If you are a hiker, I bet you’ve asked: Can hiking shoes be used for running?
As someone who is thrifty and enjoys hiking in the outdoors, I know that picking out another pair of shoes for running can be tricky.
After all, you probably already own a good pair of hiking shoes that can master plenty of terrains, and running trails can be safely placed within that category.
Some experts recommend getting a new pair of running shoes while others say that hiking shoes are perfectly fine. It is time to put the discussion to an end!
Read on to find out if your hiking shoes fit the conditions to make a good pair of shoes for running.
At a glance, we will be taking a deep dive into:
- Components Of Hiking Shoes
- Components of Running Shoes
- Hiking Vs Running Shoes
- Can You Hike in Running Shoes
- What About Approach Shoes
- When To Wear What Shoes
- Recommended Hiking Shoes For Running
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Can You Run In Hiking Shoes?
So, the big question remains: can you run with hiking shoes? Yes, you can! You just need to pay attention to the type of shoes and the frequency that you run. There are a few things to consider, and let us look into the details.
Components Of Hiking Shoes
Hiking shoes are known to be heavy in order to provide traction and grip. They are at least 2 lbs and above, with some weighing up to 3.5 lbs.
If you are worried about your hiking shoes being too heavy, look no further than the military – they run in heavier combat boots!
If you are looking to go backpacking or travel by flight (think cabin-sized luggage), you should also think about the space that hiking shoes may take up in your bags.
The extra weight may also slow you down while you run.
The materials made to produce hiking shoes good for rougher terrains make them more durable and long-lasting.
The sturdier materials (especially in the uppers and thread) can easily help them last up to 1000 miles.
They are less likely to wear out, although you may wish to check if the soles of your hiking shoes can be resoled. If the outer sole is not integrated into the upper, resole your hiking shoes to make them good for another 1000 miles!
You may notice that the materials for hiking shoes are stiffer when compared to running shoes.
This is because they are meant to provide protection for your foot against rough terrain, as well as better support for traversing across trails.
You may find that this makes it harder for you to run at a faster speed.
More often than not, hiking shoes are made from waterproof materials that make them harder to dry.
This means that your feet are more likely to accumulate sweat when you run in hiking shoes.
They may also take a longer time to dry after each running session. If you live in a warm climate, you will definitely need to take this into consideration.
The water resistance in hiking shoes comes in the form of a water repellent upper, or a Gore-tex (GTX) membrane. This is useful for those who hike more often than they run, in extreme conditions.
If you intend to run in colder or wetter conditions, especially in autumn or winter, hiking shoes will do the job well.
In hotter conditions, your feet may accumulate in sweat because the moisture vapor is unable to disseminate well.
To avoid blisters from sweat, runners may choose to wear thicker socks which makes it unbearable in hot climates.
After considering these factors, you may start thinking: can you run in hiking boots?
The answer is simple – always research the weight, durability, stiffness, breathability, water resistance, and climate you are running in. Hiking boots have a disadvantage in their high cut and ankle support, which makes them less desirable for running long distances.
Components Of Running Shoes
Running shoes generally have minimal traction for surfaces. This is because they are meant to grip the ground while you are running and hence they will not have strong traction in comparison to hiking shoes.
To make up for this, you can opt for running shoes with a rugged and off-trail style with better traction.
As you will be wearing running shoes for vigorous activities, the fit of the shoe is important.
Shapes tend to vary dramatically, and you must always try on each pair of running shoes before bringing them home.
Look for a firm fit in the heel and slightly roomy across the toes. If you have wider feet, look for models that provide roomier designs.
Due to the narrower soles of running shoes, the grip on the ground is less firm. Overall, running shoes are meant for gripping on the fly, and therefore check out the trail conditions before you run.
The terrain, steepness, and weather may determine whether the grip of your shoes is suitable.
The cushion sole thickness may impact your stability on the ground. Thick soles may give you greater height but compromise your stability. When looking into your running shoes, look for at least 10mm of cushion to reduce impact and protect your feet.
