Can you run in hiking boots?


Hiking footwear is designed to help you navigate rough terrain. The more challenging the conditions, the greater the rigidity of the soles and uppers of the boot. This increases protection and stability but naturally increases the weight of the boot. 

In contrast, running shoes are designed for maximum flexibility and minimal weight. As a result, they provide less protection on uneven, rough ground.

With all equipment, including boots and shoes, you should carefully consider your planned activities to help you decide on the right footwear. For challenging hiking, scrambling and climbing, you will need a high-quality pair of sturdy boots. For regular running on mixed ground, choose a lightweight pair of trail runners.

Is it okay to run in hiking boots?

Yes, it is possible to run in hiking boots over short distances, but they are not recommended for regular running. If you need to run in your boots, ensure they fit well and are flexible. For extended running on difficult terrain, look for a pair of high-quality trail running shoes.

If you intend to run occasionally in your boots, make sure they fit well. Movement of the foot inside the boot causes discomfort and blisters. When running, the impact force on each step is increased. A secure fit, along with your choice of socks, will prevent your foot from sliding as the boot hits the ground.

Your boots need some flexibility to accommodate the way your foot bends during running. Make sure they are broken-in, especially if you are wearing leather boots. This process softens the materials and moulds them to the shape of your feet, reducing discomfort. 

Start by wearing your new boots around the house. Take new boots for a walk before attempting to run in them.

If you want to run in your boots, start small and build up over time. Increase your distance over time to allow you to get used to the weight and movement of the footwear. 

Related: What to look for in walking boots

Is it bad to run in boots?

No, it is not necessarily bad to run in boots. Military training often involves running in boots, and most people can manage short distances in well-fitting boots. However, boots that are designed to cope with rugged terrain will naturally lack the lightweight flexibility required for regular running.

The same features that make boots so effective on challenging walks and climbs make them less comfortable for running. The rigid, durable sole, protective uppers and ankle support all add weight and reduce flexibility. A waterproof membrane will help keep your feet dry inside your boots on a wet walk. However, the same membrane can reduce breathability and trap sweat when you start to run.

High top boots offer the greatest level of ankle protection, but this will also restrict your range of motion. Depending on your choice of activity, a mid-level boot or hiking shoe may offer the versatility you need. 

The North Face Men's Activist FUTURELIGHT™ Mid Boots are lower on the ankle than a high-top boot. This provides support on uneven ground with less restriction of movement. The sole design provides high levels of traction, and the lightweight, breathable uppers allow air to circulate. Designed for versatility, these boots are suited to city streets as well as long days on the trail.

With a much lower ankle profile and weight than a traditional hiking boot, The North Face Women’s Hedgehog FUTURELIGHT™ Shoes can adapt to a range of situations. The rubber sole provides grip on tricky terrain in both wet and dry conditions. Heel-positioning technology enhances stability, and additional cushioning increases comfort on day hikes.

For regular off-road running, look for specific trail running shoes. These shoes are designed for running, emphasising a flexible and lightweight construction. In addition, trail running shoes have a more durable construction than road or track running shoes. 

Thicker treads will maintain a grip on loose, uneven ground or in mud if the ground is wet. The design of the lugs and interior provides extra shock absorption for the soles of the feet.

The North Face VECTIV™ technology combines a 3D plate and rocker midsole to harness the energy of impact and propel you forwards. Extensive analysis and athlete testing have been applied in the construction process to increase stability and optimise your foot strike. The end result is a sure-footed feel that provides a kick to every step.

Our Women’s Flight Series Vectiv Shoes are engineered for peak performance on the trail. Foam footbeds and a moisture management system ensure comfortable performance. The sole is engineered for superior traction and durability, allowing you to run long distances without compromising performance.

Related: What should I be wearing for running?

Your choice of footwear is crucial for performance and protection. Think about your activities and choose footwear based on the type of terrain you’ll encounter most often. Consider weight, protection, flexibility and breathability to choose the perfect shoes or boots for your needs. Try on a range of footwear before you buy to ensure your shoes or boots are right for your feet.