Hiking Shoes vs. Trail Running Shoes

Exploring a new trail can be part of a fun family fitness plan for individuals who enjoy being outdoors. Fitness doesn’t have to be limited to a gym or health club. Taking your workouts outside can be invigorating for those looking for a change in routine to prevent burn-out and boredom. Having the right kind of footwear can help you enjoy the trails more comfortably.

Hiking shoes are generally made of thicker fabrics such as leather to help protect the foot from debris. The bottoms are thicker than regular shoes and have multi-directional lugs to help aid in traction on a variety of surfaces. Hiking shoes often come up higher on the foot than traditional shoes to help protect the ankles from getting scratched from thorny vines and tree roots. The hiking shoe generally has a waterproofing coating on the fabric to help keep your feet dry during muddy and rainy hikes. The shoe itself weighs more than a regular shoe and due to all of the extra protection it provides. Hiking shoes are made to walk in and to move at a slower pace but supportive enough to be comfortable on your feet for the day. 

Trail running shoes are similar to the hiking shoe but are made for speed!  The shoe is much lighter and similar to the weight of a regular fitness shoe. The bottom of the shoe has multi-directional lugs but usually less aggressive lugs than the hiking shoe or boot. The support can vary depending on your personal preferences. You can wear a minimalist trail running shoe which has minimal support or a full cushion trail running shoe for maximum support and comfort.

Most trail running shoes have a rock plate on the bottom in the forefoot region to protect your foot from sharp rocks and tree roots as you are running. The fabrics are often much thinner and similar to a traditional running shoe.  Many are coated with environmental protective treated fabrics to make them repel mud and water. Trail running shoes have a lower profile, like a regular running shoe, and normally fit below the ankle. Trail runners who need extra protection from the elements can attach gaiters to their shoes for added protection against dirt, rocks, sand, and other debris. 

One of the famous exercise quotes about taking the road less traveled is appreciated by hikers and trail runners alike. Both have mastered the fat burning secrets of the trail, using more muscles on uneven surfaces and burning more calories than their road running friends. If you want to try trail running and are looking for a trail recommendation near you, contact fitness associates in your region or connect with local trail running groups mentioned in fitness articles from your area. Hiking and trail running can be enjoyed by all ages and all fitness levels.

If you are interested in taking the next step in your fitness career today, just click the link below and learn what it takes to become a running fitness coach!

Running Coach Certification


Back to blog