Are Running Shoes Good For Walking?

Posted May 6, 2022 by in Health + Fitness

If you’re looking for a new pair of athletic shoes, it’s important to pick a shoe that is comfortable for your foot. The last thing you want to do is spend money on something that is going to do more harm than good. The right shoes will provide you with proper support and cushioning. They will also allow your foot to hit the ground in such a way that is natural and comfortable. 

It is not advised to wear a lifestyle or walking shoe running as they weren’t made for high impact—what protects your knees and joints. However, you can wear your running sneakers for a wide variety of activities beyond running—such as walking, jogging, and gym training. Investing in a running shoe is way more versatile, and if you’re on a budget, why not go for the sneaker that has a variety of uses?

Before you make an athletic shoe purchase, here are some things to consider:

Crop of person in black jeans wearing Adidas running sneakers

Are Running Shoes Good For Walking?

It is perfectly fine to use running shoes for walking. Although they are not ideal for walking, they are good for some people. The most important thing that you should consider is your comfort. So, if you feel comfortable using running shoes among walking and running shoes on concrete, you should opt for running shoes.  

Running Shoe Vs. Walking Shoe

Running shoes are supposed to be well-cushioned and supportive because of the extra pounding during running. On the contrary, walking shoes are designed to be less cushioned and less supportive. Both these two types of shoes are designed based on the physical activities involved with running and walking.  

Apart from more cushioning, running shoes have less flex, specifically on the area of the ball of the foot. This is somewhat because of the supplementary material that is added to the cushioning. It is also because of the design, as runners typically do not need flex as much as walkers. 

 If you look downwards, you will see that the soles of running shoes glare outside. Consequently, extra cushioning and protection are added to the shoe. 

Because of doing heavy labor, runners naturally generate more heat. Hence, with the aim of allowing maximum ventilation, running shoes are made with thin mesh uppers. For this reason, running shoes are lighter and more breathable than walking shoes.

Walkers typically require less support as walking involves moderate labor. As the feet of the walkers move continuously, they require less support. Although they do not need much support, they are still in need of support to the arch area of their feet. The center of gravity is quite high for the walkers. This is why they need additional support for their arch region.  

Like running shoes, walking shoes also have more flex near the ball of the foot. You will also find that some walking shoes are designed using breathable mesh as they do not need much cushioning. Besides, there are synthetic leather uppers on some walking shoes.

Attributes Of Good Shoes For Walking And Running

Even though we have said that you can use running shoes for walking, the requirements of a walker are different from a runner’s. Use the following principles for buying a pair of running shoes or walking shoes.

Fit

Regardless of which type of shoes you are buying, the most important thing is to ensure that you buy shoes that fit you perfectly. Poorly fitted shoes can lead to trip, fall, blisters, hammertoes, calluses, fractures, and so on. 

There should be one finger’s width gap between the end of the shoe and your toes; otherwise, your toes will be compressed, and you will feel pain after running or walking for a while. You can resort to a foot analyst to get the perfectly fitted shoes.

Flexibility

A pair of good running shoes and good walking shoes have flexibility in different areas. Running shoes are supposed to be flexible in the midfoot area so that they can support the midfoot or the ball of the feet against constant strike. 

On the other hand, walking shoes are designed to have arch flexibility. Due to constant heel-to-toe movement, walkers need flexibility in the shoe sole. 

Heel Drop

Some running shoes feature a built-up heel in order to support the runners as they land on the ball of their foot. Nowadays, walking shoes also have a trend toward heel-to-toe drops. It represents the cushioning difference between the heel and toe. The high drop protects the Achilles tendon area and provides shock absorption and more cushioning. The ideal drop that we recommend looking for in your running shoes as well as in your walking shoes is 10 mm. 

Shoe Weight

The weight of a shoe is directly associated with the type of your activity. Running is all about quick movement. So, you need a pair of lightweight shoes to maintain your fast pace. On the contrary, you can get either lightweight or heavyweight shoes for walking. Normally, walking shoes are heavier than running shoes as walking does not involve fast movement and requires a steady pace. 

Flare

Runners strike the ground at the ball of their foot or the arch area. This is why running shoes should have flared heels so that they can provide extra stability to the runners. On the flip side, walkers land on their heels and so do not require flared heels.

Properly Cushioned

Proper cushioning is an essential quality to consider for choosing shoes. Not only runners but also walkers need to have properly cushioned shoes to feel comfortable in their respective activities. They provide foot support for an extended period of time to the walkers and protect the foot base of the runners as it constantly hits the ground.

Stylish woman in baseball hat and wearing walking sneakers

Finally, you can definitely use running shoes for walking, but they are not the best choice. We always say that it is good to wear the type of shoes specially made for the activity you will be doing—this prevents injury.

If you still want to use running shoes for walking, then we recommend using a pair of good running shoes. Be careful while buying shoes as they can make your feet feel comfortable or fatigue during your activity. You can resort to the principles given in this guide to choose good running shoes.