Running Shoes vs Walking Shoes: 5 Differences (2024)

A running shoe is distinct from a walking shoe. Runners should avoid running in walking shoes since the majority of them are excessively stiff and do not bend in the manner that runners need. That implies that many walking shoes are also unsuitable for fitness walking.

Rather than that, fitness walkers can often locate a running shoe that matches their demands better than the majority of walking shoes on the market. By identifying the characteristics to search for, a walker may study both running and walking shoes to determine which models function best.

Running shoes serve a variety of purposes, and designers are always updating them with the latest materials and technology. You have a variety of options to suit your running style and demands. They differ in terms of cushioning, ranging from minimalist racing shoes to cushioned long-distance running shoes.

Running shoe models come in a variety of heel-to-toe drop configurations to accommodate toe-strikers, midfoot-strikers, and heel-strikers. Additionally, running shoes are classified according to their stability features and if they are motion control shoes designed to assist in the correction of overpronation. Newer versions give strength and cushioning while being lighter in weight and include a seamless construction that eliminates rubbing spots that may cause blisters.

By contrast, walking shoes have historically fallen behind in terms of technology and have been intended more for comfort than performance, and cushioned shoes may contribute to increased leg stiffness.

Running Shoes vs Walking Shoes: 5 Differences (1)

If you want a shoe that is comfortable for short walks and walking at a leisurely pace, it may suffice. However, fitness walkers want a flexible, lightweight, and flat shoe that does not allow your foot to slip when it hit the heel and rolls with each stride.

Conduct a thorough analysis of walking shoe designs since many are stiff and hefty. They interfere with your normal foot movement and cause you to slow down. Due to the limited selection of walking shoes, fitness walkers often choose running shoes that better suit their demands.

What are Running Shoes?

Running Shoes vs Walking Shoes: 5 Differences (2)

A running shoe is designed to be worn while running or walking. They are the same weight as a regular pair of shoes with an outsole that is made of rubber mixed with plastic for traction, gel in the midsole to absorb shock, and rubber on the upper for durability. Running shoes are available in different types of materials, sizes, and widths. Shoes with narrow toe boxes provide more support during quick strides (i.e., sprinting).

Shoes with wider toe boxes provide more support in the arch of the foot and give a smoother stride. A shoe with a full footbed supports all of your feet during running. Shoes in the midfoot and forefoot promote good movement in the ankle and mid-foot and can prevent injuries such as plantar fasciitis and shin splints.

Types of Shoes For Running

There are five basic types of shoes for runners:

Lightweight Shoes

Running Shoes vs Walking Shoes: 5 Differences (3)

Lightweight shoes include less foam and cushioning beneath the foot, enabling the feet to move more naturally and dynamically. However, the lightweight shoe does have a disadvantage. By and large, they do not provide the same level of cushioning and shock absorption as traditional road shoes classed as neutral or stable. As a result, they should not be utilized for general education.

Trail Shoes

Running Shoes vs Walking Shoes: 5 Differences (4)

Trail shoes are designed for running on rugged terrain. While they tend to perform relatively well when hiking, they may consist of little shock absorption when running. A vital point in selecting trail shoes is how much shock the shoes can absorb. This is usually described in terms of the heel-to-toe rating. Higher-rated trail shoes will absorb most shocks with little effort, but greater amounts of cushioning can also be found within this class.

These shoes are intended for undulating running surfaces with a variety of terrains, including dirt, grass, road, and hard-packed walkways. Consider trail shoes to be a cross between running sneakers and hiking shoes. They provide sufficient protection around the ankle and tongue to protect your feet from the roots and stones that are common in difficult and rocky terrains. In addition, they give greater grip for better traction and control on softer, uneven, and slippery surfaces—a trait often achieved by aggressive soles and stickier rubbers.

Stability Shoes

Running Shoes vs Walking Shoes: 5 Differences (5)

Runners with a regular arch or neural foot are often advised to wear stability shoes. These athletes often demand shoes with an appropriate balance of midsole cushioning and support. There is nothing wrong with pronation; it is, in fact, a necessary component of human mobility.

Simply speaking, pronation refers to the foot sliding inward upon contact. However, excessive pronation may be detrimental. Stability shoes may be beneficial because they assist avoid, or at the very least mitigate, excessive pronation by providing additional arch and ankle support throughout the gait cycle.

Motion Control Shoes

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Running with low arches and moderate to severe overpronation, or excessive rolling of the foot inward following a foot strike, is a good candidate for motion-control shoes. Motion-control shoes are often stiffer than typical sneakers and include a broad sole to prevent excessive motion during the gait cycle. Additionally, they are great for persons who are hefty and need shoes with a high level of stability and durability.

