Trail running shoes vs hiking boots

Which are better: trail running shoes or hiking shoes?

There are many ways to stay active and improve your cardiovascular health. Some people prefer to hit the trails for a leisurely stroll through the woods, while others like to pick up the pace and run along the trail. Both of these activities can improve your health and introduce you to nature, which has its own benefits.

But if you’re looking to be more active on the hiking trails, you need to find the type of shoe that’s right for your particular adventure. Trail running shoes have a tread level appropriate enough to grip more than just a paved road. Hiking boots, on the other hand, offer thicker, more durable support and are often waterproof.

Trail running shoes

Trail running shoes are low profile shoes used for running longer distances with sudden elevation level changes. They grip well on rough and twisty running trails in the wilderness. These shoes allow you to focus on the cardio aspect of trail running. Several shoe manufacturers make models that are suitable for both men and women.

Trail Running Shoe Pros

Trail running shoes have great traction and are very comfortable. They keep your feet firmly hooked to the trail, no matter the terrain. These shoes also offer arch support and fit just below the ankle to provide a full range of motion. You can run with confidence on sidewalks, streets or gravel trails with this style of shoe.

The disadvantages of trail running shoes

These shoes are designed for running on well-maintained hiking trails, so if you’re planning on going all-terrain, you’ll want something a little different. And while they are weatherproof, very few are waterproof. Also, if you are running somewhere with tall grass or other tall foliage, grass and leaves can easily get into your shoes due to the low profile.

The Best Trail Running Shoes

Salomon Sense Ride 3 GTX

These trail running shoes are perfect for women who need all-terrain grip. They have rubber soles and are weather resistant.

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Salomon Speedcross 4 Gore-Tex

Salomon Speedcross 4 Gore-Tex

This model is ideal for those who like to run on all types of terrain. You can move comfortably through the streets or trails in these lightweight, cushioned shoes.

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Saucony Versafoam Excursion Tr13

Saucony Versafoam Excursion Tr13

These have a triangular lug outsole to provide the traction you need on various terrains. They have a cushioned sole that allows you to run comfortably over short and long distances..

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hiking boots

Hiking boots are designed to be tough, durable and maintain good traction on the hiking trail. They have extra heel and ankle support to keep you stable. There are several models of hiking shoes for men and women that allow you to move easily in various environments. Hiking boots tend to have a little more support and coverage, especially due to mid-rise uppers that cover the ankle bone and prevent debris from entering the boot. These features protect your feet and help prevent injuries on and off the trail.

The pros of hiking boots

The advantage of using hiking shoes is that they provide great protection for your feet. With these boots you can walk through puddles, snow, mud and even venture a little off the beaten path. They ride high enough on the foot and ankle to keep grass, dirt and small rocks out. Hiking boots are also usually waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about wet socks and potential blisters if it starts raining during your hike.

Hiking shoes against

This style of boot is very durable. And they can weigh too much if you’re just going on a flat park trail or walking on paved roads. Also, since these aren’t running shoes, they don’t allow you the same kind of full mobility as low-top shoes.

The best hiking shoes

Keen Voyageur Women's Mid-Cut Hiking Boots

Keen Voyageur Women’s Mid-Cut Hiking Boots

These shoes feature a sturdy design and use mesh and leather to keep your feet dry. They perform well on all kinds of terrain, including mud, rocks, and uneven surfaces.

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Merrel Moab 2 Vent for women

Merrel Moab 2 Vent for women

These hiking shoes have synthetic soles and can be used on and off the trails. Many users have reported that these also have great arch support.

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Keen Men's Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

Keen Men’s Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

These are comfortable to wear for long-distance hikes, and some users have said they help relieve foot pain. They are durable and useful for all terrains.

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Columbia Men's Redmond Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

Columbia Men’s Redmond Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

These hiking shoes use Omni-grip technology, which provides excellent traction on all surfaces. You can wear them in rocky and difficult conditions or on an open path.

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Should you buy trail running shoes or hiking boots?

It depends on how active you plan to be. If you want to run long distances on designated trails, you will get the most out of trail running shoes. However, if you want to start hiking in the woods or in the mud, you will need hiking shoes. They are both useful for their own particular adventure.

If you’re trying to decide between hiking or running, consider your current level of fitness and wellness and your goals. Hiking and running are great for your health, but running requires a bit more agility and coordination. If you want to get into nature and hike, moving at a slower pace through the woods might be a better fit. Either way, both shoe styles can give you the grip and support you’ll need on the trail.

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Erica Redding writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

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