Trail Running Shoes vs Hiking Shoes: Which to Choose

Lovers of the great outdoors may wonder whether trail running shoes or hiking shoes are right for their next adventure. Each with its own unique benefits, you’ll enjoy every step in comfort in either trail running shoes or hiking shoes. Our ultimate guide walks you through the features of each shoe and how they can benefit you on your run or hike. With all the information, you’ll be able to decide which pair is right for you!

Table of Contents:

Why Trail Running Shoes and Hiking Shoes are Different

Trail running refers to any run that is not on a paved surface. Whilst hiking focuses on tackling challenging terrain including ricky uphill routes, also along trails, often in the countryside or mountains. Completed on similar terrain, you may be wondering if it’s really necessary to have different shoes for each occasion. Hiking shoes have supportive ankle shafts to help prevent uncomfortable twisting when climbing rocky areas. Whilst trail running shoes are far more flexible, encouraging you to run at your personal best. Deciding which is right for you is a completely personal decision as to whether you think trail running shoes or hiking shoes will suit you and your needs most. Understanding the benefits and features of trail running shoes vs hiking shoes will help you to decide.

should I opt for trail running shoes or hiking boots

The Characteristics of Trail Runnings Shoes and Hiking Shoes

The differences between trail running shoes and hiking shoes are what will ultimately inform your decision as to which to choose. Our handy guide shows you exactly what each shoe is best for and what features each holds.

what are the differences between trail running shoes and hiking shoes

The major difference between these two outdoor footwear types is their height. Hiking boots have a higher shaft that covers and protects the ankle, whilst trail running shoes are a more traditional sneaker shape. The difference in shape of trail running shoes vs hiking boots also affects the weight of the shoe. When you’re on a long walk, the last thing you want is heavy footwear, that’s why opting for lightweight hiking shoes or trail running sneakers is preferable! Each type of sneaker or boot has its own advantages and delving into these is essential before making your choice as to which to pick.

Explore the Outdoors with Giesswein

We adore the great outdoors and believe your footwear should help you enjoy all your adventures to the fullest. Our range of sustainable shoes has both trail running sneakers and hiking boots. Crafted from merino wool, our Wool Cross X Sneakers and Wool Cross X Alpine Boots offer all the incredible quality this material has to offer. This type of wool is moisture wicking, odor-resistant, temperature regulating, and breathable! All features you need for a super comfy run, walk, or stroll outside.

7 Benefits of Trail Running Shoes

Comparing trail running shoes vs hiking shoes, trail runners have their own unique benefits. Their traditional sporty shape makes them ideal for not just trail running, but also hiking, sports, and daily use. In fact, these trail running shoes will take you from the mountains to the city with ease as a pair of casual sneakers. Ideal, as both men’s sneakers and women’s sneakers, trail running shoes will become a staple for all your adventures.

should I choose trail running shoes?

Comfort is key when it comes to deciding between trail running shoes and hiking shoes, and Giesswein’s Wool Cross X sneakers offer just that. Our trail running shoes are the first high-performance sports shoe lined with merino wool. This brilliant natural material offers numerous advantages to trail running shoes, including:

  • Moisture wicking – merino wool is a naturally moisture wicking material. This means that any sweat from your feet is wicked away to the outside of the shoe. Keeping your feet feeling dry and fresh throughout your run, even when worn as barefoot trail shoes.
  • Breathable – our feet need to breathe, especially when we’re doing exercise. As a natural fibre, one of merino wool’s properties is that it is breathable, making it ideal for trail running shoes.
  • Water resistant – nature can be unpredictable, and keeping your feet dry from unexpected puddles and downpours will ensure you enjoy your run. Opting for water resistant shoes is one way to do just this.
  • Antibacterial – the wool we use is an antibacterial material, this helps to fight smells as well as keeping your feet as healthy as possible.
  • Lightweight – weighing in at just 550 grams, you’ll be light on your feet in these shoes.
  • Temperature regulating – an important feature to ensure you can use these shoes year round is temperature regulation. Our trial running shoes will keep your feet warm in the colder months, and comfortable in the hotter parts of the year.
  • Anti-odor – taking on challenging terrain you can get a little sweaty, which can sometimes lead to smelly feet. Luckily our trail running shoes are anti-odor, so you won’t have nasty smells at the end of the day!

