Can You Hike In Running Shoes (5 Major Factors)

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can you hike in running shoes

When we are learning about the basics of hiking, the general question that normally comes to our mind is can you hike in running shoes? Now a day, there are many different types of hiking shoes on the market today but the price range is normally high than ordinary running shoes. Therefore budget-friendly people always pick running shoes as their hiking shoes. 

The answer to your question is yes! You can go ahead with ordinary running shoes, but if you have trail running shoes, you can definitely wear them. The trail running shoes are recommended by many experienced hikers and are the perfect choice for outdoor adventure lovers. 

In this article, we’ll explain the major difference between hiking and running shoes, the points you have to keep in mind to pick the perfect running shoes for hiking, and also explain some important points related to this particular topic. So keep reading!

Side By Side Difference Between Hiking and Running Shoes 

Here’s a table that shows the side-by-side difference between hiking and running shoes 

FeatureHiking ShoesRunning Shoes
OutsoleThick and rugged, designed for traction on rough terrainThin and flexible, designed for traction on flat, even surfaces
MidsoleStiff and supportive, designed to absorb shock and provide stability on uneven groundSoft and flexible, designed to provide cushioning and support for repetitive impact on even surfaces
UpperDurable and supportive, often made of leather or synthetic materialsLightweight and breathable, often made of mesh or synthetic materials
Toe BoxWide and roomy, designed to accommodate thicker socks and allow for natural foot movement on rough surfacesNarrow and streamlined, designed to reduce weight and improve speed on flat surfaces
HeelOften reinforced with extra cushioning or support to help prevent ankle sprains on steep terrainDesigned for a smooth heel-to-toe transition and maximum energy return with each stride
WeightGenerally heavier than running shoes Generally lighter than hiking shoes
Intended UseDesigned for hiking and backpacking, especially on rough or steep surfacesDesigned for running and other high-impact activities on flat surfaces
PriceCan be more expensive than running shoes due to their rugged construction and specialized featuresCan vary widely in price depending on the brand and features, but are generally less expensive than hiking shoes

Are Running Shoes Perfect For Hiking? 

When it comes to hiking, the question comes to mind “Can you hike in running shoes?” The answer is somehow yes, but it depends on many different factors such as hiking distance, hiking type, elevation and ruggedness of the train, water crossing, and weather.  

However road running shoes aren’t the perfect choice for hiking, but you can use them in the starting periods. When you gain experience over time in hiking, you can upgrade your pair to trail running shoes or hiking boots. 

Before using running shoes for hiking, there are several factors you have to consider before picking the perfect shoe for hiking activity. Otherwise, your life could be in danger and you couldn’t save yourself on the trail. 

Distance Of Hiking:

hiking distance

The first and major factor you have to conder is the hiking distance. The distance of your trial decides the shoes you’re using for hiking. If your hiking distance is about one to two hours or covers a few miles, you can go ahead with ordinary running shoes. But if the distance of your hiking adventure is longer then I will give you an advice to go ahead with proper hiking or trail shoes.

Type Of Hiking: 

type of hiking

The second factor is the hiking type. Normally there are two types of hiking activity. Among people, some do it as a leisure activity, while others do it as an expedition and extreme activity. Now you have to decide in which category you’re falling. If you’re taking hiking as a leisure walk and experiencing the wildlife, then running shoes are good to go. But if you are falling in the next category and taking hiking as more than a leisure or as an outdoor adventure then you should pick the proper hiking boots. 

Terrain Elevation and Ruggedness:

terrain elevation and ruggedness

Another important factor that can decide whether can you hike in running shoes is the terrain elevation and ruggedness.  Running shoes not offering enough traction on the surface. Therefore it is difficult to use them on rough surfaces. Running shoes are a good choice when your route involves mostly flat surfaces and does not contain too many elevations. 

You also have to consider the ruggedness of the terrain. If there is a flat surface or little elevation change on your hiking journey, the running shoes will support you. Keep in mind the purpose of running shoes, so going on rough surfaces containing too many elevation could be difficult for you. 

Crossing Of Water: 

water crossing

A water crossing is also the main hurdle when we think can you hike in running shoes. Because ordinary running shoes never allow the waterproofing features, which allows them to dry quickly. It isn’t good to hike with wet shoes since blisters can develop on your feet. So if your route contains the water crossing, go ahead with hiking boots or trail shoes, otherwise, you can use your ordinary running shoes. 



The last but important factor which decides can you hike in running shoes or not is the weather condition. If it is raining during your adventure, you could face a lot of mud and dirt on the trail. In this condition, you may be at risk of injury when you wear running shoes, since they do not provide a lot of traction on the ground. So our advice is to go with hiking boots or trail shoes than using your ordinary running shoes. 

Conclusion: Can You Hike In Running Shoes

We hope you’ll get your answer regarding whether can you hike in running shoes. The answer is a big yes but there are some limitations or factors you have to keep in mind before picking the running shoes on your hiking journey. Running shoes are not the perfect choice if your surface is rough and when you are talking about safety purpose and comfort during the hike. 

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