Can You Run in Hiking Shoes?

New hikers often ask whether they can use their hiking shoes for running. When the hiker starts running on the trails, he tends to think should he invest in some specific running footwear or not?

The answer is yes. Hiking shoes might be used for running sometimes but they are not preferred for the regular runners. They require more coordination when you run because of weight. If a regular runner covers more than 20 miles, hiking boots cannot bear much. The shoes are designed according to the purpose.

If you run regularly and cover several miles then you must consider buying a pair of running trail shoes.

Have a look at some of the factors before deciding whether to continue with your hiker boots or opt for a pair of good trail runners.

Hiking Vs Trail Running Shoes

There is a difference between hiking and trail running. When you are in the process of decision making whether to get hiking boots or trail runners consider few things. It will help you make a good investment.

There is a few difference between both the footwear.

Space and Weight

Hiking boots or shoes are heavier and tend to weigh up to 2 lbs. or maybe more depending on the design. They occupy space in your backpack.

Trail runners are lightweight. They usually weigh between 1 to 2 lbs. People who opt for a lighter option, choose trail runners. It reduces fatigue because there is less effort in lifting your foot. Trail runners are more compact. They provide you ease and flexibility.


Hiking shoes are made up of a thicker material. They do not provide much of a wiggle room. If your hike is shorter with a light backpack then a snug fit is good to wear. But if the hike is long and you are carrying a heavy pack on your back, get a pair half size larger. This will help to push your arches of the feet flat while you have the additional weight from the backpack. You need spacing for your feet to expand. It may feel restrictive.

In running shoes, flexible material offers more stretch to have a better range of movement. The narrower sole makes you feel the rocks beneath you. It will cause you pain after hiking for a long day.


Hiking shoes are usually waterproof. They are designed to keep water out from leaking in. However, they require a longer time to dry out as compared to running shoes.

If your trail is full of puddles, or you sweat a lot, trail runners are breathable. They have a mesh lining, which dries up your feet quickly and increases the breathability. But they are not much waterproof.

Longevity and Toughness

If you are looking in terms of long-lasting quality, hiking boots are the answer. They are made up of sturdier material and lasts up to 1000 miles. The outsole of many hiking shoes can be replaced which means you resole it for more usage.

Being ultralight, running shoes usually last not more than 6 months. Replace them after every 500 miles to prevent your feet from injuries.


Hiking shoes provide more support. They are specially designed for stronger ankle support. If you carry a heavy backpack over a rough trail, use hiking boots for solid foot support. The sole is thick that provides more grip.

While this factor is missing from trail running shoes. It is due to their lightweight sole. The minimalistic design decreases its stability.

Weather Check

Hiking boots are good for cold weather. They are good for autumn and winters.

Running shoes are more suitable for hotter climate.


Hiking boots offer a rough grip with a thicker sole. They grip well on many kinds of surfaces.

Trail runners offer less grip. They have a narrower sole. You may find some running shoes having a good grip feature.

Difference between Hiking Shoes and Trail Runners

Usually HeavierLightweight
Less breathableMore breathability
Durability is highLast up to 6 months
Good foot supportLess supportive
Mostly insulated Not much insulation
Good gripLess grip

When to select Hiking Shoes?

If you need more support and protection, choose hiking shoes. A stable hiking boot is needed if you carry a heavy backpack and your weight is heavier too. The soles are more durable. Thick and cushioned soles will serve you better and prevent foot injuries and spraining your ankles. Hiking boots are waterproof and insulated. Other factors to decide on are:

  • If you want a heavy-duty finish so that your boots last longer.
  • If you want just one pair of shoes to wear all seasons
  • Good traction for rough trails
  • To prevent footfall with a good sole

When to select Running Shoes?

Running or trail shoes are for trail or road running. They are super lightweight to ensure maximum performance. This makes you quick on the trail and provides more flexibility. The sole of a running shoe is softer. They will not be able to protect you from debris and other damages. They also do not have good ankle support. You end up spraining your ankle. The sole of trail runners is narrower that means you will not be tripping from the ground. If you run in an area where the climate is dry then you will prefer more breathable shoes so that your foot can sweat in.


Look into all the factors before switching your footwear. It is your decision at the end of the day. If are a newbie then mostly it is recommended to get footwear that is made for a specific purpose.

Hiking shoes can be used for running but they are not specifically designed for that purpose. If you are new to running, choose a pair that is made for a specific purpose.