The Best Trail Running Shoes for Hiking | Essential Winter & Waterproof Options




trail running shoes for hiking

I’d like to discuss the essential features of trail running shoes and why they are important for a comfortable and enjoyable hiking experience.


When looking for trail running shoes for hiking, it’s crucial to consider the grip of the sole. A good trail running shoe should have a sole that provides excellent traction on various terrains, including rocky, muddy, and slippery surfaces. This ensures that you have stability and can confidently navigate the trails.

Weight is another important factor to consider. Heavy shoes can weigh you down and make your hiking experience more challenging. Trail running shoes are designed to be lightweight, allowing you to move quickly and effortlessly on the trails.

Additionally, comfort is key when it comes to trail running shoes. Look for shoes that offer a wide toe box, allowing your toes to spread and splay naturally. This promotes better balance and reduces the risk of blisters and discomfort. A non-elevated zero-drop heel is also beneficial for maintaining proper posture, while a flexible sole enables your feet to move through their full range of motion.


waterproof running shoes

Trail running shoes with breathable uppers are ideal for keeping your feet cool and preventing excess moisture buildup. This is especially important during long hikes or in hot weather conditions. A breathable upper ensures that your feet stay comfortable and dry, reducing the risk of blisters and unpleasant odours.

While a waterproof upper may seem tempting for hiking, it’s important to weigh the benefits against the cost. Waterproof shoes usually come with a higher price tag, and they may not be necessary for all hiking conditions. Instead, consider a shoe with an upper that can dry out quickly, allowing your feet to breathe and providing better overall comfort. If crossing water is a concern, you can always carry a lightweight pair of sandals for those situations.

In conclusion, trail running shoes for hiking should have features such as excellent grip, lightweight construction, and comfort-enhancing attributes like a wide toe box flexible sole, and a breathable upper. While a waterproof option is available, it may not be necessary for all hiking conditions. Now, let’s explore some of the top trail running shoes available for hiking.


When it comes to the best trail running shoes for hiking, there are several options to consider. These shoes offer the necessary features and durability to tackle challenging terrains while keeping your feet comfortable and protected.


trail running shoes for hiking

The Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 is a highly recommended trail running shoe for hiking. It offers a stable and responsive ride, impeccable fit, excellent traction, and durability. The midsole protects without sacrificing feedback from the trail, ensuring a comfortable and precise experience. With its lightweight and flexible design, the S/Lab Ultra 3 is a top choice for avid hikers and trail runners alike.


waterproof running shoes

The Brooks Divide 4 is a great value option for those seeking a comfortable and reasonably priced trail running shoe. It offers a stable and protective platform, improved breathability, and reliable durability. While it may lack some sensitivity on more advanced terrains, the Divide 4 is an excellent choice for casual runners and hikers who prefer straightforward trails.

In addition to these top picks, other affordable brands offer high-quality trail running shoes without compromising on performance. Brands such as Columbia,


waterproof running shoes


waterproof running shoes


trail running shoes for hiking


trail running shoes for hiking

have trail running shoes that are suitable for hiking and provide the necessary features for a comfortable and enjoyable experience on the trails.

Now that we’ve explored some of the best trail running shoes for hiking, let’s discuss where you can find these quality shoes.


Finding quality trail running shoes for hiking is easier than ever, thanks to the convenience of online shopping. Numerous online retailers offer a wide range of trail running shoes, making it easier to find the perfect pair for your hiking needs.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that fit can vary between shoe brands and styles. To ensure you find the right size and fit, it’s advisable to try the shoes on before making a purchase. While online shopping provides convenience, it’s important to read reviews and consider the sizing guidance provided by the manufacturer.

If you prefer to try on shoes in person, many sporting goods stores and outdoor retailers carry trail running shoes. It’s a good idea to visit a store that has a knowledgeable staff that can assist you in finding the right pair of shoes for your foot type and hiking preferences.

Xero Shoes is a notable brand that offers trail running shoes for men and women. Their TerraFlex model is highly recommended, as it provides all the essential features of a good trail running shoe. It has a trail-gripping sole, a low-to-the-ground design, a breathable upper, a wide-toe box, and adjustable ankle and mid-foot straps for added security. Additionally, Xero Shoes offers a free domestic exchange policy to help with sizing and has listed stores that carry the TerraFlex on their website.

