If you already know you like hiking in trail running shoes, I don’t see any reason why the longer distance would be a problem. Best of luck preparing for your hike, that’s really exciting! Because your feet will swell as you stand on them and use them throughout the day. If you walk through a stream on a warm day, they’ll probably be dry again in 30 minutes. If you have never tried HOKAs and often have foot pain, they are definitely worth the money – you feel like you are walking on a cloud. This sassy brand is very popular (they work for men too, my husband has a pair) and fun too! Many popular long trails in the US are well-suited for hiking in trail running shoes, including the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, John Muir Trail, and Colorado Trail. I’m somewhat new to hiking, and I’m giving myself 11 months to prepare my body and mind for the entire trail next June. Hiking boots or hiking shoes are the traditional choice for hikers. Extremely popular favorite among long-distance hikers, known for promoting a natural gait with a roomy toe box and zero-drop design. The type of shoe you choose is really based on your personal preferences. A good pair of trail running shoes, of course! 15 Common Mistakes Made by First Time Backpackers. However, trail running shoes may not be ideal for you if you expect them to last long because they are not as durable as full hiking boots or shoes. Don’t be afraid to buy and try several pairs. Altra trail running shoes have little to no drop, which means your foot will fall and lay flat, rather than from heel to toe (like most running shoes). They’re usually cheaper than high quality hiking boots though, so the overall cost is probably comparable even if you replace them more often. If you do switch from a raised heel to zero drop, transition gradually to give your calves and Achilles tendons time to lengthen and adjust. You can get a barefoot-type shoe that offers minimal support and is extremely lightweight, but only opt for this if barefoot travel is in your wheelhouse. We sometimes hear that pronation – your foot rolling inward when weighted – is bad and causes injury, and particular types of shoes are needed to correct it. Some companies like to overprice shoes, because they feel as though this makes people trust their brand. The reasoning is simple: hiking boots are tight, painful, heavy, and stuffy. It looks like a lovely walk. Sleek and aggressive feel to help you go fast over any terrain, Known to have mega traction (with toe traction as well) that keeps you from losing an inch of distance, Resilient fabric that lasts for hike after hike, Narrow toe box, which can lead to tired feet after a long day of hiking. If this is the case, look for shoes that either minimize or control the movement of your foot with extra support. Sometimes my posts contain affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. More below. The act of boot shaming is unnecessary, and beyond that, What’s more, hiking boots weigh a lot. This shoe is very firm and not flexible (which some people like), but make sure your foot is ready for that impact. Here are my choices for the Best Trail Runner shoes for hiking, based on extensive research from multiple sources and personal tests that myself and friends have done: This award winning shoe is hard to resist, especially with it’s cheap price tag. Start with short hikes and a light backpack. Here are the biggest benefits. If you’ve been following running at all, you’ll recall that the minimalist / barefoot running craze (anyone else remember Born to Run?) I’m Alissa, your virtual guide, here to help you make your biggest, boldest adventure dreams a reality. The reasoning is simple: hiking boots are tight, painful, heavy, and stuffy. I agree, it’s great having the flexibility to scamper off and climb whatever you want. Flexible soles: Altras are pretty flexy compared to stiffer models, which allows for a natural gait and just feels good. If it’s a popular model you can probably get at least half of the retail value (and people like me will be happy to buy your lightly used shoes). If you’re scrambling on class 3 or 4 terrain, you might appreciate a sturdier boot that can protect your toes from errant boulders and loose scree (and also has a sticky sole, like an approach shoe or mountaineering boot). If you have zero heel-to-toe drop, then your body needs to work harder to push your weight forward. If you hike in cold or wet weather, backpack with a really heavy pack, or have a history of ankle injury, you may prefer boots. Many brands have experimented with this trend, but the Lone Peak is our favorite model for both trail running and thru-hiking. Comfort: A recent study found that people intuitively choose shoes that support good mechanics because they find them more comfortable. Weight: 12.8 ozHeel-toe drop: 7 mmStack height: 29 mm / 22 mm (heel / toe). This is great news! disrupted the running shoe industry a few years ago with a similar premise. That’s because your hiking boots haven’t broken in yet, silly!” I like to call this “boot shaming”. Wide toe box keeps your feet comfy all day long, Decent amount of cushion to help support that extra weight, Multi directional lugs allow for insanely great grip, Resembles the skeletal structure of the foot, in order to keep you running the way mankind and womankind were meant to run, Has a gator attachment so you can really protect yourself from the elements, The sole is a little hard, and the cushioning does wear out (But some people like this, because it allows them to feel the trail!). The best trail running shoes are designed specifically for trails, offering better traction, more stability, (sometimes) more cushioning, and greater durability than you'd get with regular running shoes. This doesn’t mean you should put your foot in a cast, though (cough-hiking boots-cough), make sure that your feet are still doing some of the work in order to have proper form and development of foot muscles. The Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX is the latest waterproof edition to an extremely popular shoe amongst runners who love to get dirty on the trails – and in our opinion the best waterproof trail running shoes.It’s a lightweight trail shoe and offers a very aggressive grip on technical, soft trails. Toe room: Our feet swell when we hike, so look for a model with a little extra width in the toes and choose a size with extra length. That’s a good point about warmth. If you want to fly without losing an inch of ground, this is the shoe for you. