@char thanks for reaching out! This is a really broad question, so we'll do our best to point you in a few good directions!

  1. Equally as important as the kind of hiking you'll be doing are the details about YOUR feet - are they wide/narrow/medium width? Are they high/low/medium volume? Any trouble spots, like bunions, narrow heel, wide toebox? Those details will be essential to know before we can recommend specific models.
  2. It is likely that you feet hurt because your tennis shoes aren't providing enough protection between your foot and the ground. This could be that they aren't supportive enough for the terrain, or that the foam has packed down and is no longer successfully absorbing the impact of your foot hitting the ground. It's likely time for a new pair of shoes designed for the terrain you're on!
  3. While you can wear trail shoes on pavement, or road shoes on trail, you will compromise fit and durability if you do this. The lugs and rubber on the bottom of shoes are typically designed for either trail or pavement, but not necessarily both. If you choose a trail shoe and use it on pavement, you will feel the unevenness of the lugs and the rubber will likely break down faster than you expect. If you use a road shoe on trail, you may not get the grip you want on uneven surfaces and may feel the unevenness of the trail through the bottom of your shoes more than you like.
  4. Finally, are there any features that are important to you - like having a waterproof shoe/boot? Or is breathability more important, if you live in a hot/dry place?

Next steps: you can either respond back to us in the community with some guidance on our questions and we can make suggestions. Or, you can book a free virtual outfitting appointment to chat with an employee who will ask similar questions and make recommendations. Or, as the majority of our stores have reopened, you can also come in and get fit! Hope this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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