Are Running Shoes Good For Trail Running?

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Running Shoes vs Trail Running Shoes - Differences & Similarities

Running shoes vs. trail running shoes: just like their names, they also share some similarities and differences in nature. But the actual purpose of each is totally parallel. As I said earlier in my other article – Shoes are like tools, you need different tools for different situations. There are some specific differences but there are still a lot of similarities between these motion control shoes.

I’ve seen a good amount running shoes equivalent in features to a track running shoe and been used for running on soft trail and uneven surfaces. But I will not recommend it for Hard Trail running, hiking, and Climbing. A best trail runner is must, if you’re going on a wild adventure. Because conditions are going to be tough there.

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The road running shoes are specially designed for running on paved surface. They’re not like climbing shoes but they’re durable enough to survive trails and wet surfaces for once but not for too long. Moreover, they’ve less capability to protect your feet while rucking or hiking on extreme levels. 

A hiking shoe or a trail running shoe is built differently in comparison with running shoes. They’re more durable, long lasting, have better traction on the outsoles, and firm cushioning in the midsole to protect your feet and make them fresh all the time. 

Here we’ll discuss the 3 most prime differences between these anti slip shoes

  • Upper Material
  • Midsole Cushion
  • Outsole Traction Pattern



The trail running shoes you can see in the picture have a lot of lugs with engineered patterns. Those are to give you a lot of grip when you’re going over varied surfaces, routes, rocks, or mud.  You definitely want that traction when you’re out on the trail by comparison in your road shoes.

Running shoe

The road running shoes are intended to give you a stable consistent surface for running over paved ground. They provide an extremely comfortable ride while running with them on paved surfaces. One other difference to keep in mind is that some trail shoes have a stickier outsole. Not quite all the way to climbing shoes, but that stickiness on the rubber is going to give you more grip when you’re out on trail.


Midsole trail

Trail shoes are going to be a little bit stiffer all the way through, they really give you support when you’re out in the dirt. One other thing to keep in mind is that some trail shoes also have rock plates. So, that’s a bit of extra material in the midsole of the trail shoe. A rock plate is basically going to protect your feet from anything pointing.

Running shoe midsole

The midsole of a running shoe is generally made of different types of foam. So, they can give you a little more control when you’re running over that paved surface. The Road shoes don’t tend out Rock plates like trail or hiking shoes. In terms of keeping your foot from pronating a little, whereas your trail running shoes are just going to be stiff all the way around.


Upper trail

The upper of hiking and trail running shoes is generally made of sturdy materials for durability. But that’s make it a little burlier but protective. Most of the trail runners are made of waterproof material for wet conditions. The trail conditions are very tough, you need a better protection for your shoe and for feet. And trail runners are specially made for this purpose but not for speed or long distance running. Additionally, while there are verity of styles, colors, and different designs these trail runners look stylish and also be used for casual wear.

Running shoe upper

Unfortunately, the road running shoe doesn’t have those protection features, but the plus side of running shoes is not having all that reinforcement that they tend to be. They’re a little lighter than your trail running or climbing shoes.

FIT is also an important part of the shoe, if you’re thinking about either buying road running shoes or trail shoes. Go see our Article “How to measure your Shoe size at home?” This will help you get the fit you want. So, always wear the right shoe while going for a trail adventure. But if you have a limited budget and are looking for a multi purpose outdoor shoe, let me help you with that. There are waterproof shoes in the market that work great in extreme and demanding situations.

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