Can You Use Trail Running Shoes For Road Running?

Road running, alias marathon or long distanced running is a kind of sport that involves participants racing on the road. There are well-defined points and pathways with good surveillance all through. As much as people compete, most lined-up runners at the starting point take the race to be a personal challenge. Whereas trail running continues to grow in popularity, it is off-road and usually in wilderness settings. For those who do both, the question is can you use trail running shoes for road running?

With the question of what running shoes you should opt for road running, and would trail running shoes work, let’s start by considering the setting of this course.

What Does Road Running Entail?

We must begin by noting that road running takes place on roads. This is a crucial point to consider because the entire question of running shoes is focused on this. Roads are made of asphalt and concrete. These are materials that give roads the hardening aspect to support small and heavy vehicles.

Roadrunners go stride by stride on this hard surface during their training and competition. So while selecting an appropriate running shoe for running, the surface where the wearer will be stepping on should be considered.

Road running tests the fitness levels as the children and elderly also take part in these races. Road running is usually broken down into different distances from 5 km to 42 km. Marathons are a daytime event that attracts multiple sponsors and fans who follow up on the races.

Road running is not only exercised in marathons but also estates and towns. The so-called morning jogs are a type of road running as people run on the pavements or along the pedestrian lane in the streets. Running on the track in fields is also a type of road running, only that there are no measures taken to close the roads, and the area is also contained in a field. Again, this is wholly different than trail running.

Moreover, if you are getting road running shoes for a typical morning jog and not a competition, then the tables might turn. You’ll also want to consider which part of the road the wearer is running on because the pavement and road are made of different materials and have different textures.

Running Shoe Requirements for Road Running

There are particular features that you have to consider while getting a running shoe for road running. So what is the checklist of the running shoe requirements, and would trail shoes meet the needs?

Flexible Soles

The most crucial aspect of running shoes is the soles. A good pair of running shoes for a marathon should have flexible soles. Flexible soles are for ensuring the shoes will absorb the shock from the impact on the road surface. It also gives a bouncing effect since there is a spongy aspect on the soles. The soles should also be thinner compared to trail running shoes.


Road running shoes should be lightweight. The less weight is to ensure that you cover more distance with less resistance. The weight of the shoes should not make you lag. Speed is of the essence in road running, so a lightweight shoe is ideal.

Tongue Style

You can go for any tongue but the ones that end at the level of the sole. Gusseted soles are not necessary for road running since there is no protection from rocks like trail running. However, you can still get one with a gusseted tongue for comfort.

Breathable Uppers

Road running is a high-intensity sport, and there is a lot of sweating involved. You would want to get running shoes with breathable uppers to get in some air and cool your feet.

Stability Features

There are no many stability features required on road running shoes, but the basics are essential. Some of the things to consider are an outsole and a feather edge. There is no need for a rock plate since it will bring discomfort on the road. Torsional stability is what you are looking for so that the shoe is only stiff where needed.


You can choose whichever color you want, and there are varieties of options. If you tend to go for morning jogs, then you should consider getting running shoes that night-time reflectivity so that someone on the road can notice you from afar. You can also get one that fits with your outfit. Road running shoes can allow you to get fashionable with colors and designs.

Toe Box

There are minor foot protective requirements for road running shoes since the sole does much of the work. However, it would be best to consider a toe cap with light material because you have to keep the breathability intact.

Are Trail Running Shoes Ideal for Road Running?

The beauty of trail running shoes is that they can fit different settings. Trail running shoes have different designs, one of which is ideal for road running. These running shoes have individual properties that might help with road running in the performance of a runner.

Road running focuses on speed and comfort. Getting a trail running shoe that can offer breathability properties and have a flexible sole will be a good option. However, you can still use the usual trail running shoes once in a while since they might not deliver on the comfort aspect.

The ordinary trail running shoes will offer resistance as they are heavier. This is good exercise for the quads and hamstring to ensure you work on your leg muscles. However, it would be best not to use trail running shoes for road running competitions since they might lag you behind and slow you down.

In short, do not use trail running shoes for road running unless it’s for training.

Trail Running Shoes for Road Running

Lightweight trail running shoes are slightly heavier than typical road running shoes. They are the best point to start from if you want to opt for trail running shoes for road running. Some of them lack a rock plate, so you might want to opt for them.

It would help if you also considered getting trail running shoes with a smaller and more flexible sole to facilitate easy running on asphalt. A raised outsole can be an option for acceleration exercises and a counter lining to better grip your foot during fitting.

Tips for Using Trail Running Shoes in Road Running

It would help if you stuck to keeping the trail running shoes for running training. They should not be worn in competitions since they will derail you. It would be best to try not to wear trail running shoes often since you will eventually need road running shoes during competitions.

The best you can do is wear trail running shoes only when you need intense training for road running. They are heavy, and they will offer that resistance. Also, you can wear them and head to the trails for something extra. This involves ultimately going for trail running as a means of boosting your road running performance.


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