Can You Hike in Running Shoes

While others might want to save the answer for the last, we wouldn’t want to keep you waiting. So, to answer the question “Can You Hike in Running Shoes”, yes is the answer. You can hike in running shoes. Many people prefer running shoes for a number of reasons. Maybe you’re traveling and want a shoe that is multi-purpose; maybe you don’t hike too much and don’t want to go through the hassle of getting yourself new shoes, or perhaps you just don’t like hiking shoes at all. Well, no matter what reason you have, running shoes are an excellent alternative for you. 

One thing that you should know, however, is that there are different types of running shoes, and not all will suit hiking ideally. Trail running shoes are what we recommend. They are the best in this quest and would be recommended highly by experienced hikers. Road running shoes, on the other hand, won’t be as efficient and high-performing as the trail running shoes but will still work. So, it is essential to choose what you are settling for wisely.

Can You Hike in Running Shoes: Difference Between Road Running Shoes and Trail Running Shoes

Why are we insisting on trail running shoes over the road running ones? What are the differences between the two, and does it really matter what you go for? Let us find out.


The first thing to look at is the grip, which is at the bottom. You want something that will provide you with a firm grip, and trail running shoes are the best in this. Roadrunner shoes are smooth and will provide you with low traction. With time when their treads wear out, they will get even smoother. This is bad for hiking. 

The roadrunner shoes will also get slippery when you come across muddy places, so you want to be careful in these. If you want a good comparison, take time, and look at the soles of the two shoes. There is a massive difference in their treads. Road running shoes are designed for walking along pavements, and with this, they have smooth treads. Trail running shoes, on the other hand, come with an aggressive grip for mud, rock, and dirt. Trail running shoes can even be used in the snow. 

There is definitely no debate when it comes to the two. In the context of grip, trail running shoes scoops the day. This is the first reason that makes them a better option for hiking.

Toe Protection

Second, in line is the toe protection. We don’t want you to hurt your toenail so that you realize how important protecting your toe is, especially during hiking. On top of protection, comfort is also essential. Remember that you will be walking for long hours, and you want to go with something that will be comfortable on your toes. Toes are very vulnerable, and when subjected to a lot of pressure, they are bound to swell. This might be very bad when you are far from any place that you can receive medical aid. 

Accidents are bound to occur during hiking, whether you like it or not. You, therefore, have to go that extra step to protect yourself. Road running shoes don’t come with any toe protection in specific. This is unlike the trail running shoes, which are incorporated with toe guards. The safety of your toes is thus ensured. 

Once again, the trail running shoes have showcased why they are the option to go for when hiking.


The design of the shoes come in handy when the nature of the terrain is uneven. Note that out in the wild; you will meet bumps, scraps, mud, and water. You will be scratched, tripped, and poked all along. Settle for a shoe designed to protect you against all of these. Once more, trail shoes are the option to settle for with this. 

Trail running shoes come in a unique design. We don’t dispute the fact that running shoes come in a mesh design. An applaud to that! However, this isn’t enough. The woods out there are aggressive, and you want something even more aggressive. This is what trail running shoes bring to the table.

Trail running shoes come with a nylon mesh on the upper that is anti-debris. It is highly breathable and quick to dry. It also requires low maintenance. This is the perfect design for hiking. No amount of mud or water will be able to penetrate through. Moreover, their breathability and quickness to dry are an added advantage.

High Tops

The last feature that separates the men from the boys, the intellect from the dummies, the pros from the amateurs is the High Tops. You will not find this in the road running shoes, only the trail running shoes. And to be more specific, not all trail running shoes, only the chosen few. This is an added accessory that makes life easier for you. 

High tops come with the advantage of preventing small rocks form kicking inside your shoes. In addition, they also come in handy during the rainy season and protect you from the water. High tops keep out mud and debris and also ensure that your feet are dry during the rainy seasons.

There you have it; four solid reasons why the trail running shoes are superior to the road running shoes. There is no better way that we can use to emphasize why you have to settle for the trail running option. Road running shoes are fantastic, no doubt about that, but not when it comes to this field of play. So, the next time you want to settle for a running shoe for hiking, be sure to ask for the trail ones.

Best Trail Running Shoes 

Our article will not be complete without giving you a list of the best trail running shoes that the market has to offer you. These are the best options that money can get you. They are what to settle for when you are looking for an efficient shoe for hiking.

  • Saucony Peregrine

First on our list is the Saucony Peregrine. This shoe scoops the award for the best overall shoe. It is a prodigy and beats all the other players in the game. Saucony has been in the game for multiple generations and still remains a favorite to many. The excellence in their products is measured in terms of traction, weight, protection, and cushioning. 

We must commend this shoe for a signature grip that is non-comparable to any other. Whether on a wet surface or hard rock, your balance and comfort are assured. Solid ‘wings’ have been added on the eyelet of its ISOFIT Laces for a sock-like and tighter feel. Every detail has been clearly brought out in this shoe to give you the best of performance.    

  • La Sportiva Bushido

Second, on our list is La Sportiva Bushido. Just like Peregrine, this one also has lots of cool and outstanding features for providing you with the best performance. The first thing worth mentioning with this pair is that it is extremely lightweight. At one lb., you will be able to walk for long distances without fatigue; that’s what makes it highly recommendable for hiking. 

We love this shoe and recommend it for technical trails. The shoe is responsive; its grip is remarkable and also stable over different terrains. Its midsole has been upgraded from its previous versions and comes with a rubber toe cap, which boosts its durability. This shoe provides you with the needed confidence and personality required to tackle any challenging obstacle.

  • Hoka one Speedgoat 3

For the best-cushioned trail shoe, we must give all the accolades to this pair. The price slapped on it isn’t low, that we have to warn you, but with its performance, it definitely is worth it. This pair features thick midsoles that give it extreme comfort in every terrain. It is lightweight and designed using high-quality foam for a long-lasting touch. 

This pair has been designed to give you the utmost comfort over hard terrain. This is a major reason why we recommend it for hiking. Moreover, the grip and traction provided are top-notch, and we couldn’t ask for anything better. We will, however, have to deduct a point with this shoe for its stack height, which comes with its disadvantage. The shoe doesn’t give you the needed precision when descending down a hill and becomes inconvenient. 


There you have it; everything that you need to know about hiking and running shoes. Our detailed guideline has gone a step further to provide you with a review of the best products that the market has to offer you. We have done our part, and now the ball rests in your court. 

In summary, running shoes are okay for hiking, and it all depends on your preference. However, road running shoes are a big No-No for this quest. A number of reasons have been enlisted, with the major one being that they don’t provide you with the needed grip and traction. Trail running shoes are the option to settle for. So, next time you are at the store, consider our above list for the best performance and experience. Have fun, hiking!  

You can read more hiking and running articles here.