Trail Runners vs. Hikers: What You Need to Know!

Trail Runners vs. Hikers: What You Need to Know!

Many recreational hikers often think that in order to enjoy the trails, they need to invest in a pair of hiking boots. Before you commit yourself to a pair of hiking boots, consider the following.

Although hiking boots protect the feet and ankles from uneven trail surfaces, they are often too heavy and cumbersome for the average recreational hiker. It is said that a pound of weight on the foot is equal to five pounds in the pack.

Three ways trail runners differ from hiking boots:

  1. Weight: Trail runners average about 11 to 12 ounces (size 9 men’s) while hiking boots can weigh up to 3 pounds or more.
  2. Upper: Trail runners are made with more breathable uppers.
  3. Terrain: Trail runners suitable for a variety of different terrain from hard-packed gravel to muddy trails.

Trail runners are a much more accessible shoe for the average person that enjoys hiking and exploring their local trails. They are lightweight, comfortable and offer more protection than a regular runner without compromising the hiking experience.

Top three benefits of trail runners:

  1. If you want to wear a lighter shoe, trail runners are lighter and offer better agility.
  2. If you are looking to enjoy the trail but do not want cumbersome footwear, trail runners are more comfortable to wear and have less of a break in period.
  3. For those of us who don’t fit the mould, trail runners offer a wider variety of fits and widths and are more accessible for different foot shapes.

WATCH: Trail Hiking vs. Trail Running Shoes

That being said, because of their durability and ankle support, hiking boots are still the preferable option for certain types of hikes. Hiking boots would be better suited for multi-day excursions, very technical and steep terrain and hikes where you are carrying a heavy pack.

When to use hiking boots:

  1. Use hiking boots when you are hiking on unstable, technical terrain that requires a sturdy shoe and more ankle support.
  2. Hiking boots offer protection for your feet over long or multi-day excursions.
  3. A heavy pack can throw off your balance and a stable shoe can protect you from injuring yourself.

When to use trail runners:

  1. For shorter hikes on less technical terrain such as Quarry Rock in Deep Cove.
  2. When you would like a lighter weight shoe and better agility for powering up the Grouse Grind.
  3. If you have a wider foot and can’t fit into traditional hiking boots, a good alternative is to trail runners because of their less rigid structure and variable styles and shapes.

Hiking your local trails is a great way to get exercise while spending time with friends and family. The right footwear can help you avoid injury and make it an enjoyable experience.

Check out our top 5 favourite trail runners this spring!


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