Cushioned Shoes

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Shock absorption and protection are provided by cushioned shoes for runners with little to no pronation, but they do not give extra support throughout the gait cycle. Neutral cushioned shoes” are another term for this kind of shoe. To compensate for supination, they have been designed. Supinators and underpronators, two terms used to describe runners with high arches, should wear cushioned shoes.

What are Walking Shoes?

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Walking Shoes are different than running shoes. They are lightweight, flexible, and semi-durable. The midsole is generally made of rubber or foam, with a hard mesh layer under the insole to provide support. Walking shoes are not generally designed to withstand high impacts or be used for running or high-intensity exercise

Aerobic walking is a low-impact activity that you can easily do at any age and any level of fitness. It involves a good heel-to-toe motion where the foot is alternately placed down on the ground. These shoes are designed for supporting such activity as well as providing the right level of protection, comfort, and performance.

And walking shoes can be used for any kind of walking, including aerobics, weight loss programs, and general fitness. The primary distinction between walking shoes and other athletic shoes is their lack of support and high durability. They are not designed to withstand intense activity and high-impact activities like running.

Walking Shoes Vs Running Shoes: The Differences

1. Shoe weight

Running shoes tend to be lighter than walking shoes, which can help you work out for longer. Because of this, the shoe’s material and design will also need to be lightweight and breathable. Some running shoes weigh more than others, depending on the style of the shoe. Some do not even reach a point where they start to feel heavy. However, walking shoes tend to be designed for walking; thus, the weight is usually evenly distributed throughout the whole shoe. The amount of cushion in your walking shoe can affect its weight too.

To be more specific, walking shoes are often heavier than running shoes. This is because they employ heavier materials to assist in stabilizing the foot and supporting the arch during each stride since the foot spends a longer time in touch with the ground and requires more support. On the other side, running shoes must be lighter to enable the runner to continue running without their feet tired, given the increased time their feet spend in the air and away from the ground.

2. Cushioning

Running shoes and walking shoes can both come with extra features, such as gel padding or extra cushioning, which is very useful if you want to do either running or walking for longer periods of time. However, running shoes tend to cushion more than walking shoes. This is because the feet spend longer periods of time on the ground and need more support. On the other hand, you do not need as much cushioning in a walking shoe because you spend less time on the ground and more time in the air.

Due to the impact forces involved in running, running shoes often have more cushioning to assist protect the feet and legs by absorbing the shock with each step. This cushioning often extends throughout the shoe, not just the heel, since some runners land on their forefoot or midfoot. Walking shoes have to cushion, although not always to the same extent, and with a strong focus on the heel, since this is the initial point of contact for walkers with the ground. Whereas running shoes are constructed from lighter materials, more padding may reclaim some of this weight.

3. Flexibility

Running shoes usually have a more flexible sole. This is because it helps runners to be able to adjust their feet to the right running position. In contrast, walking shoes are usually not as flexible as running shoes, although many do come with a degree of flexibility that can help to prevent injury, particularly shin splints.

The flexibility of the sole is an important factor in both running and walking footwear. Running shoes often need more flexibility than walking shoes since they must be able to flex with each stride and foot strike.

4. Breathability

Running shoes and walking shoes often come with features that help keep the feet dry and cool. A breathable mesh upper is one such feature found in many running shoes. This is useful for racers, but you do not need it if you will be walking on a warm day since the fabric is usually designed not to trap moisture against your skin.

Some of the most lightweight running shoe feature mesh material in their uppers, which reduces the shoe’s weight and helps your feet stay cool and dry by improving airflow through the shoe.

Running puts your body through a lot of activity, and your feet grow heated far quicker than they do when walking. As a result, it is critical for running shoes to promote air movement. This is why many running shoes include mesh outers. With walking shoes, durability and support take precedence above breathability.

5. Arch support, stability, and control

These three characteristics are critical for walking and running, but they vary depending on not just the activity (with walking, your feet spend more time on the ground and are therefore impacted by the shoe as a whole), but also the style of shoe you choose. You’ll see that both walking and running shoes are available in ‘pronation control’ and ‘neutral’ styles, and that ‘pronation control’ – which refers to the amount of arch support you have – is further subdivided into the degree of support you want, ranging from light to heavy.

Running shoes are designed with a special heel to help maintain an arch and correct running posture. This is why they also often have more padding and thicker heel wrappings than walking shoes. However, this stability and control are not always needed in a walking shoe.

The importance of stability and control in running shoes is relative to the importance of each foot strike in relation to the ground’s surface. When you run up inclines, your landing phase becomes more important.

Why A Difference Between Walking And Running Shoes Exists?

A difference between walking and running shoes exists for a good reason. The idea of walkers and runners is that walkers go about their day primarily on pavement, while runners tend to run on dirt, grass, and other surfaces.

For this very reason the ball of the foot it’s necessary for walkers and runners to have different types of shoes. The shoe needs to be built with a solid front or back, depending on which area you are most likely to land on.

