Can You Use Hiking Shoes for Walking?

Can You Use Hiking Shoes for Walking

I love hiking and because of this, I usually have multiple pairs of hiking shoes laying around my house.  

However, I can’t always make it to a hiking trail due to lack of time or poor weather conditions.  So I wondered if I could use a pair of my hiking shoes to take a quick walk around my neighborhood to at least get a little exercise in for the day.  

But should you use hiking shoes for walking?

What I found out is even though there are some design differences between a hiking shoe and a walking shoe, such as a more rugged design and aggressive tread pattern, you can use hiking shoes for walking as they make a good substitute for walking shoes.

Are Hiking Shoes Good for Walking?

Hiking Shoes


However, just because hiking shoes make a good substitute for walking shoes, does that mean that hiking shoes are actually good for walking?

While you can definitely substitute hiking shoes for walking shoes in a pinch.  If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking, it’s best to use a pair of walking shoes instead of hiking shoes.

This is because there are design differences between walking shoes and hiking shoes that can make hiking shoes more cumbersome and challenging to use for walking over extended periods of time.  

The Differences Between Walking and Hiking Shoes

There are several key design differences between walking shoes and hiking shoes that can have a big impact on comfort and performance.  

So let’s take a closer look at a typical walking shoe and a typical hiking shoe to see how they differ and how these differences impact walking ability.  


Walking Shoes vs Hiking Shoe Upper

Usually the upper of a hiking shoe is made from durable materials such as heavy-duty canvas or leather while a walking shoe’s upper will usually be made from mesh or lightweight canvas.

The reason for this is that hiking shoes are designed for more rugged applications such as hiking across rough terrain while walking shoes are designed for lighter duty and casual walking so they don’t need the same level of protection.


The midsole in each shoe is another key difference between walking shoes and hiking shoes.

As hiking shoes tend to have a much more robust and thicker midsole when compared to walking shoes which provides more cushioning and padding for navigating over rocks and challenging terrain.  

All this extra cushioning on the midsole of a hiking shoe comes at a cost though in the form of extra weight.  This is one of the reasons why hiking shoes are heavier than walking shoes. 


Walking Shoe vs Hiking Shoe Sole

One of the easiest ways to tell hiking shoes and walking shoes apart is by looking at the sole of the shoe. 

As hiking shoes tend to have a thicker and more rugged sole compared to walking shoes.

This is because these two types of shoes were again designed for very different purposes.  As hiking shoes were designed for traversing rugged and uneven trails while the walking shoe was designed for more casual walking on even and mostly paved surfaces.  

Tread Pattern

Walking Shoe vs Hiking Shoe Tread Pattern

The final key difference between walking shoes and hiking shoes is the tread pattern on the bottom of the shoe.  

Walking shoes tend to have a very light tread pattern with very little pronunciation while hiking shoes will have a very aggressive tread pattern providing more grip and better traction over rough terrain.

Final Thoughts on the Differences Between Walking Shoes and Hiking Shoes

As you can see from above there are quite a few design differences between walking shoes and hiking shoes.  And because of these design differences, each type of shoe is best suited for specific uses.  

Walking shoes are designed to maximize comfort by keeping the shoe as light and flexible as possible, which allows the shoe to be worn for long periods of time comfortably and without fatigue.

While hiking shoes are designed to maximize durability and ruggedness to provide better foot protection over rough and uneven terrain.  

Can You Wear Hiking Shoes on Pavement?

Yes, you can wear hiking shoes on pavement, keep in mind though that hiking shoes were not made or intended for concrete or pavement. 

And excessively wearing hiking shoes on pavement can wear down the tread pattern of the hiking shoes faster than normal, ultimately shortening the life of the hiking shoe.

Can You Wear Hiking Shoes Every Day?

While you could technically wear hiking shoes every day, there are shoes that would be more comfortable to wear on a day-to-day basis such as walking shoes or running shoes.

This is because hiking shoes were not designed or intended for everyday use and instead were designed to stand up to the rigors and stresses of hiking over rough terrain. 

Because of this, hiking shoes will more than like be too heavy and rigid for comfortable everyday use as they are extreme overkill for casually walking around town.  

So if you are looking for a good everyday shoe it’s best to go with a sneaker-style shoe such as a walking shoe or a running shoe.   As these types of shoes will be lighter and far more comfortable for everyday use.  


Jason Kidd

Jason is an avid lover of camping, hiking, and well just about anything outdoors. He is both a writer and editor for Outside Pulse and has been camping and hiking for over 20 years.

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