Can You Hike In Basketball Shoes?

can you hike in basketball shoes

Basketball shoes are usually meant for one thing: playing basketball. In my case – very poorly. I’m actually not too bad, but age has caught up with me. I’m the guy who gets winded after 5 minutes and trips over his own feet (which happened last week). All you non-athletic types out there probably feel the same way I do when it comes to playing sports in general. We just suck at it.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the outdoors! When it comes to most types of shoes, in general, many people think that they can simply put them on and go for a hike, but this is not always the case.

Before hitting the trail in your basketball shoes, you need to consider several factors. This article will discuss what to look for when choosing hiking shoes and why basketball shoes may not be the best option for outdoor activities. 

Are Basketball Shoes Good For Hiking?

So, you want to know if you can hike in basketball shoes? The quick answer is: probably not.

Basketball shoes are designed for playing a sport on a hard, flat surface. This means that they don’t have the same features as hiking shoes, which are meant for walking on uneven and often slippery terrain.

To make this simple, I’ll break down the functionality, traction, ankle support, and more.


Hiking shoes are designed to give you traction and support on all terrain, whether walking on a gravel path or scrambling up a rocky hill. They typically have a lugged sole, which means that they have deep treads that grip the ground. This is important because it helps to prevent slips and falls.

On the other hand, basketball shoes have a flat sole with very little tread. This is because they’re meant for playing on a smooth, hard surface like a basketball court. The lack of tread can actually be dangerous on slippery or uneven terrain.


Hiking shoes have aggressive traction that helps you grip the ground, even on slippery or loose surfaces. Basketball shoes have very little traction, which can cause you to slip and fall on wet or icy terrain.

Ankle Support

Hiking shoes have high ankle support to prevent rolled ankles. Most basketball shoes also have high ankle support for the same reason. Unfortunately, I’ve still had my fair share of ankle rolls and even an ankle fracture from basketball shoes back in my day.

However, the difference is that hiking shoes have a stiffer sole, which gives you more support on uneven terrain. Basketball shoes have a softer sole, which is great for running and jumping on a hard, flat surface. But on uneven terrain, this can still cause your ankle to roll.


Hiking shoes are usually waterproof or water-resistant to keep your feet dry on wet terrain. Basketball shoes are not typically waterproof because, well, you’re typically not playing in the rain or snow. (Unless you’re that dedicated, and if that’s the case – more power to you!)


Hiking shoes are meant to be comfortable for long walks on different types of terrain. They typically have more padding and support than basketball shoes. Basketball shoes are meant to be comfortable for running and jumping on a smooth surface.

So, while they may be comfortable walking short distances, they’re not meant for the comfort of long hikes.

Other Considerations

There are a few other things to consider when deciding whether or not to hike in your basketball shoes.

First, basketball shoes are typically made of synthetic materials, which can cause blisters and hot spots on your feet. Hiking shoes are usually made of natural materials like leather, which are more breathable and comfortable.

Second, basketball shoes are usually heavier than hiking shoes. This might not seem like a big deal, but when you’re hiking for miles, the extra weight can really wear you down.

Finally, basketball shoes are designed for running and jumping, which means that they don’t have as much padding in the heel and toe area. This can be a problem on rocky terrain, where you might stub your toe or get a stone bruise.

Overall, I would not recommend hiking in basketball shoes. They simply don’t have the same features as hiking shoes and can be dangerous on uneven or slippery terrain.

Can You Do Light Hiking With Basketball Shoes?

When it comes to casual strolls and light hiking, basketball shoes are actually a decent option.

They have enough traction to grip the ground and are usually comfortable enough to walk in for short distances. However, when it comes to tougher hikes, I would stay away and opt for a traditional hiking boot or shoe.

And if you do decide to hike in your basketball shoes, be sure to watch your step and take extra care on slippery or uneven terrain.


If you’re planning on hitting the trails, be sure to leave your basketball shoes at home. The soles are designed for gripping a hardwood court, not gripping rocks and roots. A good pair of hiking shoes will have treads that grip the ground well and protect your feet from sharp objects. So lace up a good pair of hikers and hit the trail – just don’t try any slam dunks along the way!

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