So you want to start hiking, wondering if your running shoes can serve the purpose, or maybe you just feel sticking to running shoes is more comfortable. Whichever is the case, you should know that running shoes are not hiking shoes in any way. However, that does not mean they are a no-no.
Actually, lots of running shoes are good for short hikes. The issue is knowing which one is good for a long hike session that may last for as long as four hours or more. Read on to learn more about running shoes and where they stand in hiking as an activity.
Running Shoes Natural Make
Running shoes are designed to provide comfort and support for those who engage in running activities. They are typically lighter than hiking boots and have less cushioning and support. However, they are also good on the trails.
If you think about it, you barely have any issues running on untarred tracks once in a while. Therefore, it is possible to find a running shoe that offers nice comfort for hiking than some hiking boots, particularly on shorter hikes or on trails with less elevation change
Running shoes also tend to be more breathable than boots, which can be important in hot weather. While they may not provide as much support and protection as hiking boots, running shoes can be a good option for comfortable, lightweight footwear on the trail. Based on experience, if you’re just going on a short trail run or taking a leisure stroll through the park, Running Shoes are perfectly fine
The Main Differences Between Hiking Shoes and Running Shoes
Running and hiking shoes may look similar, but they are designed for different activities. Running shoes are designed for speed and agility, while hiking shoes are built for comfort and stability. Here are some other key differences:
- Running shoes have a narrower heel, which helps to prevent wobbling and provides a more comfortable fit. Hiking shoes have wider heels for greater stability on uneven terrain.
- Running shoes have more cushioned soles to absorb the impact of running on hard surfaces. They are also light and help to enhance the easy lifting of the legs. Hiking shoes have sturdier soles to protect your feet from rocks and roots when you’re out on the trail.
- Running shoes typically have less arch support than hiking shoes. This is because runners usually have higher arches, which don’t require as much support. Hiking shoes have more arch support to prevent fatigue when you’re walking long distances.
- Running shoes are often made with lighter-weight materials to reduce their overall weight. Hiking shoes are typically made with heavier-weight materials to provide durability and protection against the elements.
- Running shoes also have a more curved shape to encourage forward motion, while hiking shoes are flatter to provide stability on uneven terrain.
So one of the most important observations about running shoes for hiking is that they are not ideal for long hiking because their reinforcement, which gives comfort, may not hold up for long. However, they are quite okay for short hike sessions, lasting from 2 to 3 hours. It is clear that most of them are not also the best for steep surfaces.
The Best Running Shoes for Hiking
ALTRA Olympus 5 Hike Mid Trail Running Shoe
ALTRA Men's AL0A7R6Q Olympus 5 Mid GTX Trail Running Shoe, Brown - 12 M US
Altra has been in the sneaker business for a long time and is well-known for designing some of the highest-quality running shoes. However, designing a running shoe that is also great for hiking is a move that has quite pulled off. Recall we explained that most running shoes offer only comfort and durability for short hikes. Altra ensures that is not the case with his Olympus running hike shoe. This footwear can serve as a medium trail hike. Thanks to its special make, you can cover up to 10 miles on even and uneven terrain with this design.
A close look at this shoe highlights Altra’s masterpiece in the business. Its exterior is made with soft yet durable leather that can handle different weather and conditions. The inside is no different, as it is comfortable during a hike. The insole is specially designed to offer a high level of comfort, similar to memory foam. However, it is much more long-lasting than memory foam which will definitely compress in less than 10 miles of walking.
Altra’s best work for this shoe is more evident in the midsole down to the outsole. If you look at the bottom design, you can see that it is slightly bent at the toe and the heel to keep them from receiving direct impact when on the trail. So, even when walking on trails with lots of pebbles, your toes and heels, which are your sole’s two most vulnerable areas, do not feel any direct impact.
Also, the outsole is designed with high-quality rubber and is heavily reinforced for all terrains. Combine it with Altra InnerFlex midsole Technology, and you will enjoy one of the most soothing walks with increased flexibility and high performance. The dimension of this shoe is 14.33 x 10.004 xc 5.2 inches. It weighs 2.45 pounds.
ALTRA Women’s Lone Peak Hiker Running Shoe
ALTRA Women's AL0A4VR8 Lone Peak Hiker Trail Running Shoe, Ice Flow Blue - 8 M US
This Altra running shoe is another special model designed for female hikers who love the trail but are not enthusiastic about wearing heavy hike boots. The aesthetics of this shoe shows all the signature qualities Altra running shoes are known for. Moreover, it is a special brand different from the normal Altra running shoe. The exterior is breathable leather and feels just as good on the feet. The inner covering of the leather is not hard on the leg and offers high-level comfort for a smooth hike.
The insole also enhances comfort due to the Special Altra EGO Foam included in this shoe. This foam makes walking on the trail fun and less tiring and helps hikers to maintain high energy. The foam is long-lasting, so you will enjoy its effects in helping you push forward on the trail.
