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Are Running Shoes Good for Hiking?

Are Running Shoes Good for Hiking?

When it comes to shoes for running, you will find a variety of them on the market and online. If you are a serious runner, though, then you can opt for a handful of them, which can be extremely expensive. Since these shoes are so expensive, we often tend to use it for several other outdoor activities, such as hiking, but are running shoes good for hiking?

Investing in multiple shoes for every single kind of outdoor activity will obviously drive you to bankruptcy. Shoes from brands like Puma, Nike, Reebok, and the likes are very expensive, after all.

Hence, in this article, we aim to talk about the differences between running shoes and hiking shoes. We also try to figure out whether these differences are large enough to justify buying two pairs of shoes separately. By understanding these differences, we will be more knowledgeable in making a right shoe purchase.

What Are Running Shoes?

Regular road running shoes are designed specifically for pavement and occasional forays onto tightly packed surfaces with very little irregularities. These shoes tend to be very light in weight and extremely flexible. In addition, these shoes are made to stabilize and cushion the feet, especially during repetitive strides on hard and even surfaces.

A pair of running shoes will typically last you anywhere between 400 to 500 miles of running or about three to four months of regular usage. In order to know when your shoes have completely worn out, check if the outsoles and the midsoles are compressed or worn out. If they appear to be like they are, then it is time to buy a new pair.

What Are Hiking Shoes?

Not many are aware that hiking shoes are actually available as hiking boots as well. Hiking boots are typically bigger and bulkier in size. They have a very tough and rigid outsole, and they also feature an ankle collar.

These boots are typically used for intense climates, steep elevation, and long-distance hikes. They are also ideal if you are lugging around heavy packs.

Hiking shoes, on the other hand, are relatively smaller in size when compared to the boots. These shoes are much lighter in weight, have a mid-cut ankle, and have a far more flexible outsole.

These shoes are meant for casual hikers who are looking to hike no more than a day or are in need of camp shoes. These shoes offer far more breathability as they do not have an ankle collar.

Are Running Shoes Good for Hiking?

Now that you know that there are differences in the make and design of these shoes, we decided to make a comparison between running and hiking shoes to see whether you can use them for hiking or not.

There are a couple of top factors that come into play. These include:

  • Durability

Durability is an essential feature of any high-quality shoe. A high-quality hiking shoe is specifically designed to face uneven and rough terrain. They usually last for hundreds of hikes and rarely ever show any signs of wear and tear easily. Certain hiking shoes are capable of lasting up to 1000 miles of hikes.

As mentioned earlier, running shoes are known to last for about 500 miles. Furthermore, these shoes aren’t exactly designed to withstand the rough and uneven terrains that a hiking shoe is designed for. So, the possibility of wear and tears to occur on running shoes on a hike are significantly higher.

  • Weight

Weight plays an important role in any shoe since the heavier a shoe is, the more energy you end up using to lift your foot. For this reason, it is essential to choose a shoe that will actively minimize your energy consumption.

It is a given that a hiking shoe will be significantly heavier in comparison to a running shoe. The additional weight on a hiking shoe comes from the durability features we mentioned above.

Running shoes, on the other hand, are designed to be light in weight and not take away any extra energy from you.

  • Breaking-In

Hiking shoes are designed to be very sturdy. So, breaking into these kinds of shoes is essential. Failing to do so will result in you having blisters all over your feet, and ultimately, leading to a painful hike.

To break into hiking shoes, you will need to do it days in advance. You can do this by wearing them for an hour or two around the house, or in the neighborhood.

Running shoes are designed to be not as sturdy, which means that breaking into them is significantly easier. You can break into them even a day or two prior to your scheduled activity. High-end running shoes do not even require breaking in.

  • Protection

Without a doubt, a pair of hiking shoes will ensure that your feet are well protected. The soles on hiking shoes are made from thicker materials, which makes them quite durable and tough, especially when you walk on branches and rocks.

If you opt for hiking boots, they will offer you an added advantage of supporting your ankle and protecting them from any kind of ankle sprains.

On the other hand, since running shoes are light in weight, it also means that the soles in them are light and are far less durable in comparison. Also, as keeping the weight low on running shoes is crucial, there will be no protection for your feet or ankle either.

  • Waterproof Feature

Being waterproof is another essential feature of hiking shoes. Most, if not all, hiking shoes are made with material that keeps the water from seeping in. They also allow the shoe to dry far more quickly.

Running shoes, however, may not have waterproof features. This entirely depends on the shoe. Typically, high-end running shoes have waterproof features. Even if they do not come with this feature, though, they tend to dry much faster since they are made from a lighter material.


So, to answer whether are running shoes good for hiking, our answer would be a no. While there is no hard and fast rule that says you cannot use running shoes for hiking, you do leave yourself susceptible to injuries since they are not built for hiking.

If you go on hikes often, then we highly recommend that you invest in a decent pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, whichever you feel works best for you.

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