Can You Run in Hiking Boots? (Solved!)

Running in mountains
Written by Russell McCarty

If you’re someone who enjoys hiking and running, then you may have thought about going for a run on hiking trails. This can lead many to wonder if they can run in the hiking boots they would normally wear for hiking the trail.

Yes, you can run in hiking boots. However, it’s not a great idea to do so. Over long distances, this can put unnecessary stress on your joints. It will also cause wear on your hiking boots you wouldn’t get from walking.

When manufacturers develop specialist footwear, such as hiking boots, they are looking to ensure that it is ideal for the purpose. If we use it for purposes other than their intended one, it will likely be fine for a short while before it will start causing problems. These problems can both to yourself and to the boots themselves.

The areas where the design may cause issues for you while running include:

  • The ankle support of your hiking boot
  • The stiffness of the sole of the boot
  • The different rubbing patterns from running vs. walking

If you’re interested in getting more out of your hiking boots, you may also be interested in our article on whether you can wear your hiking boots every day?

Let’s have a deeper look into some of those issues

Hiking boot ankle support

Ankle Support While Running

One of the reasons we wear hiking boots when we’re out on a trail is that they provide ankle support. While this is beneficial for when you’re walking along, it has both pros and cons when being used for running.

In the same way hiking boots provide support for your ankles to prevent you from rolling your ankle during hiking, they do the same during a run. They will not be as effective in preventing you from rolling your ankle as you’ll be moving with more momentum than if you were hiking.

The ankle support works in hiking boots by building support slightly up your leg and having some level of resistance coming down from the top points of contact. This resistance will mean that your ankles and feet will not be able to move in the same way they would if you were running in trainers. While this shouldn’t be an issue for a short run over a prolonged run, this is likely to put strains on your joints and muscles that are not ideal for your body and may result in you injuring yourself.

More Likely To Get Blisters From Running In Hiking Boots

While your hiking boots may fit perfectly for hiking, the motions and impacts of a casual hike along the trail, running will cause your boots to rub in different ways.

This rubbing can result in you developing blisters on your feet, which everyone wants to avoid.

While it is possible to make changes to hiking boot fitting or things like the socks you’re wearing to help prevent blisters from running in hiking boots, you should think about whether it would be better to choose something better suited to the job.

Trail running

Can You Run On Pavement In Hiking Boots?

How about running on the pavement in our hiking boots? Is that any better?

Yes, you can run on pavements in hiking boots, but in addition to messing with your running gait, it can also cause damage to your hiking boots faster than just running in them.

One good example is the lugs on the soles of your boots. These provide you with additional grip when walking across soft ground such as grass by digging into the dirt. This can mean that they are more likely to get damaged when running on surfaces that they weren’t designed for.

Usually, this means significantly faster wear of the lugs, but in extreme cases, the smaller lugs can tear off the boot’s soles. This is rare but can lead to small holes in your boots, and carrying out repairs to your hiking boot soles are possible but not ideal if you can avoid them.

Alternative To Running In Hiking Boots: Trail Running Shoes

If you’re looking to go running the trail, then looking at trail running shoes will be a far superior option for footwear.

Trail running shoes will tend to be lighter than hiking boots, usually weighing 1-2 lbs, compared with hiking boots, which very quickly can exceed 2lbs. This lighter weight helps with your running over longer distances, where every extra bit of weight will slow you down.

An advantage to trail running shoes over hiking boots is that they will usually dry a lot quicker, whether from running through a stream or just your sweat. This is because trail running shoes will tend to be made of a more mesh-like material, meaning there can be more airflow through them when you let them dry.

Wrapping Up

Do you run in hiking boots? Do you find the support provided worth the additional wear and tear worth it? Then let us know in the comments below.


Russell McCarty

Russell considers backpacking one of his great passions in life. He actually managed to transform his passion into a living becoming a professional adventurer. Russell loves long-distance backpacking and he enriched his portfolio with famous trails like the Alaska-Yukon Expedition or the Appalachian Trail. With thousands of miles under his feet, Russell is the expert to consult when it comes to how to prepare for a successful outdoor adventure.