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.