Warmer, longer days, flowers blooming and birds chirping. You hiking on some picturesque hiking trail. Spring not only awakens nature but it also awakens the desire in many people to explore the great outdoors.

Hiking is often defined as a pleasurable activity of going for long walks. If you are a rookie when it comes to hiking, you probably don’t own a lot of hiking equipment, if any. Perhaps you think that comfortable shoes are all the equipment you need. You are right. To a certain extent.

You own a pair of Nike Air Max 90 and they are the most comfortable kicks you’ve ever worn. Can you also hike in Nike Air Max 90? 

In all honesty, you can. Should you do that? We don’t really recommend it, as these sneakers won’t provide you with enough support and protection off-road. There is a variety of hiking shoes, and even hiking boots that you can wear for the purpose of hiking.

Hiking is defined differently by different people, but there is a reason why even Nike has a line of hiking shoes. Hiking shoes and boots are made with hiking in mind and they offer you resilience, as well as comfort that you will most definitely need.

What is hiking really?

Hiking is basically walking, with some important differences. Hiking is usually considered a light form of exercise. You can go hiking for pleasure or fun. It is an activity of walking in nature that can last a couple of hours, a whole day, or a whole night. Hikers walk on marked hiking trails or use well-known footpaths.

Hiking is often used interchangeably with trekking. However, there are some significant differences that can help you distinguish one from the other. Although both hiking and trekking can do wonders for your health, you should keep in mind that trekking is a more challenging activity. You should mentally and physically prepare yourself for trekking, as trekking can last multiple days. It entails walking on more difficult terrain and oftentimes off the beaten path.

Before you embark on any type of journey in nature, make sure that you understand whether you are in for hiking or trekking. This will help you prepare the right way and choose the right equipment, which is vitally important for your overall outdoor experience. If you would like to learn more about what equipment you need for hiking, check out our complete guide.

Nike Air Max 90 – shoes for running

Some of your friends may have told you that they had tried hiking in Nike Air Max 90 and similar sneakers and that it is possible to use those shoes for hiking purposes. So, can you hike in Nike Air Max 90?  You will be ill-advised to choose Nike Air Max 90 as your hiking shoes, simply because they are not. They are running shoes.

Nike Air Max 90 is a mix of retro and contemporary elements. That is probably why people use these stylish sneakers when working, walking, running, or simply as a fashionable item that compliments a variety of everyday outfits. By the same token, you might think that they are a good choice for hiking too. Any seasoned hiker would tell you that your reasoning is wrong.

It is important that hiking shoes have certain qualities and meet certain demands. We will dive into those shortly. Nike Air Max 90 meets certain criteria for hiking shoes, but not all of them. For example, breathability is an important quality of hiking shoes, but Nike Air Max has certain limitations with respect to that. If you would like to read a more in-depth review of the Nike Air Max 90, make sure to check out this article.

What are some features of good hiking footwear?

Choosing proper hiking footwear is essential to your hiking experience. There are many features that play a massive role in choosing the right hiking footwear and here we will present you with the most important ones.

#1 Protection

Protection usually goes hand in hand with ankle support. To understand what level of protection you will need, you need to first know the type of terrain you will be walking on. If you expect a rough terrain with sharp surroundings, you should try to protect your ankle from possible scratches and abrasions. A high ankle collar can offer you ankle protection, but you should also consider how stiff your sole is. A stout sole will offer you the stability that is much needed when traveling rocky roads.

#2 Waterproofing

There is nothing like dry and comfortable shoes. If you’ve ever experienced soaked footwear, you know what a dreadful experience it is. Walking in wet shoes can slow you down and even make you give up further traveling altogether. If you expect a lot of mud and puddles on your trail, make sure that your shoes are waterproof. Check out this article for extra tips on how to keep your feet dry while hiking.

#3 Breathability

Lack of ventilation inside your hiking shoes can cause numerous problems, such as different infections, rashes, and blisters. You should ensure that your hiking footwear is made of materials that let the excessive moisture leave the shoe. Ventilated shoes equal dry feet. This goes for hiking in both hot and cold climates.

#4 Cushioning

Cushioning, often called shock absorption, basically serves as a buffer against different forces on your feet. If your shoes don’t provide you with proper cushioning, you can expect a lot of pain and discomfort in your feet. When buying hiking footwear, make sure that it provides you with at least some midsole cushioning.

#5 Durability

No matter whether you are a hiking newbie or a pro, you would be well advised to invest in durable hiking footwear. The durability of your shoes depends on all these factors:

  • Material 
  • Duration of usage
  • Terrain
  • Weather conditions
  • Storage conditions

The rule of thumb is that leather will better reduce normal wear and tear on your shoes than synthetics. Remember also that durable footwear should also fit like a glove. If you have heard about famous Mammut outdoor shoes’ durability and would like to find out more about how they fit, take a look at this article.

What kind of hiking footwear should you choose?

There is a wide range of hiking shoes available and choosing the right hiking footwear can seem like an overwhelming task. Before you go any deeper into the characteristics and differences of various types of hiking footwear, let’s categorize them into four main types:

  1. Trail running shoes – usually have stiffer midsoles than road running shoes and thus offer more stability on rugged terrains. The uppers of trail running shoes are more durable. Softer rubber outsoles have deeper lugs for better grip.
  2. Hiking shoes – are a great choice for recreational hikers. They are light, they dry quickly, and don’t require breaking in.
  3. Hiking boots – offer ankle support and better protection on rough terrain. They are a better choice for rainy or snowy weather conditions.
  4. Hiking sandals – are especially suitable for summer. You can find out more about how they should fit so that it is safe to hike in them.

Before you make your final decision on which footwear you will purchase, also keep in mind your body type, how fast you will be going and what terrain you expect on your trail.

A girl hiking, wearing a pair of hiking shoes.

Nike Air Max 90 is not your best option for hiking

Can you hike in Nike Air Max 90? While you may be tempted to try hiking in Nike Air Max 90, we encourage you not to. Nike Air Max 90 is a road running shoe and it is not designed for an off-road experience.

It does not offer enough stability and cannot protect you from sharp objects you may come across along your rocky road. It is more lightweight in comparison to hiking shoes and boots, but it is not as durable. In general, try to steer clear of road running shoes, when you want to embark on a hiking trip.

Final note

Hiking is a wonderful experience and the lack of proper shoes shouldn’t discourage you from hiking. A lack of a hiking partner shouldn’t discourage you either. Read about tips for finding a hiking partner and whether you can find a hiking partner via Reddit.

If you are certain that your first hiking experience will also be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, never to happen again, you can probably get away with any comfortable shoes. Can you hike in Nike Air Max 90 then? Yes, you can. However, if you wish to make hiking your pastime, it is definitely worth considering buying some proper hiking footwear.

Keep in mind that the whole idea behind hiking shoes is to give you the safest and most comfortable hiking experience. By choosing the right pair of hiking shoes you can avoid impact injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and stress fractures. Picking the right shoes will actually encourage to you make hiking a part of your active lifestyle.

With hiking in comfortable hiking shoes, you are on the road to improving your overall health, reconnecting with nature, reducing stress, and finding inner balance. Just look for a hiking buddy and a pair of sturdy hiking shoes with good ankle support. Once you find them, you are all set to embark on your unforgettable hiking trip.