The flexible materials like the mesh design on running shoes provide a better range of movement. The stretch is less restrictive and supports freedom of movement at a higher velocity. This is in contrast to the materials used in hiking shoes, which are designed for better support and protection.
Hiking Shoes Vs Running Shoes
Now that you know what makes a good pair of hiking and running shoes, what is the difference between hiking shoes and running shoes? On the shelves, hiking and running shoes tend to look alike. The process of decision-making in deciding if you should get hiking shoes or running shoes depends on several key factors.
|Hiking Shoes||Key Differences||Running Shoes|
|High cut and thick materials give better protection||Protection||Less protection but narrow soles prevent tripping|
|Up to 1000 MilesCan be resoled||Durability||Up to 500 milesMust be replaced|
|Required||Breaking In||Not required|
|Waterproof (mostly)Hard to dry||Water Exposure||Non-waterproofQuick to dry|
Tougher materials and thicker soles on hiking shoes provide the necessary protection for your whole foot. This is important when you are hiking across rough terrains with a heavy load that can sometimes be almost half of your body weight!
The higher cut around the ankles will also provide better support and protection against injuries.
For running shoes, the lighter materials and mesh design will not stand up to the same protective standards as hiking shoes. However, the narrow soles will protect your feet from tripping easily when you run.
Hiking shoes are made to withstand up to 1000 miles of trekking in comparison to running shoes, which are made to run up to 500 miles.
This means that you will need to replace your running shoes approximately every 6 months or so. This helps to prevent excessive or uneven wear that may lead to unwanted injuries.
If you wish to increase the durability of your hiking shoes, some come with the option to resole for another 1000 miles.
Hiking shoes will have to be broken in before wearing them on any hikes, otherwise, you are calling for a painful journey with blisters!
A simple way to break them in is to wear them for short walks around your neighborhood, before progressing to longer walks or a full-length hike subsequently. Hiking shoes nowadays require less effort to break in.
On the other hand, running shoes can be worn straight out of the box without breaking them in. If you wish to run without being concerned about breaking in your shoes, running shoes are a good choice.
The waterproofing that is present on most hiking shoes keeps water from entering boots. While this is certainly welcome when running in colder terrains, there are some disadvantages to it.
Note that hiking in winter or frosty conditions can make your boots frozen, which increases the likelihood of frostbite.
Running shoes are highly breathable which means that even if they get wet (think crossing rivers or muddy grounds) they can dry quickly.
Just air them in a ventilated area and your shoes will likely be ready for wear the next day.
Can You Hike In Running Shoes
Yes, you can wear hiking shoes for running, but can you wear running shoes for hiking? You could be on the other end of the spectrum – owning running shoes but uncertain if you need hiking shoes just to go for a hiking trip.
You’ll find that many people are hiking in running shoes, and start thinking: Can I use running shoes for hiking?
Let’s look at the two main types of running shoes.
Road Running Shoes
These shoes have a smoother tread (bottoms of shoes) that is meant for running on pavements or concrete roads. They have less traction and grip because they are not meant for rougher terrains.
Additionally, this also means that they do not come with any toe guards. After some use, the tread will become smoother and be slippery in muddy areas.
Can you use running shoes for hiking? You may wish to reconsider if you have road running shoes.
Trail Running Shoes
These babies, on the other hand, have a better grip to adjust to running in dirt, mud, or rocky areas. They also have some type of toe guard in order to protect the toes from coming into contact with hard objects.
Mesh designs that running shoes are known for to improve comfort and breathability are tight in trail running shoes, which is perfect to keep debris from entering the shoes.
Some trail running shoes come in higher tops to prevent tiny rocks from entering the shoes while running. This can be an excellent additional feature when you consider them for hiking to keep dirt and water out. Can you use trail running shoes for hiking? Yes!
What About Approach Shoes
Approach shoes are less well known than hiking or running shoes. With a sticky rubber sole, these shoes are meant for hiking into rocky areas that require climbing.
