Are Trail Running Shoes Good For Hiking: 7 Factors To Concern 

You are standing at the trailhead, super excited to embark on a thrilling hiking adventure. As you gear up and slip into your trail running shoes, a thought starts to provoke your mind.

“Are these shoes suitable for hiking?” You wonder.

Well, you’re not the one who has this confusion. This debate has long been among hikers and trail runners about the right footwear.

A large number of trail rubbers prefer wearing trail shoes for both hiking and running. At the same time, hikers argue that walking boots are the best bet.

But what should you prefer? Whose opinion is right and actually worth it?

In short, you can wear trail shoes for hiking without hesitation. But the deeper question lies in the factors you need to consider before lacing up those shoes for your upcoming hiking trip.

As long as you know a few aspects beforehand, trail running shoes are ideal for hiking.

If you’re excited to try them out, keep reading, as I’ll address the key elements that make the trail running shoes suitable for hiking. 

By the end of this guide, you’ll not just get your specific answer, but many other concerns will also be cleared, including an understanding of some reputable trail shoe brands, tips for using them, pros and cons, and more!

Are Trail Running Shoes Good For Hiking

Are Trail Running Shoes Good For Hiking?

Certainly! Trail shoes are good to consider as they can offer numerous benefits over traditional hiking shoes, including being flexible, lightweight, and offering nice traction.

These features incredibly make them a popular option for hikers who prefer a minimalist and agile approach to hiking. 

However, it is important to remember that these shoes can be suitable for hiking in particular situations. Therefore, you always need to consider the specific hiking needs and terrain.

You can wear them Trail Running Shoes while hiking if:

  • You want it for short overnight trips or day hikes.
  • The place where you’re going has dry conditions because these shoes usually have breathable uppers, which are perfect for dry weather.
  • You’re looking for a pair for enhanced speed and agility on the go.

Trail running shoes may not be suitable while hiking if:

  • You’re going to do hiking that includes extremely challenging terrain with rocks or uneven surfaces
  • More ankle support is needed, as you need to carry heavy backpacks over long distances.
  • There are muddy or wet conditions in that area because these shoes may not provide enough traction on slippery surfaces.

7 Factors To Concern When Choosing Trail Running Shoes For Hiking

Without any shadow of a doubt, trail running shoes are super comfortable, lightweight, and offer lots of protection, stability, and balance. 

If you’re deciding to opt for one, it’s necessary for you to select the right pair that suits your preferences. And that is only possible when you consider its features wisely.

Ensure a comfortable and safe hiking experience by looking for the below factors in your trail running shoes:

1. Durability

You want to have something that is going to last long, right?

Well, try looking for trail shoes that are made with high-quality, durable materials to withstand intense conditions.

It is especially essential if you frequently hike in areas with a lot of rocks.

2. Foot and ankle support

Consider the level of foot and ankle support you require during the hiking trip. 

Shoes with rigid construction and thick midsoles offer great support. Whereas, the ones with thin midsoles provide more flexibility and a natural feel.

Opt for trail shoes that give you proper ankle support!

3. Weight

Heavy shoes can lead to fatigue over long distances. However, too lightweight ones may not give the same level of protection.

Depending on how long you are spending out there, you always need to look for something both comfortable and sturdy.

4. Breathability

The breathability factor is one of the most crucial factors to keep in mind. Search for shoes that contain breathable materials to help keep the feet dry and cool.

This will not only prevent hot spots and blisters but also improve overall comfort.

5. Traction

Shoes with nice traction offer unmatched grip and stability on slippery and uneven terrain. 

Choose the product with slip-resistance and durable outsole to avoid falls.

There are trail shoes that provide surer footing and deeper lugs. Therefore, that’s an important consideration depending on the specific terrain you will be hiking.

6. Protection

Adequate protection from roots, rocks, and other hazards is needed on the trail. Most hiking boots are built durable and strong.

Make sure that you keep protection as the first priority while deciding on the shoes. Otherwise, a little injury could ruin the rest of your trip.

7. Fit

It is necessary to select a pair that fits well and is heavenly comfortable.

Try on shoes with suitable socks and walk around in them to make sure that they fit comfortably but not way too tightly. 

Are There Any Specific Brands or Models That Are Highly Recommended For Hiking With Trail Running Shoes? 

When it comes to trail shoes for hiking, several models and brands come highly recommended.

Some popular choices that people truly love are:

  • Brooks Cascadia
  • Salomon Speedcross
  • Altra Lone Peak
  • Merrel
  • La Sportiva Bushido

All these brands are known for their comfort and durability. Plus, every single model provides top-notch features catered to trail running and hiking.

This makes them trustworthy options for outdoor enthusiasts who’re looking for a versatile pair.

Now, you might think about what makes trail running shoes “THE BEST” for hiking. Let’s dive into that!

Benefits of Trail Running Shoes for Hiking

These shoes offer so many stunning benefits when it comes to hiking. Below are some most-prominent ones:

Lightweight Nature

Unlike hiking shoes, which weigh almost 21 lbs, trail running boots come with no more than 1.5 lbs. Due to their agile and lightweight nature, your hiking performance will be enhanced to a great extent. 

Also, the lightweight nature of these shoes can help reduce fatigue. 

Highly Versatile

Versatility is another great perk that comes with the use of trail shoes. Thanks to their protections and soles, they’ll be suitable for hiking, even on technical trails!

