Trail Running Shoes vs Hiking Shoes: Which to Choose

Lovers of the great outdoors may wonder whether trail running shoes or hiking shoes are right for their next adventure. Each with its own unique benefits, you’ll enjoy every step in comfort in either trail running shoes or hiking shoes. Our ultimate guide walks you through the features of each shoe and how they can benefit you on your run or hike. With all the information, you’ll be able to decide which pair is right for you!


Trail running refers to any run that is not on a paved surface. Whilst hiking focuses on tackling challenging terrain including ricky uphill routes, also along trails, often in the countryside or mountains. Completed on similar terrain, you may be wondering if it’s really necessary to have different shoes for each occasion. Hiking shoes have supportive ankle shafts to help prevent uncomfortable twisting when climbing rocky areas. Whilst trail running shoes are far more flexible, encouraging you to run at your personal best. Deciding which is right for you is a completely personal decision as to whether you think  trail running shoes or hiking shoes will suit you and your needs most. Understanding the benefits and features of trail running shoes vs hiking shoes will help you to decide.


The differences between trail running shoes and hiking shoes are what will ultimately inform your decision as to which to choose. Our handy guide shows you exactly what each shoe is best for and what features each holds.

The major difference between these two outdoor footwear types is their height. Hiking boots have a higher shaft that covers and protects the ankle, whilst trail running shoes are a more traditional sneaker shape. The difference in shape of trail running shoes vs hiking boots also affects the weight of the shoe. When you’re on a long walk, the last thing you want is heavy footwear, that’s why opting for  lightweight hiking shoes or trail running sneakers is preferable! Each type of sneaker or boot has its own advantages and delving into these is essential before making your choice as to which to pick.


We adore the great outdoors and believe your footwear should help you enjoy all your adventures to the fullest. Our range of  sustainable shoes has both trail running sneakers and hiking boots. Crafted from  merino wool, our Wool Cross X Sneakers and Wool Cross X Alpine Boots offer all the incredible quality this material has to offer. This type of wool is moisture wicking, odor-resistant, temperature regulating, and breathable! All features you need for a super comfy run, walk, or stroll outside.

wool cross x alpine from giesswein


Comparing trail running shoes vs hiking shoes, trail runners have their own unique benefits. Their traditional sporty shape makes them ideal for not just trail running, but also hiking, sports, and daily use. In fact, these trail running shoes will take you from the mountains to the city with ease as a pair of  casual sneakers. Ideal, trail running shoes will become a staple for all your adventures. 

Comfort is key when it comes to deciding between trail running shoes and hiking shoes, and Giesswein’s  Wool Cross X sneakers offer just that. Our trail running shoes are the first high-performance sports shoe lined with merino wool. This brilliant natural material offers numerous advantages to trail running shoes, including:

  • Moisture wicking - merino wool is a naturally moisture wicking material. This means that any sweat from your feet is wicked away to the outside of the shoe. Keeping your feet feeling dry and fresh throughout your run, even when worn as barefoot trail shoes.
  • Breathable - our feet need to breathe, especially when we’re doing exercise. As a natural fibre, one of  merino wool’s properties is that it is breathable, making it ideal for trail running shoes.
  • Water resistant - nature can be unpredictable, and keeping your feet dry from unexpected puddles and downpours will ensure you enjoy your run. Opting for  water resistant shoes is one way to do just this.
  • Antibacterial - the wool we use is an  antibacterial material, this helps to fight smells as well as keeping your feet as healthy as possible.
  • Lightweight - weighing in at just 550 grams, you’ll be light on your feet in these shoes.  
  • Temperature regulating - an important feature to ensure you can use these shoes year round is temperature regulation. Our trial running shoes will keep your feet warm in the colder months, and comfortable in the hotter parts of the year.
  • Anti-odor - taking on challenging terrain you can get a little sweaty, which can sometimes lead to smelly feet. Luckily our trail running shoes are anti-odor, so you won’t have nasty smells at the end of the day!

All of these benefits make the Wool Cross X a great choice when choosing between trail running shoes vs hiking shoes. Whether you’re running your favorite trail, or taking on a new peak, they’ll carry you through.


Hiking shoes also have their own unique benefits when compared to trail running shoes. The primary advantage of hiking shoes is the shaft that protects your ankles. For hikes in rougher or more vegetative terrain this is ideal. Covering and supporting your ankle,  good walking shoes will help to protect against sprains and vicious plants. However, this isn’t their only incredible advantage, our Wool Cross X Alpine shoes have many more:

  • Moisture wicking - like trail running shoes, our hiking shoes are also moisture wicking.
  • Temperature regulating - traditional hiking shoes can often be too warm in the summer months. However, crafted from merino wool, ours are perfect as both  summer hiking boots and  winter boots due to their temperature regulation.
  • Breathable - you’ll also find that when it comes to trail running shoes vs hiking shoes, both offer breathable options. 
  • 100% Waterproof - hiking shoes should see you through every season, that’s why our Wool Cross X Alpine’s are  waterproof hiking shoes. With these on your feet you’ll be able to splash through puddles with no problems!
  • Snow-approved - alongside being waterproof, they are also snow-approved. This incredible feature will mean you can enjoy your favorite outdoor spots in their most peaceful, snow-covered times.
  • Anti-odor - keeping odors at bay, you won’t be met with a nasty surprise when taking these hiking shoes off at the end of the day. 
  • Antibacterial - the wool is antibacterial, staving off unwanted germs.
  • Stable - the padded, half-height shaft is designed to offer both stability and support. Whilst the micro-grip sole is designed to keep you stable on all types of terrain.
  • Lightweight - keeping your hiking gear as lightweight as possible is vital for an enjoyable expedition. We crafted lightweight hiking shoes to ensure you aren’t weighed down on your journey.

When comparing hiking shoes vs trail running shoes, the padded shaft does make the shoes slightly less versatile. For instance, you may find it tricky to run in this footwear as it’s designed to give your ankles and feet proper support. However, this makes them amazing for more rocky terrain as your ankles will be held in place no matter what steps you take.


Now you’ve discovered the benefits of trail running shoes vs hiking shoes, you can make an informed decision as to which are perfect for you. For those who enjoy both hiking and trail running, you may lean more towards trail running shoes. The trail shoes will offer you more flexibility to take on runs compared to the padded hiking shoes. However, for the lover of long hikes all year round, hiking shoes could be the perfect choice. With their waterproofing and stability, you’ll adore watching the seasons change in these trail sneakers that are perfect as  travel shoes. Both offer extreme comfort, so we know you’ll enjoy every step supported by either trail running shoes or hiking shoes. 


After a long hike there’s nothing better than putting your feet up. Our  slippers crafted from virgin wool are the ideal partner for when you get home. Designed to be  cozy slippers that keep feet warm and comfortable, you’ll never want to take them off again.


We are a family-run merino wool brand. We craft innovative footwear, utilising the unparalleled benefits of the wool. Our range of comfortable  men’s slippers and  women’s slippers are made from  virgin wool, and are ideal for putting your feet up after a long walk. 

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