If you are looking for the best trail running shoes for hiking, then take note of these top picks. They boast lots of cushioning to absorb shock and hard edges that grip slippery surfaces like rocks and mud, so they’re great at climbing on rugged terrain.
Hiking is a great low-impact exercise. Research reveals it provides multiple mental and physical benefits. From preventing osteoporosis to reducing anxiety, hiking is an outdoor activity offering benefits beyond fun and scenic.
When setting up for a hiking, trekking trip, or rocky mountain runs, you might need food, a map, a flashlight, sunscreen, a compass, and other stuff. But the most important thing you want is a pair of trail running shoes for hiking. The shoes you wear for your hiking can ultimately make or break your trip.
The Best Trail Running Shoes for Hiking In 2023
Whether you are a veteran athlete or love to run for fun, having a reliable running shoe will make your hiking a pleasant experience.
There are different types of sneakers for hiking to pick from; backpacking boots, day hiking boots, day hiking shoes, and trail running shoes. In this article, we rounded up the best trail runners for hiking, hard-hitting rocky roads, dirty pavements, local trails, and muddy hikes.
Trail running shoes offer various unique advantages compared to other styles of running shoes. Trail running shoes are lightweight and very breathable. They cushion your feet from rocks and roots and include sticky grooves on the outsoles to provide traction on the path. Some people prefer trail runners when trekking since they offer a relaxed and cozy feeling.
Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Running Shoes
This model is outstanding because it encompasses maximum traction maintained by a thick midsole, yet its weight is extremely feathery. The shoe handles unpredicted rugged terrains with ultimate responsiveness and flexibility.
Moreover, the shoe is equipped with a gripping outsole that makes the shoe features the best traction a shoe can offer on a slippery surface. The sneaker comes with lugs, a tacky Vibram, and a Megagrip rubber, which keeps runners stable during the run. The shoe’s creators have recently added a sturdy tongue that reinforces stability. Besides, the shoe is highly breathable and comfy.
Topo Athletic Women’s Ultraventure Trail Running Shoes
This footwear model has been tailored to render a natural performance due to its excessive traction that gives a barefoot-like experience. The model is supplemented with spaced lugs that make the shoe encounter the road and prevent the road’s abrasive elements from destroying its construction.
The shoe’s impressive durability makes it a perfect choice for professional runners who go on long rides regularly. Moreover, the model is equipped with an EVA midsole that makes runners run smoothly throughout the gait cycle. The high-end cushioning makes the sneaker the best kick for everyday running. The model feathers Ultralight materials and a well-ventilated upper section. In addition, The foam collar gives extra security and prevents wobbling. The shoe comes with a 5mm heel-to-toe drop.
ALTRA Men’s Lone Peak 5 Trail Running Shoe
This model comes with a super comfy cushioning system and lightweight construction. According to experts, this model suits minimalists perfectly. Numerous users admired the sneaker’s wide toe-box, making the shoe feel flat and adaptive. That is why the model best serves runners with wide feet. Moreover, the shoe is marked by its effective drainage capabilities. The shoe is recommended for both forefoot and midfoot strikers.
Moreover, the shoe offers a removable Ortholite insole. The laces of this shoe can’t be untied. The model is designed with excellent arch support and gives a cutting-edge under-foot experience. It is also distinguished by its breathable upper that quashes moisture and keeps the foot clean throughout the run.
SCARPA Spin Ultra Running Shoe
This model has gained positive recognition among runners as it comes with a Megagrip outsole that renders reliable traction on varied roads. In terms of breathability, the model incorporates a Micro-nubuck technology and mesh upper that allows ample airflow to clean the feet during the ride.
The sneaker does a perfect job during long rides. It comes with the upgraded TPU Insert Midsole and 6mm heel-to-toe drop. The model renders an ideal fit as it wraps around the feet snugly owing to its Sock-Fit LW construction. In addition, the sneaker has an EVA midsole that adds a plush spark to the ride.
ALTRA Men’s AL0A4PE5 Lone Peak 4.5 Trail Running Shoe
These men’s trail running shoes are trustworthy. In addition, they included a 5 mm Contour Footbed. EVA is double-layered to add more padding. The outsole of the shoe has TrailClaw and MaxTrac Rubber to provide traction. The top part fits around the feet like a glove. Unrestricted freedom exists in the footbed for perfect toe splay. The model’s robust design makes it worthy of the funds allocated.