All of these benefits make the Wool Cross X a great choice when choosing between trail running shoes vs hiking shoes. Whether you’re running your favorite trail, or taking on a new peak, they’ll carry you through.

9 Advantages of Hiking Shoes

Hiking shoes also have their own unique benefits when compared to trail running shoes. The primary advantage of hiking shoes is the shaft that protects your ankles. For hikes in rougher or more vegetative terrain this is ideal. Covering and supporting your ankle, good walking shoes will help to protect against sprains and vicious plants. However, this isn’t their only incredible advantage, our Wool Cross X Alpine shoes have many more:

  • Moisture wicking – like trail running shoes, our hiking shoes are also moisture wicking.
  • Temperature regulating – traditional hiking shoes can often be too warm in the summer months. However, crafted from merino wool, ours are perfect as both summer hiking boots and winter boots due to their temperature regulation.
  • Breathable – you’ll also find that when it comes to trail running shoes vs hiking shoes, both offer breathable options.
  • 100% Waterproof – hiking shoes should see you through every season, that’s why our Wool Cross X Alpine’s are waterproof hiking shoes. With these on your feet you’ll be able to splash through puddles with no problems!
  • Snow-approved – alongside being waterproof, they are also snow-approved. This incredible feature will mean you can enjoy your favorite outdoor spots in their most peaceful, snow-covered times.
  • Anti-odor – keeping odors at bay, you won’t be met with a nasty surprise when taking these hiking shoes off at the end of the day.
  • Antibacterial – the wool is antibacterial, staving off unwanted germs.
  • Stable – the padded, half-height shaft is designed to offer both stability and support. Whilst the micro-grip sole is designed to keep you stable on all types of terrain.
  • Lightweight – keeping your hiking gear as lightweight as possible is vital for an enjoyable expedition. We crafted lightweight hiking shoes to ensure you aren’t weighed down on your journey.
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what are hiking shoes good for?

When comparing hiking shoes vs trail running shoes, the padded shaft does make the shoes slightly less versatile. For instance, you may find it tricky to run in this footwear as it’s designed to give your ankles and feet proper support. However, this makes them amazing for more rocky terrain as your ankles will be held in place no matter what steps you take.

How to Choose the Right Outdoor Footwear for You

Now you’ve discovered the benefits of trail running shoes vs hiking shoes, you can make an informed decision as to which are perfect for you. For those who enjoy both hiking and trail running, you may lean more towards trail running shoes. The trail shoes will offer you more flexibility to take on runs compared to the padded hiking shoes. However, for the lover of long hikes all year round, hiking shoes could be the perfect choice. With their waterproofing and stability, you’ll adore watching the seasons change in these trail sneakers that are perfect as travel shoes. Both offer extreme comfort, so we know you’ll enjoy every step supported by either trail running shoes or hiking shoes.

House Shoes for After the Trek

After a long hike there’s nothing better than putting your feet up. Our slippers crafted from virgin wool are the ideal partner for when you get home. Designed to be cozy slippers that keep feet warm and comfortable, you’ll never want to take them off again.

What Makes Giesswein Special?

We are a family-run merino wool brand. We craft innovative footwear, utilising the unparalleled benefits of the wool. Our range of comfortable men’s slippers and women’s slippers are made from virgin wool, and are ideal for putting your feet up after a long walk.

Trail Running Shoes vs Hiking Shoes: Which to Choose

Lovers of the great outdoors may wonder whether trail running shoes or hiking shoes are right for their next adventure. Each with its own unique benefits, you’ll enjoy every step in comfort in either trail running shoes or hiking shoes. Our ultimate guide walks you through the features of each shoe and how they can benefit you on your run or hike. With all the information, you’ll be able to decide which pair is right for you!

