I don't generally believe in having different clothes for different occasions, and neither do I have a cupboard full of shoes and accessories to flaunt different styles when I go to a party. But one thing I do own is an assortment of fitness trainers, running gear, and workout apparel. After my initiation into running, I learned quite soon that different terrains require different types of shoes. When I moved from road-running to trail-running, my foot started to get sore quickly and my motivation began to wear away. That’s when I decided to switch to trail-running shoes, and then felt my task become much easier. It is imperative for a comfortable experience that you make the right choice when selecting your shoes.

How Trail-Running Shoes are Different from Road-Running Shoes

Road-running shoes are lightweight shoes made with the purpose of providing the runner with responsive speed on smooth surfaces. They are not meant to be durable and protective like trail-running shoes. Built for speed, these shoes are available in a wide variety of styles and designs.

On the other hand trail-running shoes offer much more protection than road running-shoes. Generally heavier, sturdier and more durable than road running shoes; these shoes make the task of running on an uneven trail much more convenient. Trail-running shoes allow your foot and ankle to maintain your body balance and prevent you from falling when you move over small obstacles. The beefed-up torsional support, along with added support underfoot, makes them ideal for running.

Is it possible to wear trail-running shoes on pavement or treadmills?

Yes, it is - but it's not ideal. If you already know before buying your shoes that you will be using them on the treadmill along with trails, opt for lighter shoes that offer flexibility and have a responsive design. In case you only want shoes for treadmills and pavements, it is advised that you select road-running shoes.

Will my road running shoes work on trails?

Of course they will, but with some limitations. If the trail is smooth and well-groomed with a few rocks, road-running shoes will likely work just fine. In case you already have running shoes, you can give them a try on your favorite trails and see if you feel comfortable. If not, you can move over to trail-running shoes for better comfort, convenience, and prevention of the injuries.

Is it OK to wear trail running shoes on hikes?

Trail-running shoes are meant for trails. You can wear them on a hike for a comfortable experience, however, you should not wear them for a long hike or a backpacking trip. It is a matter of personal choice when it comes to trail-running shoes for long hikes as some backpackers like them and some do not. There is a school of thought amongst backpackers that they aren't supportive enough for the added weight and mileage. I suggest that if you are planning to go for long distance hikes, it is better to invest in hiking shoes rather than trail-running shoes.

So which type of shoe should I get?

Ask yourself what you like to do the most. In case you love the nature and frequent trails more often than roads, it is better to buy trail runners. Or if you are a road runner with no inclination towards natural trails, you can buy road-runners. If you are absolutely in love with both these activities, it won’t be a waste of money if you buy both.