In the FootShapeTM toe box, the toes have enough room to spread out. For enhanced comfort, the collar and tongue have been padded. The GaiterTrapTM tablets are a supplement that boosts security. The model weighs roughly 10.5 oz and is slender (298 g).
Merrell Men’s Moab 2 GTX Vent Hiking Shoe
This sneaker is designed with a single intent – to give hikers overall comfort. A vast number of runners have commended the waterproof construction. The model is extremely supportive and does not require runners to stop for break periods. The heels contain the upgraded Merrell’s Air Cushion technology that is added to give runners breathability and comfort throughout the run. The shoe comes with a contoured arch and raised heel cup for extra support.
The Gore-Tex membrane and bellows tongue are tailored to prevent runners from slippage. A plethora of runners lauded the model’s lacing system and eyelets.
Salomon X Ultra 3 Gore Tex – Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes
This is the best heavy-duty trail running shoe for hiking as it is very suitable for long distance hikes. This 100% synthetic model has a rubber sole that displays impressive traction. In addition, the model has water-resisting capabilities that drain water and mud and make the run comfortable. During the coldest winter days, the shoe handles hikes ideally as it is supplemented with the X Ultra 3 Gore technology. The model’s Contagrip’s traction is enough alone to make it praiseworthy.
You won’t need to have several break periods with this sneaker. The manufacturers have upgraded the model by increasing the arch and heel support to keep runners steadily headed out. With the sneaker’s sole, you don’t need to worry about your safety as it comes with 5 mm multi-angular lugs. The upper part features a hardy toe cap that wraps around the foot snugly. Besides, a wide range of runners praised the model’s Quicklace system which helps runners tie the shoe in no time.
Saucony Women’s Peregrine 10 Trail Running Shoes – Best Budget Hiking Shoes
These women’s trail runners come with a water-resisting technology that sheds mud and water away. So, this sneaker is your best pal if you want to go on a long ride in the rain. The shoe is distinguished by its stabilizing technology, which eliminates knee and calf pain. With this pal, you won’t worry about falling or slipping during the ride. Numerous runners have praised the grip of this model. The outsole of the model is designed with the PWRTRAC rubber. The shoe contains a removable foam footbed to increase cushion and smooth the ride.
Moreover, the Gore-TEx Invisible Fit Technology renders maximized traction. The FORM-FIT design helps the foot deal with uneven terrains. The shoe is lightweight and comfy since a wide range of runners commended the model for being soft against the skin. It weighs 11.3 oz for men and 9.9 oz for women. The sneaker comes with a 4mm heel-to-toe drop and is recommended for wet, rocky, snowy, muddy, and dirty terrains.
Brooks Cascadia 15 Running Shoes
The upper section features a well-ventilated mesh that is versatile and flexible. The model is supplemented with a traditional lacing system and discreet eyelets for maximized stability. According to users, the shoe is tailored with high-end materials that remain durable for long periods. The midsole comes with vibrant, eye-popping colors.
The underfoot experience is impressive as this 8mm drop shoe is designed to protect the underfoot section. There is a rock plate coverage in the midsole, which gives the foot ample protection. The sneaker excels at handling uneven rugged terrains, especially ones with scattered rocks. This model has a high energy return, and the outsole is equipped with full coverage of blown rubber. The added Engineered mono-loop mesh and 3D Fit Print maintain the fit.
Salomon Sense Ride 3 Running Shoes
This shoe has a tight lockdown system and a wide toe box for the toes to move about freely. It suits everyday running as it is distinguished by having impressive durability. The shoe will give you confidence and help you feel surefooted no matter where you run.
The heel counter and lockdown system make the model too sturdy and flexible. Moreover, the shoe is deemed affordable for average buyers. The shoe features a ground filter and a grippy outsole for extra stability. This model is designed to fit the exact size of the feet and flexibly handles varied terrains. This shoe’s sock-like fit makes you wish to keep running all day.
ALTRA Men’s AL0A4VQB Superior 4.5
ALTRA AL0A4VQB Superior 4.5 is the best zero drop trail running shoe for hiking. The sneaker features a seamless wrap-around engineered knit and MaxTrac Rubber with TrailClaw for a perfect grip around the feet. The insole comprises a 6 mm Contour Footbed with a removable StoneGuard. The model’s heel-to-toe drop is 0mm, which makes running excessively comfy. It has a wide forefoot and a foot-shaped design. The sneaker is equipped with extra insoles to be embedded underneath the regular ones for an extra shield.