Table of Contents:

Why Trail Running Shoes and Hiking Shoes are Different

Trail running refers to any run that is not on a paved surface. Whilst hiking focuses on tackling challenging terrain including ricky uphill routes, also along trails, often in the countryside or mountains. Completed on similar terrain, you may be wondering if it’s really necessary to have different shoes for each occasion. Hiking shoes have supportive ankle shafts to help prevent uncomfortable twisting when climbing rocky areas. Whilst trail running shoes are far more flexible, encouraging you to run at your personal best. Deciding which is right for you is a completely personal decision as to whether you think trail running shoes or hiking shoes will suit you and your needs most. Understanding the benefits and features of trail running shoes vs hiking shoes will help you to decide.

should I opt for trail running shoes or hiking boots

The Characteristics of Trail Runnings Shoes and Hiking Shoes

The differences between trail running shoes and hiking shoes are what will ultimately inform your decision as to which to choose. Our handy guide shows you exactly what each shoe is best for and what features each holds.

what are the differences between trail running shoes and hiking shoes

The major difference between these two outdoor footwear types is their height. Hiking boots have a higher shaft that covers and protects the ankle, whilst trail running shoes are a more traditional sneaker shape. The difference in shape of trail running shoes vs hiking boots also affects the weight of the shoe. When you’re on a long walk, the last thing you want is heavy footwear, that’s why opting for lightweight hiking shoes or trail running sneakers is preferable! Each type of sneaker or boot has its own advantages and delving into these is essential before making your choice as to which to pick.

Explore the Outdoors with Giesswein

We adore the great outdoors and believe your footwear should help you enjoy all your adventures to the fullest. Our range of sustainable shoes has both trail running sneakers and hiking boots. Crafted from merino wool, our Wool Cross X Sneakers and Wool Cross X Alpine Boots offer all the incredible quality this material has to offer. This type of wool is moisture wicking, odor-resistant, temperature regulating, and breathable! All features you need for a super comfy run, walk, or stroll outside.

7 Benefits of Trail Running Shoes

Comparing trail running shoes vs hiking shoes, trail runners have their own unique benefits. Their traditional sporty shape makes them ideal for not just trail running, but also hiking, sports, and daily use. In fact, these trail running shoes will take you from the mountains to the city with ease as a pair of casual sneakers. Ideal, as both men’s sneakers and women’s sneakers, trail running shoes will become a staple for all your adventures.

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should I choose trail running shoes?

Comfort is key when it comes to deciding between trail running shoes and hiking shoes, and Giesswein’s Wool Cross X sneakers offer just that. Our trail running shoes are the first high-performance sports shoe lined with merino wool. This brilliant natural material offers numerous advantages to trail running shoes, including:

  • Moisture wicking – merino wool is a naturally moisture wicking material. This means that any sweat from your feet is wicked away to the outside of the shoe. Keeping your feet feeling dry and fresh throughout your run, even when worn as barefoot trail shoes.
  • Breathable – our feet need to breathe, especially when we’re doing exercise. As a natural fibre, one of merino wool’s properties is that it is breathable, making it ideal for trail running shoes.
  • Water resistant – nature can be unpredictable, and keeping your feet dry from unexpected puddles and downpours will ensure you enjoy your run. Opting for water resistant shoes is one way to do just this.
  • Antibacterial – the wool we use is an antibacterial material, this helps to fight smells as well as keeping your feet as healthy as possible.
  • Lightweight – weighing in at just 550 grams, you’ll be light on your feet in these shoes.
  • Temperature regulating – an important feature to ensure you can use these shoes year round is temperature regulation. Our trial running shoes will keep your feet warm in the colder months, and comfortable in the hotter parts of the year.
  • Anti-odor – taking on challenging terrain you can get a little sweaty, which can sometimes lead to smelly feet. Luckily our trail running shoes are anti-odor, so you won’t have nasty smells at the end of the day!

All of these benefits make the Wool Cross X a great choice when choosing between trail running shoes vs hiking shoes. Whether you’re running your favorite trail, or taking on a new peak, they’ll carry you through.

9 Advantages of Hiking Shoes

Hiking shoes also have their own unique benefits when compared to trail running shoes. The primary advantage of hiking shoes is the shaft that protects your ankles. For hikes in rougher or more vegetative terrain this is ideal. Covering and supporting your ankle, good walking shoes will help to protect against sprains and vicious plants. However, this isn’t their only incredible advantage, our Wool Cross X Alpine shoes have many more:

