In short, hiking shoes are generally not the ideal choice for walking on concrete surfaces for extended periods. While they are designed for rugged outdoor terrains and provide excellent traction, support, and protection on trails, their features and construction may not be well-suited for urban settings or prolonged walking on hard, flat surfaces.

However, if you plan to mix trail walking with urban exploration or have limited footwear options, hiking shoes can still be a viable option for occasional concrete walking. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using hiking shoes on concrete, provide tips for maximizing comfort and minimizing wear, and offer alternative footwear recommendations for urban walking.

Understanding Hiking Shoe Design

Hiking Shoe

Hiking shoes are engineered to tackle challenging outdoor environments, such as rugged trails, rocky terrains, and uneven surfaces. Their design incorporates several key features that contribute to their performance on these types of surfaces:

  1. Aggressive Outsole Lugs: The deep, multi-directional lugs on hiking shoe outsoles are designed to provide superior traction on loose, uneven surfaces like dirt, mud, and rocks. However, on flat concrete surfaces, these lugs can cause excessive wear and tear.
  2. Rigid Midsole: Hiking shoes often feature a stiff midsole that provides stability and protection against sharp rocks or roots on the trail. While this rigidity is beneficial for outdoor adventures, it can lead to discomfort and fatigue when walking on hard, unyielding surfaces like concrete.
  3. Ankle Support: Many hiking shoes offer additional ankle support to prevent sprains and injuries on uneven terrain. However, this extra support may restrict natural foot motion and cause discomfort during prolonged urban walking.
  4. Waterproof Membranes: Hiking shoes frequently incorporate waterproof membranes like Gore-Tex to keep feet dry in wet conditions. While this feature is essential for outdoor activities, it can lead to increased sweating and discomfort when walking on concrete in warm weather.

Pros of Using Hiking Shoes on Concrete

hiking shoe on concrete

Despite their design limitations for concrete walking, hiking shoes can still offer certain advantages in urban settings:

  1. Durability: Hiking shoes are built to withstand rugged conditions, making them durable and long-lasting, even when walking on concrete.
  2. Traction: While the aggressive lugs may wear down faster on concrete, they still provide better traction than smooth-soled shoes, especially in wet or slippery conditions.
  3. Ankle Support: For individuals with weak ankles or a history of ankle injuries, the extra support provided by hiking shoes can be beneficial, even on flat surfaces.
  4. Versatility: If you plan to mix outdoor adventures with urban exploration, hiking shoes can serve as a versatile option, saving you from carrying multiple pairs of shoes.

Cons of Using Hiking Shoes on Concrete

While hiking shoes can be used on concrete, there are several significant drawbacks to consider:

Tips for Using Hiking Shoes on Concrete

If you choose to use hiking shoes for occasional concrete walking, here are some tips to maximize comfort and minimize wear:

  1. Break Them In: Ensure your hiking shoes are well broken in before using them for extended urban walks to minimize discomfort and hotspots.
  2. Alternate with Urban Shoes: If possible, alternate between hiking shoes and urban walking shoes to reduce the stress and wear on your hiking footwear.
  3. Use Insoles or Orthotics: Invest in high-quality insoles or orthotics designed for urban walking to improve cushioning and support when wearing hiking shoes on concrete.
  4. Inspect and Replace Regularly: Regularly inspect the outsoles of your hiking shoes for excessive wear and replace them when necessary to maintain traction and prevent slips or falls.
  5. Consider Trail Runners: Trail running shoes can be a good compromise between hiking shoes and urban walking shoes, offering a lightweight, breathable design with moderate traction and support.

Alternative Footwear Options for Urban Walking

 person wearing sneaker on concrete

If you plan to do a significant amount of urban walking, it may be better to invest in footwear specifically designed for concrete and city environments:

  1. Walking Shoes: Look for shoes designed for urban walking or travel, with features like cushioned midsoles, flexible uppers, and durable outsoles suited for hard surfaces.
  2. Sneakers or Cross-Trainers: Athletic sneakers or cross-training shoes can provide a comfortable, breathable, and lightweight option for city walks, with moderate cushioning and support.
  3. Casual or Dress Shoes: For more formal occasions or settings, consider high-quality casual or dress shoes with cushioned insoles and durable outsoles suitable for concrete surfaces.
  4. Sandals or Slip-Ons: In warm weather, breathable sandals or slip-on shoes can offer comfort and versatility for urban exploration, while allowing your feet to stay cool and dry.


Q: Can I use hiking shoes for daily commuting or walking to work?
A: While hiking shoes can be used for occasional concrete walking, they are not recommended for daily urban commuting or extended periods of walking on hard surfaces due to the increased wear and potential discomfort.

Q: How long can I expect hiking shoes to last when used for concrete walking?
A: The lifespan of hiking shoes can be significantly reduced when used primarily for concrete walking. Regular replacement may be necessary every few months, depending on the frequency and duration of use.

Q: Are trail running shoes a better option than hiking shoes for concrete walking?
A: Trail running shoes can be a good compromise, offering more flexibility, breathability, and cushioning than traditional hiking shoes, while still providing moderate traction and support suitable for occasional concrete walking.

Q: Can I use hiking sandals or water shoes for urban walking?
A: While hiking sandals and water shoes are designed for outdoor use, their open construction and lack of cushioning may make them less suitable for prolonged concrete walking. They can be a viable option for short walks or warm weather conditions.

Q: How can I extend the lifespan of my hiking shoes when using them on concrete?
A: To extend the lifespan of your hiking shoes when walking on concrete, alternate with urban walking shoes, use insoles or orthotics, inspect and replace outsoles regularly, and consider using trail running shoes as a compromise.

Table 1: Hiking Shoe Features and Their Suitability for Concrete Walking

FeatureTrail PerformanceConcrete Suitability
Aggressive Outsole LugsExcellentPoor
Rigid MidsoleExcellentPoor
Ankle SupportExcellentModerate
Waterproof MembranesExcellentPoor

Table 2: Alternative Footwear Options for Urban Walking

Footwear OptionKey FeaturesRecommended Use
Walking ShoesCushioned midsoles, flexible uppers, durable outsolesDaily urban walks, travel
Sneakers/Cross-TrainersBreathable, cushioned, lightweightCasual urban walks, exercise
Casual/Dress ShoesCushioned insoles, durable outsolesWork, formal occasions
Sandals/Slip-OnsBreathable, open constructionWarm weather, short walks


While hiking shoes are designed to excel on rugged outdoor trails, their construction and features may not be ideally suited for prolonged walking on hard, flat concrete surfaces. However, with proper care, alternating footwear, and the use of insoles or orthotics, hiking shoes can still be a viable option for occasional urban exploration or mixed-terrain adventures.

Ultimately, investing in footwear specifically designed for urban walking, such as walking shoes, sneakers, or casual shoes, will provide superior comfort, cushioning, and durability for prolonged periods spent on concrete surfaces. By understanding your specific needs and the limitations of hiking shoes in urban environments, you can make an informed decision and prioritize both comfort and performance in your footwear choices.


"Hello, I'm Alexandra, a seasoned hiker with over a decade of experience exploring the great outdoors. My love for hiking was sparked on the Appalachian Trail, and since then, I've embarked on numerous hiking adventures, from dense forests to towering peaks. I'm dedicated to sharing my knowledge and expertise through to help hikers of all levels make the most of their outdoor experiences."