Regarding the weight, the sneaker weighs about 8.9 oz / 252 g. The model comprises gaiter attachments both in front and back. However, some runners indicated that the shoe does not provide enough ventilation. Some even mentioned that the model is difficult to clean after muddy rides.
Salomon Men’s Xa Pro 3D V8 GTX Trail Running Shoes
This feathery model has a seamless upper and soft material that makes hiking a smooth experience. The sneaker is tailored with the geometry of 3D chassis technology that maintains stability and protection throughout the ride.
The midsole keeps runners stable throughout the ride from landing to toe-off. The model caters to a wide range of foot sizes and fits the exact size of the feet. It displays great shock attenuation and smooth heel-to-toe transition.
La Sportiva Bushido 2
The shoe is designed for long walks since it has an ortho-lite sock liner in the footbed that generates comfort throughout the hike. It features an upgraded rubber toe cap, burlier upper, and compression-molded EVA midsole. The stiff construction and low-slung design allow it to power through rugged terrains, making this shoe suitable for hiking and trekking trips.
The external lugs are added to make the shoe super versatile, whereas the Frixion red double is included to render an easy landing. The shoe rolls onto the feet snugly because of its TPU skeleton. You won’t be disappointed when you try this shoe when you experience the effect of its compressed EVA technology and stability control system. The shoe provides a confidence-inspiring feel and a fast-moving running experience.
Salomon Speedcross 5
Although the Speedcross 5 is not the best choice for muddy trails, it has been known as one of the best trail running shoes for hiking. Salomon has its own powerful cushioning technology (Named EnergyCell). It helps the wearer to run and walk miles and miles on trails. In addition, the shoe features grippy traction on all terrain which makes the shoe a perfect choice for hikers.
It comes with ankle-support features and a midsole cup, making hiking easy. According to reviewers, the shoe doesn’t let you feel the impact of the ride no matter how hard the strikes get. The lockdown system of the model has been carefully designed to keep the feet well-locked during the hike. The model is tailored to give a sock-like feel.
Benefits of Hiking
Hiking outdoors has many benefits: natural smells and sounds, fresh air, and nice views. Hiking is an effective cardio exercise that can:
- Strengthen your core.
- Boost your mood.
- Boost bone density, as walking is a weight-bearing workout.
- Reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Improve balance.
- Improve blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
- Build strength in your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and the muscles in your lower legs and hips.
- Help control your weight.
What Are the Perks of Best Trail Running Shoes for Hiking?
Trail running shoes have several advantages over hiking boots:
- Trail running footwear is less bulky than boots. This makes them suitable for the thru-hikers and peak-baggers out there who are seeking to make treks with minimum gear and maximum speed.
- Wet feet will dry out faster, whether from rain, sweat, or river crossings, as trail running are breathable.
- They are much lighter than boots’, so they are pretty easy to pack if you are planning for a trip to do some hiking.
- Trail running sneakers are more suitable for city wear than hiking boots. However, some are made with city wear in mind so that they could be a much more functional piece of gear.
Buying Guide: What are the Specifications of the Best Hiking Running Shoes?
When choosing hiking shoes, look out for nine things:
Slippage Resistance: Whether you run during winter or summer, you are always liable to slip and fall. Therefore, a good pair of running sneakers must resist slippage. You can buy a shoe with supportive lugs to ensure you won’t encounter this problem. Besides, a shoe that prevents slippage always maintains a snug wrap around the foot.
Related article: best durable running shoes for flat feet people
Traction: Traction refers to the connection between your shoes and the road you are running on. To avoid injuries and wobbling, you need to purchase a shoe with sturdy lugs and rubber cleats to keep yourself in perfect connection with the asphalt. This high, claw-like traction is one of the most pros of practical running sneakers.
Comfortability: Hiking is challenging, especially when weather conditions are not convenient. Therefore, you should keep your foot wrapped inside a cozy home. Your midsole, outsole, insole, and toe-box must feel plush and adaptive to keep pain at bay. Don’t let the model’s looks deceive you and let you compromise practicality.