  • Moisture wicking – like trail running shoes, our hiking shoes are also moisture wicking.
  • Temperature regulating – traditional hiking shoes can often be too warm in the summer months. However, crafted from merino wool, ours are perfect as both summer hiking boots and winter boots due to their temperature regulation.
  • Breathable – you’ll also find that when it comes to trail running shoes vs hiking shoes, both offer breathable options.
  • 100% Waterproof – hiking shoes should see you through every season, that’s why our Wool Cross X Alpine’s are waterproof hiking shoes. With these on your feet you’ll be able to splash through puddles with no problems!
  • Snow-approved – alongside being waterproof, they are also snow-approved. This incredible feature will mean you can enjoy your favorite outdoor spots in their most peaceful, snow-covered times.
  • Anti-odor – keeping odors at bay, you won’t be met with a nasty surprise when taking these hiking shoes off at the end of the day.
  • Antibacterial – the wool is antibacterial, staving off unwanted germs.
  • Stable – the padded, half-height shaft is designed to offer both stability and support. Whilst the micro-grip sole is designed to keep you stable on all types of terrain.
  • Lightweight – keeping your hiking gear as lightweight as possible is vital for an enjoyable expedition. We crafted lightweight hiking shoes to ensure you aren’t weighed down on your journey.

what are hiking shoes good for?

When comparing hiking shoes vs trail running shoes, the padded shaft does make the shoes slightly less versatile. For instance, you may find it tricky to run in this footwear as it’s designed to give your ankles and feet proper support. However, this makes them amazing for more rocky terrain as your ankles will be held in place no matter what steps you take.

How to Choose the Right Outdoor Footwear for You

Now you’ve discovered the benefits of trail running shoes vs hiking shoes, you can make an informed decision as to which are perfect for you. For those who enjoy both hiking and trail running, you may lean more towards trail running shoes. The trail shoes will offer you more flexibility to take on runs compared to the padded hiking shoes. However, for the lover of long hikes all year round, hiking shoes could be the perfect choice. With their waterproofing and stability, you’ll adore watching the seasons change in these trail sneakers that are perfect as travel shoes. Both offer extreme comfort, so we know you’ll enjoy every step supported by either trail running shoes or hiking shoes.

House Shoes for After the Trek

After a long hike there’s nothing better than putting your feet up. Our slippers crafted from virgin wool are the ideal partner for when you get home. Designed to be cozy slippers that keep feet warm and comfortable, you’ll never want to take them off again.

What Makes Giesswein Special?

We are a family-run merino wool brand. We craft innovative footwear, utilising the unparalleled benefits of the wool. Our range of comfortable men’s slippers and women’s slippers are made from virgin wool, and are ideal for putting your feet up after a long walk.

Hiking shoes vs trail running shoes: which is best for you?

Hiking shoes and walking poles, with view over the dam of Tignes

So you’ve been researching the different types of hiking shoes, and you’ve discovered a whole new world. The traditional, stiff leather hiking boot may still be widely available, but its uncompromising reign over the hiking footwear world is over. Today there are a ton of lightweight options for those that like to travel light, feel the trail underfoot or simply feel more comfortable in low-cut shoes rather than bulky boots, particularly on less technical tracks, with little ankle-threatening terrain. Two top choices are the best hiking shoes and best trail running shoes, but what are they, what are the differences, and what are the benefits of each? We weigh in on the pros and cons of hiking shoes vs trail running shoes to help you choose the best lightweight, low cut option for your next adventure.

    : the pros and the cons
  • Find out the benefits oftrail running shoes vs hiking boots
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Today there are a ton of lightweight options for those that like to travel light, feel the trail underfoot or simply feel more comfortable in low-cut shoes rather than bulky boots (Image credit: Mike Harrington)

Hiking shoes vs trail running shoes: what’s the difference?

First of all, what’s the difference between the two? Aren’t they both just fancy names for sneakers?

Hiking shoes are really a more flexible, lighter alternative to hiking boots for those who don’t need the ankle support, protection and warmth that the more traditional footwear brings, usually because they’re tackling less rocky or challenging trails in relatively good conditions. Some hiking shoes are simply a version of a brand’s boot, minus the higher cuff.

Trail running shoes are basically a cross between a walking shoe and a road-running trainer: lighter, more flexible, highly breathable, and hence less protective and less durable.

Hiking shoes vs trail running shoes: weight

While both options are lighter weight than their hiking boot predecessor, hiking shoes will most likely be heavier, with trail running shoes being the lightest option.

