Can you Hike in Running Shoes?

Yes, you can hike in trail running shoes but not in road running shoes. Trail running shoes can be used for hiking because they are lightweight and comfortable. Road shoes do not perform well on hiking trail especially when the terrain is super technical. Running shoes are lighter in weight but heavier in cushioning especially for the heels & toe. Running shoes usually have a stiffer sole. You can wear running shoes only for road and trail running. They are not ideal for casual or everyday use. There are 2 different types of running shoes.

  1. Trail Running Shoes
  2. Road Running Shoes

Trail Running Shoes

Trail shoes provide a good grip along with a variety of internal & external features that will help protect your foot from rocks, root, and other elements. They are considered as a different sport to road running. They provide a good running experience with a good tread having built-in protection. Also, for beginner runners, they provide foot support & stability on uneven surfaces.


Deeper Lugs provide better traction on muddy terrain. They will give you more reliability, stability & efficiency.

Foot Protection

Trail running shoes have generally built-in protection. Rock plates give you the best support for feet. It supports your foot from any hard or major injury. It also Protects your toe for any unusual movement.

Road Running Shoes

Road running shoes are designed for wearing on daily activities like walking, jogging, gym, etc. They are lighter & flexible compared to trail shoes. Most people buy them because they are easy to use, lightweight, comfortable, and have a good basic design.


Road running shoes are flexible, easy to wear, to walk, to do jogging & do physical activities. People mostly prefer shoes, which they can wear in daily activities or schedules, not for occasional sessions or meet up. There are more variety of running shoes available compared to hiking shoes and boots.

Foot Protection

Road running shoes usually have a stiffer sole compared to trail shoes. They are comfortable to wear on the pavement but they may not be ideal for hiking or technical trail running.

Hiking in Running Shoes

Often people wear trail shoes for hiking when they want to go ultralight. If you are planning to go on serious backpacking, I would suggest that choose a pair that is made for backpacking. A pair of trail or road shoes may work for shorter trips but for longer and serious trips, they most likely to fail. If you are carrying a heavy backpack, durability and ankle support become a serious concern. For this, choose hiking boots only as they are durable and provide plenty of ankle support.


We conclude that we can hike in trail running shoes but not in road running shoes. Trail shoes are lightweight and are a good option when you want to go ultralight. They can also be used for thru-hiking and backpacking. On the other hand, road shoes are specifically designed for pavement and they are not as good as trail shoes for hiking.