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Can You Hike in Running Shoes

can you hike in running shoes

If you’re still learning and starting to hike, chances are you are still not equipped with what is needed in a hike. So, if you have running shoes, can you hike in running shoes and still get comfortable during the hike?

The answer is a big yes if you have trail running shoes. This type of shoe is perfect and is highly recommended for aspiring and experienced hikers. However, if you have a pair of road running shoes, I’m afraid that it will not work the same but can still be effective during the hike.

What Running Shoes Bring In a Hike

Can I wear running shoes for hiking? This was the question I asked myself when I was still a newbie. During that time, I was still clueless about what I was doing and was not equipped with what I needed for a hike.

But as I gain experience, I learn that standard running shoes will not give you the type of protection you need on the trail. It is still possible to wear running shoes on a hike, but it will be best for you if the trail is shorter and less challenging.

Over time and as you gain experience, you can have the option to upgrade your regular running shoes to trail running shoes or hiking boots. These two types of shoes are more suitable when it comes to hiking.

Should you insist on using running shoes in a hiking activity, there are certain factors that will need to be considered for your safety on the trail.

Hiking Distance

How long will your hike be? What is the distance of your trail? If you plan to hike for a few miles for about one to two hours, then running shoes should be fine. However, if you are planning for a hike that covers a longer distance, I will discourage you from using running shoes and using hiking boots or trail running shoes instead.

Hiking Type

There are many reasons why people do hiking activities. Some people do it for leisure, while others want to do it for extreme activities and expeditions. So, if you are just hiking to take a leisurely walk and experience the wildlife, then running shoes are enough. However, hiking boots are highly recommended if your planned hiking activity is more challenging and physically demanding.

Elevation and Ruggedness of the Train

Let’s face it, running shoes do not offer a lot of traction on the surface, which makes it difficult to be used on steep inclines and elevation changes. So, make sure to check on the elevation changes of your route and see if a running sure can work on it. Running shoes should be fine if the trail only involves most flat routes and does not contain too many elevation changes.

You also need to check on the ruggedness of the terrain. If there are no or little elevation changes on the trail, then running shoes can still work, but it still depends on the ruggedness of the terrain. Remember that running shoes are built for running, which means walking or navigating in rough trails can be difficult for you.

Water Crossings

If the route of your hiking trail involves crossing bodies of water, then using running shoes can be difficult. This type of shoe is not equipped with waterproofing capabilities which allow the shoes to dry very quickly. If you are hiking in wet shoes, there is a chance that your feet will develop blisters which is not really a good feeling.


The weather during the hike can also make or break the chance of using running shoes in your hiking activity. If it is raining during your hike, it can get muddy and dirty on the trail. Since running shoes do not provide a lot of traction and grip on the ground, they can be dangerous to you. Using hiking boots or a trail running shoe is way better than using regular running shoes.

Running Shoes Limited Capability During the Hike

running shoes limited capability during the hike

I have been consistent in saying that a running shoe can be used during the hike but under limited circumstances. But what is the reason behind it? First, running shoes are built for running and not for hiking which means some parts of the shoes are not prepared for the challenges that a hiking activity requires.

The most obvious limitation of a running shoe is the quality of the grip. Road runner shoes come with less traction and offer lesser grip. These features mean they can be slippery in muddy areas, especially when it is raining.

In addition, running shoes do not protect your toes as much compared to hiking boots or even trail running shoes. This situation is the reason why I always discourage using running shoes when planning to go for a long hike. The feet will be experiencing constant dragging, bumping, and stubbing, which means you need all the protection you need with your toes.

Regular running shoes also do not come with a unique mesh design and high tops. Running shoes come with a wide mesh design that does not offer extra protection on the feet. Some trail running shoes also come with high tops, which helps keep the tiny rocks from kicking into your shoes while giving protection in the rain. Unfortunately, regular running shoes do not provide this type of protection.


So, can you hike in running shoes? Yes, you can, but you must know the limitations when doing so. In other words, running shoes still work fine during the hike, but they are not the best option if you want to talk about safety and comfort during the hike. As stated above, there are certain conditions where running shoes can be used safely in a hiking activity.

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