If you’re considering whether or not to hike in your sneakers, the answer is probably no. But if you’re determined to give it a try, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Hiking shoes vs. sneakers
When you’re planning to hit the trails, the question of what footwear to choose can be tough. Hiking shoes or sneakers? Do you need something waterproof or breathable? With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know where to start.
Here’s a quick guide to help you decide whether sneakers or hiking shoes are the right choice for your next hike.
-Are designed for stability and traction on uneven terrain
-Have a higher ankle support to prevent rolled ankles
-Can be waterproof or water resistant
-Are often heavier than sneakers
-Are designed for traction and comfort on even surfaces
-Do not have as much ankle support as hiking shoes
-Can be breathable but are not usually waterproof or water resistant
-Are often lighter than hiking shoes
The benefits of sneakers for hiking
Assuming you’re talking about trail running shoes or light hikers, yes, sneakers are OK for hiking –- in fact, they might be the best choice for some hikes. Here are some reasons why:
Sneakers tend to be lighter weight than traditional hiking boots, so your legs won’t get as tired on a long hike. They also have more flexibility in the toe area, which can be helpful when hiking on rocky terrain. And because they’re lower to the ground, they provide better stability on uneven ground.
Of course, there are also some potential downsides to using sneakers for hiking. They don’t provide as much ankle support as boots, so if you’re prone to ankle injuries, you might want to stick with a boot. And they don’t offer as much protection from the elements as a boot –- so if you’re hiking in cold weather or through deep snow, you’ll want something warmer and more waterproof.
The best sneakers for hiking
When hitting the trail, you want a shoe that can take on any terrain while providing ample support. That’s why we’ve gathered a list of the best sneakers for hiking, so you can focus on your surroundings instead of your feet.
From lightweight runners to beefed-up high-tops, there’s a style of sneaker here that will work for any hiker. And because they’re all designed with outdoor activities in mind, they’re comfortable enough to wear all day, whether you’re scaling a mountain or just errands around town.
So before your next hike, be sure to lace up one of these pairs of sneakers. Your feet—and your Instagram followers—will thank you.
The disadvantages of sneakers for hiking
One of the main disadvantages of sneakers for hiking is their lack of support. Sneakers are designed to be lightweight and comfortable, but they don’t offer the same level of support as a hiking boot. This can lead to joint pain and blisters, especially if you’re hiking on rough terrain.
Another downside of sneakers is that they don’t provide as much protection from the elements as boots. If you’re hiking in cold weather, your feet will be more susceptible to frostbite. And if you’re hiking in wet conditions, your feet will be more susceptible to blisters and foot fungus.
So, while sneakers might be OK for short hikes on easy trails, they’re not the best choice for serious hikers or difficult trails. If you’re planning on doing any serious hiking, it’s best to invest in a good pair of hiking boots.
How to choose the right sneakers for hiking
When deciding if sneakers are the right footwear for your hike, ask yourself these four questions.
- Do they have good traction?
- Are they comfortable and well-fitted?
- Do they provide enough support?
- Do they protect your feet from the elements?
If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then sneakers may be the right choice for you. However, if you are hiking in difficult terrain or inclement weather, it is important to consider other options that may better meet your needs.
How to break in your new sneakers for hiking
In order to get the most comfort out of your new sneakers, you’ll want to break them in before hitting the trail. Here are a few tips on how to do that: -Start by wearing them around the house for a few hours each day. This will help them mold to the shape of your feet and will also give you a chance to make sure they’re comfortable. -Take them out for short walks or hikes on easy trails. This will help them hold up to the rigors of hiking and will also allow you to slowly get used to wearing them. -Be sure to socks that are meant for hiking when breaking in your new sneakers. This will help prevent blisters and will also make them more comfortable. -After a few days of breaking them in, you should be good to go for longer hikes!
Tips for hiking in sneakers
While many people choose to hike in boots, there are a few reasons you might want to consider sneakers instead. For one thing, they’re much lighter weight and more comfortable to walk in for long periods of time. They also tend to have better traction than boots, which can be helpful when hiking on slippery or uneven surfaces.
That said, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you decide to hike in sneakers. First, make sure they’re well-padded and provide good support for your feet — you’ll be doing a lot of walking, so you need shoes that can handle it. Second, consider waterproofing them before you hit the trail — wet feet are no fun, and wet shoes can be even worse. Finally, remember that since they don’t offer as much support as boots, your feet and legs may be more tired at the end of the day. So take it easy at first and build up your hiking distance gradually.
FAQs about hiking in sneakers
Wearing the wrong footwear is one of the main reasons people have a bad time when they go hiking. If your shoes are too loose, they’ll rub and cause blisters. If they’re too tight, your feet will go numb. If they don’t have enough support, your ankles will be killing you by the end of the day. And if they don’t have good traction, you’ll be slipping and sliding all over the place.
So, what kind of shoes should you wear when you go hiking? It depends on a few factors, such as the terrain, the weather and your personal preferences. In general, though, most hikers prefer to wear sturdy sneakers or hiking boots.
Sneakers are a good option if you’re hiking on well-maintained trails with gentle terrain. They’re also a good choice for short hikes in warm weather. But if you’re planning to hike in rougher terrain or for longer periods of time, you might want to consider investing in a pair of hiking boots.
Hiking boots are taller than sneakers and provide more support to your ankles. They also have more aggressive tread patterns that give you better traction on slippery or unstable surfaces. And because they’re usually made from waterproof materials, they can help keep your feet dry when you hike through stream crossings or wet grass.
If you’re not sure what kind of shoes to wear on your next hike, ask a member of our staff at any REI location—we love talking about gear!