There are many reasons that light weight trail tennis shoes are the best for long distance hiking and backpacking.
- They are light weight and therefore considerably less effort to lift thousands of times each day.
- They breath easier, keep your feet drier and reduce the risk of blisters.
- When you have to cross a creek, they dry out faster.
- They are comfortable.
- Your feet can swell for several reasons – heat, long hikes, high altitude – a tennis shoe can accommodate this swelling more easily than a boot.
Be sure to test and find the trail tennis shoe that fits you, is comfortable, doesn’t cause you blisters. One cardinal rule that marathon coaches tell runners on their first marathon is to not do anything new in the race. Only wear, eat, drink those items you have trained in. This applies to a big hike also — no new shoes on a big hike!
Tread and good footing
Nearly every brand of running shoe makes one or more trail runners with good treads and features like velcro for gators to keep rocks and sticks out. Trail tread is helpful for those patches of snow, mud and crossing streams. These treads can supply traction that equals a good boot.
Trail running has become so popular in North America and Europe that shoe makers are heavily competing to make designs that are tough enough for runners to train and run 100 mile runs on the same trails we all hike and backpack on. You can trust these trail runners to do the job.
Check out Runner’s World testing of 26 trail running shoe models for 2016 for a rundown on the choices.