The focus on the midsole is another reason why we choose this running shoe as suitable for hiking. It offers balanced cushioning and FootShape toe boxes that help spread your toes and reduce possible tension from building in them after a long hike. The boxes also encourage proper low-impact form throughout your run.
Moving from the midsole to the outsole, it only gets better with the company MaxTrac outsole and a special multi-directional trail claw lug pattern for a better grip on the surface. Surface grip is essential on the trail, especially if you are walking in a tricky plane or steep elevation. Altra understands this and significantly limits the risk of injury by reinforcing this shoe outsole with one of the best lug patterns.
Altra women hiking shoes are weather-resistant, making them perfect for all elements you can think of. This feature is known as the Weather-Resistant eVent and improves the protection of your feet when hiking in winter and other very wet conditions.
The dimension of this shoe is 12.44 x 8.66 x 4.61 inches. It weighs 1.63 pounds, making it the perfect lightweight and heavily reinforced shoe for a female hiker.
Xero Shoes Women’s TerraFlex Trail Running & Hiking Shoe
Xero Shoes Women's TerraFlex Lightweight Trail Running & Hiking Shoe - Zero Drop,Black,6
Xero Shoes is a quality women running shoe that is designed for the trail as well. This footwear has its own special qualities and is great on rough surfaces due to the natural feel it offers. Xero running and hiking shoe is designed with breathable polyester on the exterior and is fitted with a special TerraFlex inside for a very comfortable walk. Many customers have commented that the shoe fits and holds the legs well, reducing injury risk and irritating looseness. This particular feature is also excellent because of the rough and steep terrain you will encounter when hiking.
The sole is quite unique as it has a non-elevated build. Of course, this means that both the toe and heel do not enjoy the advantage of not heavily touching the ground compared to Altra models. However, the sole is heavily reinforced and can decrease the sensation impact of stepping on pebbles or misstepping. It has an embedded 3mm BareFoam that offers good protection for the entire sole.
The good thing about the non-elevated sole is that it offers the benefit of proper posture, which protects your knees from injury vulnerability. It allows better balance even on steep terrains and helps you maintain a relatively fast pace. Xero Shoes is lightweight, and a size 7 weighs as small 8.2 ounces, so hiking with it is actually much simpler compared to normal hiking boots, which are often heavier.
Another reason you could consider patronizing the running shoe is that it is Vegan Friendly. Xero Shoes, as a company, believes in promoting healthy & sustainable lifestyles, and as such, its TerraFlex product is not designed from any animal products.
Salomon Speedcross 5 Trail Shoes
Salomon Speedcross 5 Trail Running Shoes for Men, Black/Black/Phantom, 10.5
1 used from $76.28
Salomon Trail running shoes are designed for medium-length hiking for a particular session. That is, it’s great for up to 10 miles of hiking in a single go. It can last a year or two if maintained and often used on even trails or those with few obvious elevations. This information is based on the reviews of customers.
The three major standout features of this footwear is an aggressive grip on surfaces, proper and precise foothold and high-level protection for most trails. Realistically, it is an ideal choice for technical trains because of its nice grip. However, it is not the best for bushy or very rough terrains.
Salomon running shoes are designed with deep and sharp lugs that offer excellent grip and balance, which is great even on wet and dirty terrains. Made with soft insoles and an embracing midsole, it is very comfortable enough to go the distance.
The shoe is designed with polyester and has a comfortable inside fitting, while its sole is made of rubber. Its average dimension is about 9 x 13 x 5 inches, and it weighs 11.29 Ounces, so you do not have to sweat too much about weight as that is already covered to a really good extent.
As a final note, Salomon is not just designed for average hiking. It will work for you even if you are an avid hiker who loves to walk intensely. It is also perfect for other activities apart from hiking and running. It is great for Mountaineering, backpacking and any other activity that involves you using your feet.
Advice on Running Shoes for Hikes
So, if you’re looking for a new pair of shoes for your next run or hike, be sure to choose the right shoe for the activity. This guide has fully considered some top running shoes you can try for better comfort. These Shoes may not be natural hiking footwear, but they can serve as secondary wear. They offer an excellent level of balance, are great for some steep elevations and offer really good protection for your sole.
However, an important fact you must hold dear is that running shoes are not exactly hiking shoes. Their primary purpose is to serve as running footwear, and this is why they are much lighter than hiking shoes or boots. A running shoe won’t provide the perfect stability and support you need when hiking.
It may try and actually really work fine that you won’t need a hiking shoe, but you may be among those that may actually figure that it doesn’t feel perfect. This is understandable, as even hiking shoes can be too heavy and clunky for running when the role is reversed. So in the end, it mostly boils down to choice. No matter what type of shoe you choose, always make sure it’s comfortable and fits well before hitting the trail or pavement.
Finally, when choosing footwear for a hike, selecting a shoe that is comfortable and offers the right level of support is important. Running shoes may be fine for short hikes on well-groomed trails, but a hiking shoe will provide a better fit and performance for longer treks or rougher terrain.