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Are Tennis Shoes Good For Hiking?

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Hiking is an activity that involves going for a long walk, through the countryside, either on the hills or mountains. It is such a pleasurable and wonderful experience to hike through nature and enjoy the beauty of the scenery.

Hiking allows you to clear your mind from stress and overcome the fear of heights. Since hiking is a physical activity, it requires good equipment such as durable hiking boots/shoes, backpacking, etc.

But the reality is not a lot of people have the price budget to afford quality equipment such as hiking boots. This leads up to the question, are tennis shoes good for hiking?

In this post, I want to address this debatable question and give you a clear and honest perspective on whether it’s worth wearing a tennis shoe for hiking. If you are ready let’s dive into the debate.


If we are going to answer this debatable question, we need to look at durability. Generally speaking, hiking boots are more durable than tennis shoes.

Hiking on tough terrain

This is because they are made up of a combination of nylon and split-grain leather or suede material.

This makes it lightweight and moderately durable. On top of that, mesh panels are frequently included to add breathability.

Tennis shoes, on the other hand, are normally made of a rubber sole that is flexible. Whiles the upper is made of canvas or leather which makes it lightweight.

Looking at these comparisons in terms of durability, hiking boots have the upper hand when going for a hike. Tennis shoes would probably wear out quickly.

Lightweight or Heavyweight?

This is one of the key features that tennis shoes would excel when using them for a hike compared to hiking boots. Tennis shoes are generally lightweight which is likely to put less pressure and stress on your feet as you hike for long hours.

Let’s be honest when you hike in hiking boots or even hiking shoes, after a while your feet get very tire and start to ache. Therefore, using tennis shoes for a long hike would give you more comfort and flexibility on the trails.


Having warm and sunny weather makes hiking a lovely and enjoyable activity. However, when it starts to rain it can be a tough journey to the hills or mountains. That’s why having a boot/shoe that has waterproof is essential and even a necessity.

Salomon hiking boots

Most hiking boots brand such as Salomon, Lowa, etc tends to include waterproof in their hiking boots.

This gives you good protection on the trails if it’s going to rain or if you step in mud.

Unfortunately, tennis shoes lack this feature and you are going to have a really tough time hiking in them when it’s raining. This could make your hiking trip a painful experience.


If you are going to go hiking, you are going to deal with a lot of different trails. Some trails are smooth and others are rough. That’s why having good outsole is vital to your success on the trails.

Tennis shoe outsole is specifically designed for court traction. This allows you to grip the court surface firmly and it gives you comfort as you play on it. Also, tennis shoe outsole is durable compared to other sports shoes such as running shoes.

This leads to the question, are tennis shoes outsole ideal for hiking trails? The simple answer is YES and NO.

If you are going to go on hiking trails that are less rough and smooth then it would be perfect. However, if you are going on a very long trail that is very rough then I wouldn’t recommend it.

Hiking boots outsole comes in different varieties such as lug and aggressive pattern. This allows you to have good traction on the trails and stability.


Now let’s talk about the budget. Most people who go on a hike are not avid hikers, so they aren’t willing to invest a lot of money to buy high-quality boots.

Therefore, they would rather buy something that is fairly cheap that can serve them for a few hiking trips. A good hiking boot that would last you many years would cost you on average around £90 – £400.

Tennis shoes are also on a similar budget but a little less. It is somewhere along the lines of £80 – £250. So depending on your budget and the type of hiking trip you would be undertaking, it’s up to you to decide which one suits you.

Final Verdict

Hiking on the hills - Are Tennis Shoes Good For Hiking?

Looking at the arguments presented in this post, it seems logical not to wear tennis shoes for hiking. But here is my perspective overall:

If you are going to go for a short hike let’s assume 1-2 hours that have less rough trails with sunny weather, then I would say wearing a tennis shoe is not a big issue.

However, if you are going to go on a long hike, with rain and rough terrain then hiking boots are perfect boots.

In addition, it is important that you invest heavily in the equipment you would be using for your hiking trip.

This way you have the best possible experience on your trip and hopefully, it would last you for a long time.


Can you wear sneakers to hike?

Again if you are going for a short hike with less rough terrain with sunny weather then I would say yes. However, if you are going on a long hike with tough terrain then wearing sneakers is not advisable.

You could hurt your self easily because sneakers don’t usually give you good traction and stability on the trails.

Are leggings good for hiking?

The simple and straight forward answer is yes. Although it is important to do your research and select the right leggings for your trip. This well-written post would be a use to you.

Is it better to hike in shorts or leggings?

With this question, there are no hard and fast rules. It depends on different factors such as the weather, the journey and how the person feels when wearing either one of them.

So try both of them and see which one you like the most. Then wear that to your hiking trip.

Can you wear hiking shoes everyday?

Yes, you can wear your hiking shoes every day and even use it to do your daily activities such as walking to the park. But it’s important to bear in mind that, it could wear out quickly.

What is the difference between hiking shoes and sneakers?

There are a few differences between hiking shoes and sneakers.

Nike shoe

Firstly, hiking shoes feature more of an aggressive tread on the sole than sneakers.

Sneakers sole is designed for flat surfaces such as the gym. Whiles hiking boots sole are designed for rough terrain.

Secondly, sneakers don’t have durable materials when compared to hiking shoes. This is why hiking shoes can deal with the tougher conditions on the hiking trails than sneakers.

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