The hiking camping trip is coming up, and there are miles of walking and challenging trails nearby.

If you’re like us, you’re trying to make the most of your trip, which is why you need to leave those tennis shoes behind.

Tennis shoes and sneakers are basically the same when it comes to material and traction, which are two of the main differences that we’re going to talk about today.

You’re expected to have a decent pair of hiking boots if you’re going to hit the trail, and here’s why:

Can you wear running shoes while hiking?

running shoes

There is a difference between trail running shoes and tennis shoes. So the short answer: Yes, you can go for a walk in running shoes.

Trail running shoes are the best type of running shoes for hiking and are often recommended by experienced hikers. Road running shoes won’t work as well as trail runners, but they can still work.

Why do tennis shoes and hiking don’t get along

The drawbacks of hiking tennis shoes are various. Soles on tennis shoes are not designed to hold surfaces found in hiking, such as gravel, rocks, and tree bark.

Tennis shoes are low-cut and do not provide the same ankle support and protection as hiking boots.

When you’re walking on rough, untapped soil instead of a city street or a path, you see a lot more road anomalies.

Tennis shoes and sneakers are designed to work on flat ground, so you won’t find much in the wild.

Tennis shoes also don’t provide any ankle support that you need to take a little slip off the chance.

You can see a pothole in the driveway, but you don’t know where the ground is when you step on it–not until you get hurt.

Then there’s the problem of defense, too, but we’re going to cover that more in-depth in the next article.

When you feel your tennis shoes right now, there’s basically nothing between you and the way it hurts in a natural environment. There are four main characteristics that tennis shoes lack.

The differences between tennis shoes and hiking boots

tennis shoes

Thinner material

Put your hand inside your tennis shoe and press it to the surface of the fabric.

Even if they’re leather shoes, they’re smaller than what you’d see on boots. Hiking boots are made with tougher materials, which leads to the next few benefits that we’re going to talk about.

No grip

You never know what’s going on out there.

Even if you went on a similar hiking trail last year, deforestation and flooding could have turned the regular spot into something you’re not fully familiar with.

You need as much traction as you can, so tennis shoes get covered in the dust very easily. They’re basically slip-and-slide on your feet, but hiking boots have cleats to help you hold on to every surface you’re walking on.

Easier to puncture

This is due to the thinner material in tennis shoes.

Hiking boots are usually made stronger with more sturdy leather and cushioning or padding between the inner and outer walls.

It means that even if you brush against something sharp, you’re going to find it harder to puncture a pair of hiking boots. Tennis shoe manufacturers don’t expect you to find sharp branches or thorn bushes.


Tennis shoes use a lot of textiles, nylon, and canvas, which ensures water falls into them very easily.

Hiking boots are almost universally built with leather in mind, providing a natural waterproof layer.

On top of that, even if you want to add a waterproof spray, it’ll stick to a pair of older hiking boots, but it won’t do much to beat up tennis shoes or sneakers.

What is special about hiking shoes?

tennis shoes

Hiking boots are shoes specifically designed to protect the feet and ankles during outdoor walking activities, such as hiking.
These are one of the most important items of hiking gear since their accuracy and longevity can determine the hiker’s ability to walk long distances without injury.

Do you need special shoes for hiking?

The main reason you need shoes is to protect your feet from the rocks and debris on the road. Hiking shoes should also have a good grip, keep your feet dry, and be light enough to move easily.
Most Appalachian trekkers use trail runnings. So maybe you don’t need hiking boots.


Opt for the right gear each time. We’ve covered each piece of gear you could ever need while out on the hiking trail or camping.

If you’re looking to take advantage of your outdoor experience, explore our posts, purchase guides, and equip yourself with an array of camping know-how and survival tips and tricks.

Your hiking boot choice is important: protection, stability, and traction on the hiking trail can be the difference between injury or an excellent ride.