Simply, walkers need shoes that are more cushioned on the ball of the foot to protect them from hard surfaces, while running shoes are made with a harder front to protect the runner’s foot on more rugged surfaces.

Consider the energy you exert on the ground and your feet when jogging — they don’t call it hammering the pavement for nothing. When your feet strike the ground, you absorb about three times your body weight, which may occur in a variety of locations (heel, midfoot, forefoot), in a variety of ways, and by activating a variety of muscles and foot biomechanics. Both feet will be off the ground for a portion of your running motion, and your feet will make contact with the ground for a shorter period of time overall.

Additionally, running causes your feet to sweat more. These are only a few of the distinctions , but even these have a significant impact on the design of the shoes, which is why they must be created differently, each best suited to its intended use and assist you in remaining safe, comfortable, and minimizing your risk of damage.

Can I Wear Running Shoes If I Walk Most Of The Time But Want The Option Of Running?

In general, yes. This is because running shoes generally do not impair your ability to walk; nevertheless, walking shoes may make running more difficult and unpleasant owing to their position of flexibility, greater weight, lower cushioning, and decreased ventilation. As a result, we do not advocate jogging in walking shoes.

Additionally, some manufacturers produce walking shoes with tread patterns intended for both walking and running. Such shoes are certainly acceptable for short runs on roads or trails, but they are not ideal for running on hard surfaces. If you are unsure as to the suitability of your walking shoes for running, try these tests:

Test 1: Walking on a Level Surface

Walking on a flat surface is the best way to test your walking shoes for running. If your walking shoes feel fine during this test, they will likely feel just as comfortable when you run.

Test 2: Walking Up and Down Stairs

Walking up and downstairs is another great way to test the suitability of your walking shoes for running. If you can do this test without feeling any discomfort, you will probably experience the same level of comfort when you run.


Which is better, running shoes or walking shoes?

Running shoes are designed to provide support for your feet, knees, and back during the act of running. Running shoes tend to be more expensive than walking shoes due to their specialized construction. Walking shoes are made for everyday use. Walking shoes are often cheaper than running shoes because they do not need the extra support given by a runner’s shoe.

What are the best running shoes on the market?

The best running shoes are the ones that work for your feet. There are many types of feet out there; therefore, it is important to find a shoe that offers good support and comfort for your feet.

What makes a good running shoe?

A good running shoe is one that keeps your feet comfortable while providing all of the support that you need to run comfortably and efficiently. It should be lightweight, flexible, and durable.

Do I need to break in my new running shoes?

If you have never worn a running shoe before, you’re going to have a fairly difficult time breaking them in. Most people don’t know this, but the better your feet are able to grip the shoe, the longer it will take for your shoes to break in. Try running in them as often as possible so that your feet have a chance to adjust.

Is it okay to run on a treadmill with new running shoes?

It’s not a good idea to run on a treadmill with brand new running shoes. This can be very tough on your knees and lower body. Even the most expensive running sneakers should be broken in for several miles before they are used in high-impact activities like running.

Is it okay to run in the rain with new sneakers?

It is usually not a good idea to run in the rain with brand new sneakers. This can cause your feet to slide around inside of the shoes, which could make it very hard for you to maintain your balance. You will most likely want to wait until they are broken in before running in wet weather.

How can I tell if my new running shoe is worth buying?

The running shoe industry is flooded with varieties of running shoes, meaning it can be hard to decide which shoe to buy. This article should help you make better decisions when shopping for the perfect pair of running shoes.

Before purchasing any running shoes, try them on in the store and walk around in them for a while so that you can get a feel for them. Run in place and jog around the store to determine if the shoes provide enough stability for you. Remember: You can always buy another pair if they aren’t the correct fit.

Each foot is different, which means that no shoe is perfect for everyone. It’s best to do trial runs in many different shoes before you make your final decision on a pair.

As you can see, there are many things that should be considered when buying a new pair of running shoes.

Who should buy running shoes and who should buy walking shoes?

For those who enjoy jogging around the neighborhood and for those who want to get the best possible workout, running shoes should be purchased. Running shoes are usually more expensive than walking shoes. This is because they need to offer more support for your feet and back. Shoes such as these can help people run longer and faster without experiencing any pain or discomfort.

How do I know when to replace my running shoes?

When your shoes start to show signs of wear, you’ll notice that the fabric at the toe area is becoming thin and frayed. When this happens, you should probably get new shoes.

Why do I need motion control shoes?

Motion-control shoes are designed to limit the amount of shock that the foot, ankle, and knees take during running or walking. Motion-control shoes can reduce or remove the forces potentially causing pain and injury. Motion-control shoes should be worn for everyday activities such as walking, running, and gardening.

