Converse shoes are flexible, lightweight, and comfortable for sports and walking short distances. As a matter of fact – I still wear my Converse to go to the gym, especially for squat and deadlift days. With all these great uses, hiking in Converse remains a mystery to some hikers. Converse has a wide range of acceptability, but is hiking included? Can you go hiking in Converse?
Yes, you can go hiking in a pair of Converse shoes, but it is not ideal, especially on cold or wet days. So while it may be great walking and gym shoes, Converse sneakers simply don’t give your feet the protection they deserve while hiking. I know because I’ve tried it. More times than I would like to admit.
There are many other reasons that make hiking in Converse a poor idea. Read on to find out why it isn’t ideal for hiking and a few tips that can help you hike safely in them if you insist.
What Are Converse Sneakers?
Converse sneakers are casual shoes invented in the early 20th century for basketball players to help provide flexibility and eliminate blisters. The shoes’ design has remained the same since its introduction. The shoe has three parts; the toe cap, made from white rubber, stitched upper part, and a brown or rubber tan sole. The materials used in making the shoe vary from leather to suede and cotton.
The company has since expanded its line to produce other types of shoes and apparel but is still most famous for the Chuck Taylor All-Star, which it has been producing since 1917.
Can You Wear Converse For Hiking?
Yes, you can wear Converse for hiking, but would I recommend you to wear them for hiking a trail? No, I would not.
Why not, you ask?
First off, Converse shoes are not weatherproof as they are made primarily from cotton and other cloth materials. Hence, when there is a turn in the weather or is exposed to moisture, the shoes will get wet, making Converse slippery and cold. Having slippery footwear on a hike is, obviously, less than ideal.
Secondly, they provide very little ankle support. Wearing shoes with good ankle support is crucial when hiking as it helps prevent twisted ankles, which are quite common on hikes.
Lastly, the soles of Converse shoes are not meant for gripping and traction on rough terrain.
Besides, wearing Converse without socks results in blisters, especially on long paths, which would ruin your hike. Still, feel like hiking on Converse? Here are a few tips for hiking on Converse.
- Try Converse shoes only in dry weather as they are not good winter hiking shoes.
- Wear the shoe for a long distance before the hike to let your leg acclimatize to the idea of hiking on Converse.
- Wear socks if your Converse isn’t a tight fit. The right kind of socks would help wick sweat and reduce blisters.
- The Converse has a thin sole which is easy for sharp objects to penetrate. Adding an insole would afford you an extra layer of protection.
- Since weather on hiking trails is sometimes unpredictable, use a boot cover or a Converse-friendly waterproofing chemical on your Converse. This would help improve your hiking Converse shoe’s resistance to rain when it sets in.
Advantages Of Hiking In Converse
Look – I didn’t write this article to straight-up bash Converse; I just want to provide some clarity on the subject and question of hiking in converse. With that being said, there are a few advantages to hiking in Converse shoes.
- Converse sneakers are pretty damn comfortable and have a broken-in feel right out of the box. This makes them great for short hikes where you know you won’t be doing any scrambling.
- In dry conditions, the rubber sole provides you with good traction. Also, lacing it tightly gives you stability since the shoe fits the foot snugly.
- The Converse shoe is breathable, allowing optimal air inflow, making your foot comfortable. This ensures your foot does not feel too hot during the hike.
- Converse is relatively cheap compared to hiking boots, meaning you do not have to break the bank to get a pair.
Disadvantages Of Hiking In Converse
- This shoe does not have seamless stitching, reinforced support shafts, orthopedic insole, and other protective features found in boots better suited for hiking.
- The tread pattern on the sole of the Converse is sparse, making it slippery during rainfall.
- During rainfall, the Converse would chafe against the skin of your foot, causing blisters.
- Because it’s made from cotton, it takes a longer time for the Converse shoe to dry, which could expose you to the risks of getting cold while on the trail.
Tips for Hiking in Converse Shoes in 2023
If you’re dead-set on hiking in your Converse shoes, here are a few tips to help you do so safely:
Wear Socks Made From Wool
During winter, merino wool socks are handy because they dry fast and reduce the chances of blisters on your feet.
Go For Converse With A Jagged Sole
One of the downsides of Converse is that most of them come with overly flat soles. Opt for ones with jagged soles as they provide a good grip on any surface.
Recommendation My recommendation would be something like the Run Star Hike High Top.
Hike with caution on slippery surfaces
Maintain a slow but steady pace as you hike on slippery surfaces. This could be a hurdle since slippery surfaces tend to make you lose traction, but one short step at a time and staying focused puts you in charge.
Attempt shorter, easier hikes first
If you’re unsure about your ability to hike in Converse shoes, start with shorter and easier hikes. This will give you a feel of the shoe and determine if it’s something you can do for long hours.
Use Hiking Poles
This is more of a personal preference, but I find that trekking poles give me more confidence when hiking in Converse shoes.
Recommendation I recommend Cascade Mount Tech Trekking Poles for hiking poles. They are simple, affordable, and work well in all terrain.
Can Converse Be Worn In Water?
No. Converse is made from cotton and is not water-resistant. Getting cotton wet can be a hazardous thing on the trail.
If you’re caught in a rainstorm, your best bet would be to take shelter and wait it out. Do not try to hike through the storm in your Converse shoes. If there is no shelter available, try to find a spot where you can sit down and take your shoes and socks off. Let your feet air out for a bit to dry off before putting your socks and shoes back on. And if THAT isn’t possible, then bring an extra pair of sneakers/boots. Bottom line, you don’t want to get stuck in the rain while hiking in Converse with no alternative.
As you can see, Converse is an excellent brand for sneakers and casual shoes, but they’re not the best option for hikes. If you want to wear them on your next hike, make sure to practice some of these tips so that you stay safe and have an enjoyable experience. Do you have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments below.
And I’ll leave this here one last time for you Converse lovers out there – try and choose one with a jagged sole, wear merino wool socks, and hike with extra caution.