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Many running stores will allow for people to return their shoes within 30 days, so you can try out different types and give them back until you find your perfect Cinderella trail runner. Our favorite Maximally Cushioned shoe for trail running is the Hoka Speedgoat 4, the newest version of the shoes designed by Karl Meltzer, the "Speedgoat." Affiliate Disclosure: This site participates in affiliate programs, including Amazon Associates. The Lone Peak 4 trail runners are truly a great concept. Stability: If you overpronate (aka, your foot rolls inward when you walk or run) then you need to get shoes that have more stability, meaning that the inside arch of your foot is receiving extra support. I’m planning a thru-hike of the John Muir Trail for next June and I am searching for the perfect shoe for the trip, whether it be a hiking boot or a trail runner. Was this helpful? Pros: • Ultra-lightweight for backpacking and hiking dirt trails • Minimalist design This shoe is great because you can carry it on your feet, but also carry it in your bag if you have to transition to another shoe, without gaining that much extra weight. They’ve got an excellent balance between weight, durability, and support. Your email address will not be published. Grippy and Long Lasting Outsole Outfitted with powerful all-direction lugs, the Gel Venture 5 is untouchable on slippery terrains. Just because a shoe works for your friend of family member, doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for you. My only concern is whether they will be sufficient in warmth for going to the top of Mt. Whitney is going to be such a tiny portion of the time you spend on the JMT, so choose what you think is best for the rest of it. Serious runners will most likely want to reserve them for that activity alone, but others will find plenty of other excuses to put these comfy … Plus, minimalists argue that if you have less support, your form is more likely to be better. (Its like, imagine if you wore casts on your hands your whole life, and then all of a sudden you tried to do pull ups. The real reason backpackers end up with feet that look like they have been chewed up by a vicious pack of wolves is because hiking boots… well, they suck. Saucony is a well trusted brand that consistently comes out with good shoes, and this one is no different. Here’s what I love about the Lone Peaks: Everyone’s feet and mechanics are different, so keep these factors in mind as you search for the model that fits you best. If so, please consider sharing so it can help other explorers too: This is a fantastic article! Why? You can modify this lacing pattern and knot for comfort. Wrong! Weight: 13.4 ozHeel-toe drop: 11 mmStack height: 27 mm / 16 mm (heel / toe). Make sure you find a running store that has educated employees who are willing to work with you, check out your gait, and don’t be afraid to test out different shoes until you find the right one. You may have heard that hiking boots are essential for protecting our feet and ankles on the trail. BOTTOM LINE: The Salomon X Ultra 3 Low GTX are solid, trail-ready shoes that’re great for day hikers and lightweight backpackers. Therefore, it is better to find a shoe that is breathable, so that your feet, and shoe, will dry more quickly. Some recent research, however, doesn’t support this view. While transitioning to hiking in trail running shoes, try these foot strengthening exercises to make sure your feet are ready for their newfound freedom. Hi, thanks for sharing those recommendations! As long as you train in them and your training hikes go well, I’d say go for it. A bit heavier than others in the list, but rugged and durable. It is no secret: many people have converted to using trail running shoes as opposed to hiking boots. Trail running shoes are designed with the needs of runners in mind: they’re supposed to be lightweight, breathable, comfortable for many hours, and able to flex with natural foot movement. Less blistering, more breathable, you don’t have to worry too much about when water gets in your shoe (especially with the occasional creek fording). They’re not as warm. Would you recommend trail runners for a 28 mile one day ultimate hike? How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh, you have excruciating, bloody blisters on your sweaty, sore feet? People with a wide forefoot often have good luck with Altra shoes because of their extra-wide toe box. Meanwhile, one of the most popular trail-running shoes among thru-hikers, the La Sportiva Bushido II, clocks in at a feathery 1 pound 5 ounces. If you buy the right ones, they are awesome on the trail. Top 10 Best Trail Running Shoes For Hiking Here are my choices for the Best Trail Runner shoes for hiking, based on extensive research from multiple sources and personal tests that myself and friends have done: 1. Whitney. Here are some reasons why you might want to stick with boots in specific circumstances. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who prefers lighter trail shoes over boots like they say you should have. Though the fervor around that trend has mostly cooled and many runners have hung up their five-toe shoes in favor of regular running shoes once again, the lasting legacy is a valuable point: we can protect and stabilize our feet using our own strength and coordination instead of relying on external support. The responsive cushioning does not extend to the forefoot (it is only at the heel), so longer hikes are most likely going to be met with a bit of foot pain. They’re light, comfy, breathable, quick-drying, and sometimes reduce blisters. Many hikers use a pair of lightweight hiking gaiters to keep dust, sand, and scree from working its way into low-cut trail running shoes. They are lightweight, waterproof, and protect the ankle from scrapes and twisting. When you try the shoe on, make sure that your toes don’t touch the top of the shoe. Hi Kelly, how exciting! An offshoot of the barefoot running movement, zero-drop trail runners keep the foot in its naturally flat position (most shoes here elevate the heel by 4 to 10mm). The zero drop takes some getting used to: be ready for a calf burn at first, that will eventually pay off in the long run (no pun intended). Personally, I ditch my trail runners in favor of mountaineering boots on terrain like the class 3 and 4 California 14ers. Most hiking and trail running shoes use a basic criss-cross lacing that you tie utilizing a bow-knot. People who pronate too much sometimes find stability shoes helpful, but they and everyone else should also do strengthening exercises to reduce the negative impact of too much pronation.