may not be as durable as hiking shoes or boots, as they are not designed to withstand the wear and tear of long hikes and backpacking trips.

Can You Use Trail Running Shoes for Hiking – Final Thoughts

So, can you use trail running shoes for hiking? Yes, you can, but it is essential to consider the factors mentioned above. If you are looking for lightweight shoes that provide good traction and breathability for day hikes on well-maintained trails, trail running shoes might be the perfect option for you. However, if you require more support, protection, and durability, traditional hiking shoes or boots may be a better choice. Ultimately, personal preference and the type of hiking you plan on doing should guide your decision.

Table of Contents