Hiking shoes vs trail running shoes: protection

Compared to trail running shoes, hiking shoes are sturdier and more robust, so they’ll offer better protection against sharp rocks. Trail running shoes won’t offer the same level of protection or longevity as a proper hiking shoe.

Trail running shoes range from having not much more grip than a road-running shoe to featuring deep lugs for multi-terrain use (Image credit: Murmakova)

Hiking shoes vs trail running shoes: grip

The sole of a hiking shoe is usually much more substantial, so there’s no need for an internal rockplate to protect your foot from sharp sticks and stones. The grip is more like that of a hiking boot, so it will work well on lots of different terrain but is mainly suited to good, well-kept paths.

Sole-wise, there’s much more variation in trail running shoes. They range from having not much more grip than a road-running shoe to featuring deep lugs for multi-terrain use, some with cleats almost like football boots for negotiating deep mud and squelchy bogs.

Hiking shoes vs trail running shoes: waterproofing

Hiking shoes are often waterproof, typically featuring a Gore-Tex or own-brand membrane, or they might be made of leather.

Trail running shoes are not often waterproof, as this would make them too hot and sweaty for running. Water is likely to get in over the top of the shoe when runners splash through puddles anyway, and it would drain slower through a waterproof membrane, making the shoe heavy and your foot prone to shrivelling up like a prune in its inescapable, salty, gritty bath.

Trail running shoes are often brightly coloured, as if to proclaim ‘I’m a runner!’ loudly at passers-by (Image credit: Getty)

Hiking shoes vs trail running shoes: appearance

Hiking shoes tend to look less ‘sporty’, and are often available in more muted colours (brown, black and navy are very popular), so beyond the mountainside you could wear them around town to keep your feet comfy.

Trail running shoes are often brightly coloured, as if to proclaim ‘I’m a runner!’ loudly at passers-by. As a result, they can be less useful as a multi-use shoe for people to wear casually elsewhere (though they’re usually so muddy no one would let you in anyway).

Hiking shoes vs trail running shoes: versatility

If you fancied breaking into a jog while hiking in the hills and mountains while wearing hiking shoes you could easily do so, but the stiffness, weight and waterproofing means they’re not great for all-day running. Compared to hiking boots, however, they will feel light, and they lend themselves perfectly to long walks in good conditions.

Trail running shoes are pretty versatile – after all, if you can run in them, you can also walk in them, so they’re great for those who like to mix up the pace.

Hiking shoes vs trail running shoes

Hiking shoesTrail running shoes
WeightLighter than a boot, heavier than a trail running shoeLighter than a hiking shoe
ProtectionBetter protection against bumps and sharp rocksLess protection
GripGood grip with deep lugsGrip varies according to shoe
WaterproofingUsually waterproofNot often waterproof
AppearanceUnderstated colors, less sportyUsually sporty and brightly colored
VersatilityGreat for walkingCan be worn for walking and running

Hiking shoes vs trail running shoes: the verdict

As always, it depends how fast or light you want to go, how much money you have to spend on shoes for different occasions, and how much space you have on your shoe rack, because the annoying verdict is that it’s useful to have both types of shoe available as an option.

But, if you have to choose and you’re primarily a runner, go for the trail shoes. You will have no problems hiking in a multi-terrain trail shoe through most seasons.

Likewise, if you mostly walk, opt for hiking shoes. With some post-hiking aftercare, they should last many years, and will still allow you to break into a nice trot down the hills if you fancy speeding up. Just don’t expect to run all day in these stiffer, heavier options, which would likely overcook your feet.

And if neither option sounds like the right choice, then consider approach shoes, a subspecies of hiking shoe used by many rock climbers to walk to their crag of choice, if it happens to be accessed by trails. These tend to be defined by a stiffer midsole and a stickier rubber undersole, to provide grip and support while scrambling and ‘edging’ around rocks, but they can also be used simply for hiking.

Source https://us.giesswein.com/blogs/news/trail-running-shoes-vs-hiking-shoes

Source https://uk.giesswein.com/blogs/news/trail-running-shoes-vs-hiking-shoes#:~:text=The%20major%20difference%20between%20these%20two%20outdoor%20footwear,boots%20also%20affects%20the%20weight%20of%20the%20shoe.

Source https://www.advnture.com/features/hiking-shoes-vs-trail-running-shoes

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