Can I Hike in my Running Shoes?

Planning to leave the pavement behind and hit the hills for a hike? When runners hike, hiking boots often seem like overkill while running shoes shine as a light, comfortable alternative. But is hiking in running shoes really safe? Of course, the difficulty of the hike commands the ruggedness of the boot and the toughest boot isn’t always necessary, but neither do gym shoes usually suffice.

According to Outside Magazine’s Gear Guy, you better watch your step hiking in your running shoes. Can I Hike in Running Shoes? While many hiking boots may be so much beast that they’re a burden, don’t be tempted to hike in even your trail shoes.

Gear Guy recommends a light hiker instead. He says, “These days they’re nearly as comfortable as a trail runner, and that extra support can pay off. Asolo makes a nice non-Gore-Tex shoe called the Echo ($135), a fabric-and-leather hiker with just enough stiffness through the sole to protect your feet from sharp rocks and the like. Montrail’s Torre ($125; www.montrail.com) is another good choice—a little more leather than the Echo, and a little stiffer shank.”

March 1, 2006. Sneakers, Trail Shoes.