Now that we know where to find quality trail running shoes, let’s address a common question regarding ankle support in trail running shoes.


Ankle support has been a long-standing debate in the world of trail running and hiking. The belief that ankle support is necessary for stability and injury prevention has been perpetuated for years. However, it’s important to understand the role of ankle support and its applicability in trail running shoes.

When wearing flexible trail running shoes, ankle support is usually unnecessary because the sole’s flexibility enables natural foot movement, eliminating the need for extra support.

Explanation: I removed redundant words and rephrased the sentence for conciseness while preserving its original meaning.

Wearing rigid-soled shoes on uneven surfaces can twist your foot, and need ankle support. Flexible soles let your foot flex naturally, reducing the need for ankle support.

Moreover, wearing shoes that restrict natural foot movement can weaken your joints in the long run. Allowing your joints to move naturally improves their strength and overall function.

Additionally, flexible soles provide better feedback from the ground, enhancing your body’s efficiency and movement. When you have a stiff sole, the information your body needs for effective functioning is dampened, limiting your body’s response and adaptability.

It’s important to note that individuals with specific conditions or injuries may require additional ankle support based on their healthcare professional’s recommendations. However, for the majority of hikers and trail runners, a flexible sole provides adequate support and stability.

Now that we have addressed the misconception around ankle support, let’s move on to some frequently asked questions about trail running shoes.


Q: Are trail running shoes suitable for hiking?

A: Yes, trail running shoes are suitable for hiking. They provide the necessary features, such as grip, stability, and comfort, to tackle various terrains.

Q: What are the benefits of neutral running shoes for supination?

A: Neutral running shoes are designed to provide support and cushioning for individuals with supination, which is an outward rolling of the foot during the running or walking gait. These shoes can help correct the foot’s alignment and provide a more balanced stride.

Q: What are the key attributes of winter trail running shoes?

A: Winter trail running shoes should have features such as insulation for warmth, a waterproof or water-resistant upper to keep your feet dry, and enhanced traction for icy or snowy conditions.

Q: How do “Gore-Tex” trail running shoes enhance the trail running experience?

A: Gore-Tex trail running shoes are engineered with a waterproof and breathable membrane, protecting water while allowing moisture vapour to escape. This keeps your feet dry and comfortable during wet or rainy trail runs.

Q: How do I buy trail running shoes?

A: When buying trail running shoes, it’s important to consider the essential features such as grip, weight, comfort, and a breathable upper. Additionally, try them on to ensure the proper fit and consider your specific hiking needs.

Q: How do I choose trail running shoes?

A: When choosing trail running shoes, consider the terrain you will be running or hiking on, your pronation type, and personal preferences for the level of cushioning and support. It’s also important to try on multiple pairs to find the best fit.

Now that we’ve addressed some frequently asked questions, let’s conclude this article.


Trail running shoes for hiking provide the necessary features to enhance your hiking experience. They offer excellent grip for various terrains, lightweight construction for effortless movement, and comfort-enhancing attributes such as a wide toe box and flexible sole. While a breathable upper is important for keeping your feet cool, the need for a waterproof option should be considered based on individual preferences and hiking conditions.

Top trail running shoes such as the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 and the Brooks Divide 4 provide the quality and performance required for hiking. However, there are other affordable brands available that offer high-quality trail running shoes without compromising on performance.

When looking for quality trail running shoes, online retailers offer a wide variety of options. It’s important to read reviews, consider sizing guidance, and, if possible, try the shoes on for the best fit. Additionally, visiting sporting goods stores and outdoor retailers allows you to try on shoes in person with the assistance of knowledgeable staff.

Dispelling the misconception around ankle support, trail running shoes with flexible soles are suitable for hiking. These shoes promote natural foot movement, leading to stronger joints and greater efficiency in movement.

By understanding the essential features, debunking myths, and considering individual preferences, choosing the right trail running shoes for hiking becomes a personalized and enjoyable process. So lace up your trail running shoes, hit the trails, and experience the joy of hiking with comfort and confidence.