Are Hiking Shoes Good for Walking? Expert Insights

By John C. Marcus
Updated: February 7, 2024
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One of the things that we do constantly in our lives is walk. It is a very regular and important human activity, but walking for maintaining good health is a little different. Because, to maintain good health, the walking habits that we usually follow have a good plan.

We walk continuously for 2 to 3 kilometers every day as exercise to keep ourselves fit. Walking times usually vary. Someone walks in the morning. Someone walks in the evening. However, it is important to have certain features in walking shoes to keep your feet healthy and comfortable for walking.

These features are:

  1. Fit
  2. Cushioning
  3. Stability
  4. Lightweight construction
  5. Firm heel counter
  6. Rocker-style bottom

The question now is, are hiking shoes good for walking? You can walk in any shoe, but you won’t feel comfortable doing it in all of them. Walking for fitness requires shoes that are lighter and more flexible, with greater comfort and a better heel counter.

Let’s Know More About Walking Shoes

Let’s Know More About Walking Shoes

All of the walking shoes we normally wear are primarily intended for fitness walking. Walking shoes are a good choice if you need a special shoe for everyday walking for 30 minutes to an hour.

A walking shoe must have comfort, alignment, a decent fit, good heel cushioning, stability, lightweight, and traction. These shoes are often designed to allow you to walk long distances without discomfort or foot fatigue.



Proper fit is one of the most important factors in choosing walking shoes. A lot depends on whether your shoes fit your feet properly. Because an improper fit can cause everything from inflaming your toenails to blisters and painful heels. Long miles of walking won’t bring you any discomfort if your walking shoes are of superior fit.

When choosing shoes, make sure that they are not too tight but also not too big. This is called a snug fit. It will fit snugly with at least a finger’s worth of room from your longest toe to the tip of your heel. For this reason, when buying shoes, buy one or at least half a size bigger than your casual shoes.


Walking shoes typically have far less cushioning than running shoes. Running puts much pressure on your feet, and regular walking normally does not put such pressure on your feet.

Good cushioning, on the other hand, helps reduce foot fatigue and keeps the feet healthier. It is also preferable to select EVA foam midsoles for all walking shoes. Though cushioning is entirely up to personal preference, You can select shoes with “zero drop” cushioning.



Hiking shoes and trail runners are more stable than a typical walking shoe. These shoes have a wider base, which makes them more durable. Though stability is not so important compared to fit, cushioning, and other criteria, it is still a feature that you should consider.

Lightweight Construction

Walking shoes are made in such a way that you will be less tired while walking. Because of this, manufacturers use very lightweight materials when manufacturing walking shoes, and as a result, your feet will not get tired even after walking long distances. Mesh or leather mesh is used to build the upper portion of the walking shoes to make them lighter and reduce foot fatigue.

Firm Heel Counter

Firm Heel Counter

To reduce overpronation while you are walking on the road, a very rigid heel counter is required. For those who have flat feet, a firm heel counter will assist you in keeping your feet from rolling inward while walking.

Rocker-style Bottom

When your foot rolls forward in the gait cycle, a walking shoe with a modest rocker bottom at the forefoot will assist you (simply stated, it helps with forward momentum). This function relieves pressure on the lower body’s joints, such as the lower back, knees, ankles, and feet. As a result, you will walk with reduced foot fatigue and greater comfort.

Let’s Know More About Hiking Shoes

Let’s Know More About Hiking Shoes

From 20-mile hikes to 2-3 months of hiking thousands of miles, manufacturers keep ‍special hiking shoe features in mind. In the later sections, I will discuss those special features that are quite important to have in hiking shoes. Let’s find out what features make hiking shoes stand out from other shoes.

Greater Grip and Traction

Greater Grip and Traction

To get better traction and grip on different surfaces like rocks, mud, roots, and loose gravel, a hiking shoe requires deep lugs on the outsole. That’s why manufacturers use rubber material to manufacture the outsoles. This provides a better grip on any surface.

Durable Construction

Hiking boots are designed with durability in mind to tackle rugged terrain and tough environments. Hiking shoes are made to be more durable to protect your feet from hard rocks, tree roots, and sharp objects while hiking.

This is a distinguishing feature of hiking shoes compared to walking shoes.

Ankle Support and Cushioning

Hiking boots always provide superior foot and ankle support to make your journey more comfortable. Sometimes, you can find this feature in a walking shoe, but manufacturers include this feature in a hiking shoe more specifically.

Hiking boots always provide superior foot and ankle support to make your journey more comfortable. While this feature can sometimes be found in walking shoes, it is more specifically included in hiking shoes.

Breathability and Waterproof Features

Breathability and Waterproof Features

Hiking shoes are made to be waterproof, so you can walk comfortably in rain, mud, and even on snow while hiking. This will keep your feet dry while walking, which will provide you with extra comfort.

Hiking shoes add breathability to this advantage, making them an ideal choice for couples who enjoy hiking or traveling together. When manufacturers design walking shoes, waterproofing is not as much a consideration as breathability. This is because, in bad weather, such as torrential rain, no one would think of walking for exercise. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t get waterproofing facilities in walking shoes.

Many hiking shoes are designed with couples in mind, offering both waterproof and breathable features for those embarking on outdoor adventures together. This ensures that both partners can enjoy their journey comfortably, regardless of the weather conditions. Hiking shoes are perfect for partners on memorable hikes and travels, making them an ideal choice for couples looking for adventure and comfort in their outdoor pursuits.

