hi my name’s Liv I’m often asked if someone would be able to go backpacking or hiking in their trail runner shoes and the answer is absolutely so today we’re just gonna take a little bit of time and talk about the differences between hiking boots as well as trail runners so some of the benefits that you might notice for hiking boots or that you’ve got a much more durable and stable made shoe it’s constructed in a way that’s able to keep off and wick away moisture mud snow any elements that you might be encountering on the trail as well as some stability for your ankle in your foot in general when it comes to the benefits of trail running shoes evolve you’ve got a couple options there’s a lot of versatility and in what’s on the shelf for you and you can go with a lighter shoe that’s gonna have a lot more breathability and ease of use for your simpler hikes or you can go with something that’s a little bit more rugged it’s got some support to it there and it’s also going to breathe a whole lot better than most hiking boots well and backpacking boots but it’s got enough structure for it that you can take it off trail if you need to it can hold up to those roots a little bit better you’ve still got something that’s extremely lightweight it’s very breathable for those hotter days as well as something that’s going to give your feet a little bit more range of movement there now with some of the downsides of hiking boots so you’ve got more of a break-in period with these guys here you’ve got to give them some time to get comfortable on your feet and whichever situation that you’ll be dealing with and you’ve also got a substantially heavier boot when compared to trail runners as far as the cons for trail running shoes you’ve got to deal with a shoe that’s not going to have the same amount of life as as far as years or trail miles as most hiking boots well and you’ve also got a shoe that’s not going to have as much support for you so with all of that information what it comes down to is what are you doing if you’re gonna be doing something that’s a little bit more burly and you’re gonna have a heavy pack on your back forty fifty pounds and you’re cranking out those miles going far far and high if you will go with a hiking but you’re gonna get that stability in there you’re gonna have your ankle protected against any kind of dam or injury that might uh might happen to occur as well as you’re gonna be able to to get a lot of years of use out of these guys when it comes down to just really want to get out there go fast go light you’re not carrying a whole lot of weight on your back go with a trail running shoe it’s gonna be able to get you there farther and faster at the same time if you can make it work have both they’re both gonna work out for you depending on what you’re doing and that’s what it comes down to here if you are happening to lean on the side of hiking boots we’ve got a tutorial video for you they can show you how to break these guys and as we discuss maybe you’re erring on the side of going with something that’s a lot lighter weight we can show you how to fit your running shoes in the video that’s coming up next thanks guys

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Dennis Veasley

21 thoughts on “Compare: Hiking Boots vs. Trail Runners || REI”

  1. Still have that "one trail" I can't figure out what to wear on. Fourteen water crossings in 10.4 miles. Some knee deep. Trail mostly jagged tennis ball sized rocks. I want to wear a GTX with the dual layer thin-under-wool socks. But, constantly changing out to river shoes and back is draining the fun out of the trail.

    I would go for the trail runners, but the soft soles would kill my feet on those rocks. But they would drain and dry.
    Can't keep changing out of my boots. But, I love those solid soles. Stable as a Mack truck with trekking poles.

    Would REI consider carrying a product like Wiggy's Lightweight Waders for river crossings? Or recommend a similar product or better solution? Please and thank you.

  2. I couldn't tell you which is better I have 3 pairs of merrells  2 moab  water proof and ventilator  and a pair of fraxions     and 1 pair of adidas  trail runners   I guess how many miles you want to go   I will say   is that the merrells will grip wet rocks like glue   the trail runners are for like just a few miles    I will tell you more    soon

  3. I'm a trail runner show guy. Been 600 miles in mine since June. Just submitted Whitney in them 9.21.18. Very light and breathable.

  4. One thing to consider is age. I’m 60 and my wife is….well let’s skip that ! As you get older you’ll probably have foot issues and wind up with prescription arch supports and in my case, arthritis in my feet. I wear Oboz now in low top and 3/4 and love them. Shoes too tight in the toes are painful. Wife wears trail boots, light weight Vasque I think, when we hike. She loves the support and stability. We’re finishing up a 2 week trip in Alaska and most of our gear came from REI. Great kit!

  5. Well presented. There are many videos of folks using the trail runner shoes on their long distance through hikes. However, as you stated in the video, it depends on the individual hiker. I LOVE my hiking shoes BECAUSE they do not have a heal on them like most hiking and trail running shoes have these days. So, my preference on short and long distance are my hiking boots. I feel confident in them and I am able to climb rocks and mountains in them. IThanks REI for this post.

  6. Another difference, at least for me: the soles of my feet get sore and my plantar fasciitis flares up when I wear trail runners on rooty/rocky trails, but not when I wear my low Oboz hikers with sturdier bottoms; so now I only use my runners on smoother and/or shorter trails. Anyway, I’ve been switching between the two all year and found it’s sure worth experimenting to see what works for your particular feet!

  7. You forgot to mention the trail runners are prettier too. Good comparison of the two types. Trail runners for trail running and hiking boots for actual hiking for when you really are serious about hiking. Yes difficult to break-in, heavier, not near as pretty either. Just don't confuse the two for what they were designed for as you never know what you are going to "Run" into.

  8. For me, now that I’m having foot problems that prevent me from wearing lighter shoes these days, certain variations of boots (especially Oboz) and Dansko Pro XPs are what works for me.

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