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  • Running Shoes vs Walking Shoes: 5 Differences (2024)


    Running Shoes vs Walking Shoes: 5 Differences? ›

    What Is The Difference Between Walking and Running Shoes? Running shoes have stiffer soles and thick heel wedges to provide more cushion while walking shoes flex and bend more and provide more arch support. A thick heel can cause tendonitis or shin splints when walking, or even cause a walker to trip.

    What are the differences between walking and running shoes? ›

    Running shoes will have a stiffer sole; walking shoes have more flex and blend. Heels. Running shoes have thick heel wedges to provide more cushion. A thick heel when walking can actually cause tendinitis or shin splints, and can even cause a walker wearing a running shoe to trip.

    What are the differences in running shoes? ›

    A traditional running shoe usually has a heel drop of about 10mm and up. It offers lots of cushion in the heel and promotes landing first on the heel as the foot moves through its motion. By contrast, a zero-drop shoe means there's an equal amount of cushioning under the heels and toes.

    What difference do running shoes make? ›

    Proper running shoes give your foot arches the support they need to withstand high-impact activity. Proper running shoes help protect you from injuries, reducing stress on your ankles, heels, and toes. Proper running shoes help to prevent and to reduce back hip, and knee pain.

    Are running shoes more supportive than walking shoes? ›

    In comparison, runner's feet strike anywhere from the heel to the midfoot or forefoot. Therefore, running shoes are designed to have thicker soles that act as shock absorbers. They are also lighter than walking shoes to help with fatigue over longer distances.

    Is there a difference between walking and running? ›

    You might think of walking as just running slowly. But when you walk, you have one foot on the ground at all times. When you run, you're in the air during each stride. Each time you land, your body absorbs the impact of about three times your body weight.

    What makes a shoe a walking shoe? ›

    Stability: You want good lateral support: a shoe that you can't bend or twist easily in your hands. Cushioning: Having a uniform level of cushioning, rather than a huge heel cushion, is more comfortable for many walkers. Fit: Getting shoes that fit you well is the most important factor of all.

    What are the 5 types of running shoes? ›

    The 9 Types of Running Shoes

    We categorize our shoes and break them down into nine different types: All-Around, Stability, Fast Runs, Max Cushion, Racing, Trail, Walking, Track and Field, and Cross Country.

    How can you tell the difference between running shoes and sneakers? ›

    Sneakers typically have rubber outsoles while sports shoes utilise advanced sole technologies like Phylon/EVA for cushioning and grip. While both aim for comfort, sports shoes are precisely designed to provide superior, activity-specific comfort and support.

    What is the difference between running shoes and fitness shoes? ›

    Where a training shoe helps with side-to-side movement, running shoes help with forward movement. Running shoes also provide more cushioning and support, which often translates into a higher heel drop. This makes for more comfort during long distance runs when you need lots of shock absorption.

    Can I use running shoes for walking? ›

    Nearly every shoe intended for road running can be used as a walking shoe. Running shoes are designed to be able to withstand the physical demands of running, which are more intense than walking. With this in mind, a running shoe may even be a better and more durable option for walking than a typical walking shoe.

    What makes on running shoes special? ›

    Explosive Take-Off – Thanks to the tech surrounding their Speedboard, some On models allow for that explosive take-off that pairs beautifully with the feeling of running through the clouds. Room For Toes – On is known for their roomy, wide toe box at the front of their shoes.

    Why do running shoes look different? ›

    Running shoes may have a flared heel to provide extra stability for runners who strike the ground at their midfoot or forefoot. A flared heel is also often seen on trail running shoes.

    How are walking and running shoes different? ›

    Walking shoes usually feature flatter soles, while running shoes typically have curved ones to support natural gaits and propel you forward more efficiently. Furthermore, running shoe heels tend to be wider than their walking counterparts, offering more stability when taking steps.

    Which type of shoes are best for daily use? ›

    8 Different footwear for different requirements
    • Athletic Shoes are the most ideal footwear for sports and physical activities.
    • Sandals are casual open-toe footwear for daily use in any and every weather condition.
    • Loafers are convenient slip-on shoes without the complications of laces and tying knots.

    Is it okay to use running shoes for walking? ›

    Running shoes can certainly be used for walking. Nearly every shoe intended for road running can be used as a walking shoe.

    Can I walk and run in the same shoes? ›

    It is important to know that running shoes and walking shoes are not interchangeable. There is a key difference on how the feet hit the ground when someone is running or walking. This is why one should be aware that a shoe is designed differently for each activity.

    Can we use running shoes for daily use? ›

    If you wear your runners a lot on a casual basis, you may find when you use them for running, they are too worn to give you proper support. In saying that, if you lead a very active lifestyle or are happy replacing your running shoes more often, there is no reason you can't wear your running shoes all the time.


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