Drainage: As mentioned before, running in the rain or the mud requires a waterproof model. Otherwise, water will start amassing inside your shoe, making your ride completely uncomfortable. Water can wreak havoc on your performance and even harm your skin by drying the necessary oils off. Moreover, waterproof shoes are more durable than traditional shoes and are easier to clean.
Elasticity: A flexible shoe moves in conjunction with your foot and helps you deal with any hardships you encounter with ease, improving your running performance and making you enjoy your journey.
Robustness: Buying a durable shoe will save you heaps of money in the long term. Durable sneakers remain functioning for a long time. No matter what risks you face, everything will be easy if your pal is sturdy enough. Otherwise, you will lose your shoe and search for another after a few months. Therefore, don’t hesitate to invest in a high-end running model if it is durable enough.
Acting against Debris: Opt for a sneaker that sheds dirt, mud, and rocks is advisable. If the debris penetrates your shoes, you risk getting injured or deteriorating your performance.
Lightweight: Make sure that your shoe does not weigh heavily not to feel like you run carrying a heavy burden, which will decrease your running pace and hold you back. Running with a feathery shoe will help you feel fresh throughout the run from the start to the very end.
Support: According to experts, running with supported arches and heels reduces your need for having breaks while running. Moreover, a supportive shoe will attenuate shocks instead of your feet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most asked questions about running shoes for hiking
What are trail running shoes?
These shoes are mainly manufactured as jogging shoes that can ease the impact of rough and rugged terrain on your feet. They also offer protection and comfort for your whole foot.
Can I wear trail running shoes for hiking?
Yes, trial runners are an excellent option for hiking, and experienced backpackers and hikers always suggest it. They can offer you the experience of comfort and lightness of running shoes while hiking. Trial sneakers are engineered stiffer for uneven ground. Likewise, the bottom part is too stiffer to carry out better on rough, rocky surfaces. If you hike in trail running shoes, your feet will not be loose, and sharp rocks will not stress your toes.
What makes a trail running shoe for hiking fitting?
Stack and drop: This is about the height of the insole and how far it lies away from the ground. If you are a beginner, experts recommend buying a shoe with a low heel-to-toe drop to be closer to the terrain as much as possible. This will help you handle uneven roads or unstable hikes without injuries.
Flexibility: Having a versatile shoe is highly important for your shoe to adapt to your foot’s motion without bothering you. You will never handle hard-hitting roads or obstacles without the flexibility option because your shoe will feel too firm.
Versatility: Running requires flexibility so that the athlete can adapt to the terrain’s irregular challenges. Flexibility is necessary to protect the ankles and avoid rolling for added stability.
Why having a roomy toe box is essential?
The toe room is the home where the toes remain during the run, and it lies at the front part of the shoe. A spacious toe box allows your toes to flex freely without pain. Runners who have wide feet are the ones that need this option the most. Moreover, the wide toe box makes your feet enjoy a barefoot-like experience. A narrow toe box is one of the most annoying things that can make your ride too painful.
Is having a waterproof shoe necessary for hiking?
Yes, if you are embarking on a rainy trail, waterproofing will play a starring role in keeping you protected because running with a wet foot is no picnic for any runner. Having water within your shoe may cause you to suffer from bacterial infections. However, you will never need a waterproof shoe during summer because it will heat your feet.
Are cushioned-heel shoes good for me?
Not all runners need intensive cushioning; forefoot and midfoot strikers don’t need too much cushioning. Although cushioning is essential for a plush run, overdoing it can make your shoe too loose, making you unstable while running. It would help if you felt stable during the run because you will encounter myriad unpredicted strikes and rocks, requiring an athletic sneaker to handle them.
Can we use road running shoes for hiking?
Yes, but it is not recommended. Road running shoes aren’t manufactured to be worn for uneven rocky terrains. They are designed to be flexible and suitable for running on firm and smooth ground.
Can I hike in boots?
Hiking boots can be used for your trips, but they are heavy. They offer excellent protection from snakebites, the cold, and even injury. Nevertheless, the new materials of running shoes, fabrics, and designs make classical hiking boots outdated.
Finally, this article rounded up the best trail running shoes for hiking, as experts and experienced runners recommended. You can run with confidence and trust with the recommended models we provide. To find your best kick, you must consider your running style and the conditions you run in. We wish you a pleasant hike full of energy and fun.