You can even use it for other purposes, like running, fitness, or any kind of sports. And, of course, that cannot be possible with average hiking boots.


These types of shoes dry quickly compared to hiking shoes.

No doubt, this can be a big advantage for people who often encounter muddy or wet conditions.  All in all, your foot will be highly protected in wet grass and also when it rains. 

If you want to keep your feet warm and dry, give it a shot!


And how can we conclude our trail running shoes’ benefit section without mentioning breathability?

The support, breathability, and cushioning these shoes offer are literally matchless! 

Enjoy huge comfort and flexibility during long hikes, and get rid of blisters, hot spots, and other 

severe foot problems that are caused by hiking shoes.

Drawbacks of Trail Running Shoes for Hiking

While trail running shoes come with fascinating benefits, hikers need to accept some drawbacks that come with them, too.

These negative points include:

Less Ankle Support

Trail shoes may provide less protection when you hike through complex paths, which include so many rocks.

Here, you might be more concerned about ankle support and protection.

Otherwise, it could increase injury risks and other challenging situations.

Limited Weather Protection

While trail shoes are designed with water-resistant materials, they cannot provide you with the same level of protection from snow or rain.

So yes, these are not ideal when it comes to weather protection.

You should strictly avoid hiking with them, especially in cold temperatures.

Lack of Support

For heavy backpacking trips, you need to have maximum support and foot stability that cannot be offered by trail shoes.

This is because they’re designed to be more lightweight than hiking shoes – so you won’t get the same support for your foot there.

Less Durability

The mesh uppers make these shoes sturdy enough to handle moderate hiking trails.

Anyhow, they’ve pretty small openings for ventilation, which makes them prone to getting ripped on stray debris.

Ultimately, its lifespan may be decreased.

Okay, we’ve talked enough about the pros and cons. Let’s not miss out on the differences between trail running shoes and hiking shoes!

Trail Running Shoes Vs. Hiking Shoes: 4 Major Differences

While hiking boots and trail runners may seem similar at first, there are many differences between these two. Below are some key differences to remember: 

1. Cushioning

Trail runners normally have less cushioning compared to hiking shoes, which can make them feel more responsive and minimal. 

On the other hand, hiking boots have more cushioning that provides amazing support and support absorption.

Simultaneously, they may not feel as same comfortable as they’re made with thick, durable materials.

If you want to enjoy hiking long distances, trail runners may not be great as hiking ones.

2. Design

Trail runner shoes are designed specifically for running, while hiking boots are built for hiking.

This clearly means that trail runners are more flexible and lighter. On the contrary, hiking boots are more sturdy and heavier. 

Their designing is done in a way that they do particular tasks. However, we cannot ignore the perks that trail shoes offer when it comes to hiking.

3. Ankle Support

In general, hiking boots have exceptional ankle support to tolerate rocky terrain. Train runners, in contrast, have a lower than enables a higher range of motion.

If you want to carry easy-to-wear and lightweight shoes, go for the trail runners.

Anyhow, ankle support cannot be promised in this case. But we cannot ignore the fact that some high-quality models offer similar ankle support, too.

But obviously, you’ll have to spare time to find that one perfect pair.

4. Protection Needs

Because hiking boots are manufactured from super thick materials and contain a tough sole, they give high protection.

The hiking shoe’s style is also fabulous for offering greater coverage of the ankle and foot.

If you’re going in rough terrain, such as muddy hills, rough forest trails, or rocky mountains, you need more support and protection.

And if the way is smooth and not too tricky, you can definitely give trail runners a lot!

Pro Tips When You Hiking With Trail Running Shoes

Using these shoes can undeniably provide a highly flexible and comfortable option for many hikers. Have a look below to get familiar with some pro tips while hiking with trail shoes:

Tip 1. Size Up

Feet normally swell after a few hiking hours. Therefore, it’s good to have the option of wearing thick socks for extra warmth. Try buying one size bigger footwear from your regular shoes to get maximum benefit.

Tip 2. Choose The Right Socks

Choosing the right socks can prevent blisters and add to overall comfort. Search for breathable and moisture-wicking socks that perfectly fit with the shoes.

Tip 3. Adjust Your Laces

Ensure to adjust the laces in order to achieve a secure fit. It can assist in preventing the feet from sliding inside your shoe, which can cause discomfort or blisters.

Tip 4. Check The Weather

Remember that some trail running shoes might not be waterproof. So, make sure to check the weather forecast & plan your trip accordingly.

Tip 5. Clean And Maintain Your Shoes

Regular maintenance and cleaning of shoes can prolong their lifespan. Always remove any debris after each hike; air them out to prevent moisture and odor buildup.

Are There Any Additional Accessories or Modifications I Should Consider When Using Trail Running Shoes for Hiking?

While using trail running shoes, there are a few accessories you may need to consider.

First, consider adding gaiters in order to prevent debris such as dirt, sand, or rocks from entering the shoes to avoid blisters.

Also, invest in insoles with more cushioning and arch support.

Depending on the weather conditions and terrain, you’ll require traction devices like microspikes or crampons for enhanced stability and grip.

Don’t forget to select all the accessories that complement your hiking preferences!


So, are trail running shoes good for hiking?

Absolutely yes! Trail shoes can be ideal for hiking, as they offer agility and promise to be your companion for longer distances.

However, factors like fit, protection, weight, durability, and traction are a must to consider!

Note that they may lack the same support as hiking boots on difficult terrain. So, choose wisely for an enjoyable and safe hike!

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