They make for easier scrambling over rocks with features such as smoother sections around the toes and a thinner midsole. Climbers consider approach shoes as essential footwear for their agility over rocks and comfort while hiking trails.
When To Wear…
|When to wear|
|Hiking Shoes||Heavier loads like backpacks Cold weatherTough terrainsLonger-lasting footwearA single choice of footwear|
|Running Shoes||Lightweight, maximum performanceFaster speedFlexibility in motionOnly runningWarm climates|
|Approach Shoes||More climbing activitiesNimble and flexible movementRocky grounds|
To determine can hiking shoes be used for running, stay true to your hiking shoes for backcountry excursions and rough terrains.
Keep in mind that hiking shoes will provide better support and protection, which makes them a better choice for rough terrains. Wear hiking shoes for:
- Heavier loads like backpacks
- Cold weather
- Tough terrains
- Longer-lasting footwear
- A single choice of footwear
Keep your running shoes for frequent day hikes and runs. This is a good choice if you tend to go out for running activities, especially in countries that have year-long summer.
The dry climate will help you keep your feet comfortable in breathable shoes. Wear running shoes for:
- Lightweight, maximum performance
- Faster speed
- Flexibility in motion
- Only running
- Warm climates
These last contenders are great for those of you who run in rocky terrains with some climbing thrown in!
Suitable for adventurers, approach shoes are diverse in various situations. You can wear them for walking to the crag, a multi-day slog, or even high difficulty terrains!
Wear approach shoes for:
- More climbing activities
- Nimble and flexible movement
- Rocky grounds
Recommended Hiking Shoes For Running
Previously, Hoka One One was the brand that runners used to go for their shoes, but now even hikers are also buying their shoes.
More often than not, adventurers prefer to opt for lightweight shoe options which makes these trail runners perfect for trail performance.
The Hoka Speedgoat 4 emphasizes plush cushioning and a strong outsole grip. However, these shoes are non-waterproof.
The main disadvantages of these shoes are the speed at which it wears down, especially the soles. Steeper and rougher terrains may wear down the shoes even more quickly.
The fit is similar to a trail runner, with almost no break-in required – wear them out of the box!
The traction is also wonderful for a nimble hike up rougher terrains that includes wet, dry, hard, or loose grounds.
Almost no disadvantages are present; just note that their lacing system takes some time to get used to.
This budget pick provides a minimalist, fuss-free design that provides your essential needs for hiking and running.
The mesh design is highly breathable using a higher percentage of recycled materials for its build.
Trying to mimic a barefoot design, footfall while running is natural with an adequate amount of protection for your feet.
On the flip side, this pair of shoes may come across as heavier (15.2 oz). The barefoot design also means that the protection from the ground will be slightly compromised. You may want to keep this pair of shoes for running on even trails.
Can I Use Hiking Shoes For Running?
Yes, you can run in hiking shoes occasionally but it is not recommended for regular run training. Hiking shoes are not designed for a high volume of running, which means that running in them will be uncomfortable. Generally, runners put in beyond 25 miles per week on their running shoes.
What’s The Difference Between Hiking Shoes And Running Shoes?
Hiking shoes can last up to 1,000 miles of hikes! Running shoes, on the other hand, can last up to 500 miles. This is because hiking shoes are made for rougher terrains and do not show wear even after hundreds of hikes. On the other hand, running shoes have to be replaced often.
Can Hiking Shoes Be Used For Walking?
Yes, they can be used to walk on the street or in casual circumstances. Hiking shoes can be used on most terrains as they are highly durable, offer strong foot protection, are comfortable, and have strong ankle support. However, they may wear out faster from casual use because of their heavier weight and bulk.
So, can hiking shoes be used for running? The short answer is that yes…if only for occasional runs. If you intend to run regularly, it is best to get trail running shoes that would serve you better in the long run!
Alternatively, if you spend more time hiking and camping, invest in a good pair of hiking boots.
Your feet will thank you if you select the correct footwear for different activities!
With your feet clad in the correct footwear, it is time to head back into the wild and glorious outdoors! Let us know which hiking shoes you prefer to wear while running.