Many walking shoes also have this feature. Our specialist provides more information on waterproof hiking boots to learn more, click here.

Hiking Shoes vs. Walking Shoes: Key Difference

Hiking Shoes vs. Walking Shoes: Key Difference

Now I’m giving a comparison table, and this table provides mainly a general overview of the key differences between hiking shoes and walking shoes. However, it’s worth noting that there are many variations within each category. Some shoes may blur the lines between these two. Remember, always choose the footwear that best fits your specific needs and the conditions in which you’ll be using it.

FeaturesHiking ShoesWalking Shoes
Primary UseRough terrains, mountains and trails.Flat surfaces, sidewalks and urban areas.
TractionHigh traction outsoles for varied terrains.Moderate traction, suitable for flat paths.
Ankle SupportOften higher-cut to provide better ankle support.Typically, low-cut shoes offer less ankle support.
WeightHeavier than a typical walking shoe.Lighter than a good hiking boot.
Waterproof and BreathabilityOften waterproof and breathable.Typically breathable but not waterproof.
Toe ProtectionOften have a Reinforced toe box.Often have a soft or flexible toe box.
CushioningVariable cushioning, depending on design. Some are more rigid for stability.Consistent cushioning throughout for comfort on flat surfaces.
Lacing SystemOften more robust with hooks or locking and have mechanisms for a snug fit.Simple lacing systems.
DurabilityBuilt to withstand rough conditions and longer wear.Durable but not necessarily for rugged terrains.
PriceMore expensive due to specialized features.Typically less expensive due to normal features.

How to Choose the Right Walking Shoes?

How to Choose the Right Walking Shoes?

If you want to get comfort, prevent injuries, and improve your overall foot health, this step-by-step guide on choosing walking shoes will help you make the best choice.

Look for Stability in Your Walking Shoes

Look for a sturdy area around your heel. This helps you to stand on any slippery surface. The more sturdy the heel area is, the more stability you will get with your walking shoes. So, don’t forget to look for this feature in your footwear.

Look for Proper Cushioning

To get extra comfort, look for cushioning in the walking shoe. Well-cushioned shoes will reduce your foot fatigue and increase your comfort while walking on the street. Walking shoes typically have a soft inner sole, which mainly relieves the excessive pressure on your foot.


Shoes with lightweight features are definitely good for fitness walking. Walking shoes that are made with leather mesh or mesh fabric are good for your feet. Choosing mesh upper walking shoes can be a great choice.


A wide toe box gives your feet plenty of room. This is important for better comfort. So, you can check the toe box space against your feet and then try to walk wearing the shoes to examine if it feels uncomfortable or not.


There should be at least half an inch of space between your longest toe and the tip of your heel. So, while purchasing walking shoes, get one or at least half a size larger than your foot.

Top 5 Ways to Make Hiking Shoes More Comfortable for Everyday Walks

Top 5 Ways to Make Hiking Shoes More Comfortable for Everyday Walks

Making your hiking footwear more comfortable for everyday walks involves some important things. In this section, I’ll bring you the top five ways you can follow to make your hiking shoes more comfortable for daily use:

Proper Fit

You can have a wide or small foot, but the most important factor is appropriate shoe fitting. So, when purchasing hiking shoes, don’t overlook an accurate fit. The boots should fit firmly around your feet, which means they should not be too big or too small. Because your feet expand during the day, wear them in the afternoon. I mean, you should go to the store in the afternoon and try on some shoes.

Break Them In

Wear your hiking shoes around the house or on short walks before wearing them for extended daily walks. Breaking in hiking shoes is essential for increased comfort.  This softens the material and molds the shoe to your foot’s shape, minimizing the likelihood of blisters and discomfort.

Quality Insoles

The stock insoles that come with many hiking shoes may not offer the best support or cushioning. So, considering investing in aftermarket insoles can be a good idea. Choose insoles that provide better arch support and cushioning. You can check out many brands online to get the best product.

Wear Moisture-Wicking Socks

A good pair of socks can make a world of difference, trust me. You can opt for moisture-wicking materials like Merino wool. This type of sock can help prevent blisters by keeping your feet dry. These material-made socks also provide additional cushioning and reduce friction. To delve into my expertise for a comprehensive guide on selecting the perfect socks to wear with hiking boots, click here.

Regular Maintenance

Keep your hiking shoes clean and well-maintained after every walk. You can clean your shoes once or twice a week. If your shoes get wet, let them dry naturally. Don’t use direct heat sources.

You can occasionally condition the leather. This will keep them supple and prevent them from cracking.

Wrap Up

You can wear your hiking shoes to walk; you can cover a long distance with your favorite pair, but it is advisable to use the proper shoes for proper purposes. For running, you should choose better running shoes; for hiking, you should take hiking shoes; and for fitness walking, you need walking shoes. Using hiking shoes for walking is not a good idea because they are more expensive and heavier than a pair of walking shoes.

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John C. Marcus

John C. Marcus

John's deep insights into the intricacies of leather quality, boot design, and manufacturing processes have earned him a well-deserved reputation. His writings reflect his profound understanding and passion for the craft, making him a sought-after voice in the industry.

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