Are Training Shoes Good for Hiking?

When most people think of hiking, they picture themselves in a pair of sturdy boots.

But is this necessary? Some people might be wondering if training shoes are good for hiking.

The answer to that question is: It depends. There are pros and cons to using either type of shoe, so it’s important to understand the differences before deciding.

Are training shoes good for hiking?

Training shoes, also known as sneakers or running shoes, are designed to provide support and cushioning for people who run or exercise regularly.

They usually have thicker soles than other shoes, which helps absorb impact and protect the feet from injury.

Training shoes also typically have good arch support and breathability, which can be helpful for people with foot problems or who tend to sweat a lot.

But are training shoes good for hiking?

It depends on a few factors.

One of the biggest considerations is the terrain you’ll be hiking on.

Training shoes might be a good option if you’re planning to hike on even ground with well-maintained trails.

But if you’re going to be doing any off-trail hiking or hiking on rougher terrain, you might want to consider a different type of shoe.

Training shoes also don’t provide as much ankle support as other hiking shoes, so they might not be the best choice if you’re worried about twists or turns.

Tip: If you want to be safe, buy good hiking boots right away. In my other article, I explain what you need to look for when buying hiking boots.

Let us look at the differences between training shoes and hiking boots.

Hiking boots vs. training shoes

There are many options out there when it comes to choosing the right type of footwear for hiking.

I’m going to look at the pros and cons of hiking boots vs. training shoes.

Hopefully, this will help you decide which type of footwear is best for you.

Traction

One of the most important considerations when choosing footwear for hiking is traction.

Hiking boots typically have more aggressive tread patterns than training shoes, which gives them a better grip on slippery or loose surfaces.

On the other hand, training shoes have less tread and are more likely to slip on wet or icy surfaces.

So, if you’re going to be hiking in winter conditions or on trails with loose gravel, you might want to consider a boot with better traction.

Padding of soles

Another important consideration is the padding of the soles.

Hiking boots typically have more padding in the soles than training shoes, making them more comfortable to wear for long periods.

However, the extra padding can also make hiking boots feel heavier and less agile than training shoes.

If you’re planning on doing a lot of off-trail hiking or bushwhacking, you might want to consider a lighter shoe with less padding.

But if you’re sticking to well-maintained trails, the extra padding in hiking boots might not be a big deal.

Insole support

The insole is the removable piece of foam or other material you put in a shoe to provide extra cushioning and support.

Hiking boots typically have more supportive insoles than training shoes, which can be helpful if you have foot problems or want extra arch support.

However, you can usually buy aftermarket insoles to add extra support to any shoe.

So, if you’re happy with the support in your training shoes, you might not need to upgrade to hiking boots.

Ankle support

Ankle support is important, especially if you’re going to be doing any off-trail hiking.

Hiking boots typically have higher ankles than training shoes, which provides more support and stability on uneven terrain.

If you’re worried about twists or turns, a boot with good ankle support can help prevent injuries.

However, if you’re sticking to well-maintained trails, ankle support might not be as big of a concern.

Lockdown and lateral support

Lockdown is the term used to describe how well a shoe fits and supports your foot.

Hiking boots typically have more lockdown and lateral support than training shoes, which can be helpful if you have wide feet or high arches.

However, not all hiking boots are created equal.

Some brands make wider or narrower boots to accommodate different foot shapes.

So, if you’re concerned about fit, it’s important to try on a few different pairs of boots before buying.

Amount of flexibility in the shoe

Flexibility in a shoe is important for comfort and range of motion.

Training shoes are typically more flexible than hiking boots, making them more comfortable to wear for long periods.

The extra flexibility can also make training shoes feel less stable on uneven terrain.

Hiking on well-maintained trails in good weather conditions might not be a big deal.

But suppose you’re planning on doing any off-trail hiking or bushwhacking. In that case, you might want to consider a boot with less flexibility.

Blister prevention

Blisters are a common issue for hikers, especially on longer trips.

Hiking boots have more padding and support than training shoes, which can help prevent blisters.

But, the extra padding can also make hiking boots feel heavier and less agile than training shoes.

It depends on how the shoe fits your foot and what kind of socks you’re wearing.

If you’re prone to blisters, it might be worth trying a few different pairs of boots before buying them.

Tip: Solid hiking boots are a basic requirement for challenging hikes, but you still need some basic hiking equipment. Follow the link to read my article.

FAQs about training shoes for hiking

I will answer some common questions about training shoes for hiking.

Are Nike training shoes good for hiking?

Nike training shoes are not specifically designed for hiking, but they can be used for light hiking on well-maintained trails.

The extra padding and support might not be necessary, and the shoes might feel heavier than trail running shoes or day hikers.

If you’re planning on doing any off-trail hiking or bushwhacking, you might want to consider a different shoe.

Are cross-training shoes good for hiking?

You might be wondering if cross-training shoes are good for hiking.

The answer is yes and no.

Cross-training shoes are designed for various activities, including running, lifting weights, and playing tennis.

But hiking in sneakers or in cross-training shoes is not ideal because, the shoes are not specifically designed for hiking.

What are some good hiking shoes for a beginner?

For beginners, some good hiking shoes are:

  • The Adidas Terrex Swift R2
  • The Merrell Trail Glove 4
  • The Columbia Redmond

These shoes are designed for light to moderate hiking on well-maintained trails.

They have enough support and padding to prevent blisters and injuries, but they’re not too heavy or bulky.

If you’re starting, it’s important to find a shoe that’s comfortable and easy to hike in.

As you get more experienced, you can start trying different shoes with different features.

Things to know before buying training shoes

If you are looking to buy new shoes for your training regimen, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  1. Don’t pay up for the latest models: Technology in shoes changes rapidly, and the latest model is often not worth the price tag. 
  2. Look for sales: You can often find good deals on shoes if you wait for a sale.
  3. Check online reviews: Before you buy, it’s good to read online reviews of the shoes you’re considering.
  4. Try them on: It’s important to try on shoes before buying them. Even if you know your size, different brands can fit differently. Once you have the shoes on, walk around the store to see how they feel.
  5. Please do some research: It’s a good idea to read up on the different types of shoes before going to the store. You’ll know what features to look for and which ones you can live without.

Happy hiking!

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Hi, I'm Dave. I'm an avid outdoors and sports enthusiast who loves to share my passion with others. I publish the experiences I've gained over the years on Outdoormeta to give beginners helpful tips and bring people closer to the outdoors.

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