Running Shoes vs. Walking Shoes—What Are the Differences?

Posted July 1, 2021 by in Health + Fitness

Are you one of the 50 million Americans who run or jog for exercise? What type of shoes are you wearing?

There are big differences between shoes for running and shoes designed for walking. This is because each activity uses different muscles, so the shoes you use should have different specs. 

Want to know the key differences between running shoes vs. walking shoes? Keep reading to learn more:

Running Shoes vs. Walking Shoes: The Heel

When you run, your foot needs to take the impact of two to three times your body weight. Your feet both come off the ground, and when you strike the ground again, the impact is on your heel. 

For this reason, running shoes have more cushioning in the heel than shoes designed for walking. The rolling movement your foot makes when you walk is supported by a less flared heel than a running shoe. 

If you look at trail running vs. walking shoes, the heel will be straighter on the walking shoes. A flared heel helps with stability, which is important for runners, particularly when they run on uneven ground. 

Cushioning in Walking vs. Running Shoes

Due to the fact that walking is far less impactful on the joints than running, you’ll find walking shoes have less cushioning than running shoes. 

Running shoes are designed to reduce the impact of your body’s weight. They also have specific design features for different types of runners. For example, if you overpronate (roll your feet inwards as you run), you can buy shoes with more cushioning on the instep. 

Flexibility of Walking Shoes vs. Running Shoes

Depending on the way you run, you will strike the ground with your heel, the middle, or the ball of your foot. You can test this when you wear the shoes; check where the shoe bends when you move your feet. 

Walking shoes should be flexible at the front of the foot. This helps with the rolling motion you make with your feet. You shouldn’t buy a shoe for walking or running that doesn’t move with your foot. 

When testing shoes for walking, make sure they easily roll forward from the front of the foot. 

Check For Foot Stability

A shoe that doesn’t keep your foot in place is no good for walking or running. Make sure your foot stays stable when you move. 

If your foot moves side to side when wearing a running or walking shoe, then it isn’t for you! 

Choosing the Right Shoes 

If you aren’t sure whether shoes are good for walking or running, get a professional shoe fitting. An expert will advise you on what is best for your style of walking or running. 

There are many nuances depending on your bone and muscle makeup. Understand the differences between walking vs. running shoes for men and women.

Do your research on the type of shoe that will suit you best. You could start with the best 4 reasons to wear hoka walking shoes

Most Importantly: Stay Comfy

Inadequate shoes can cause injuries and long-term damage. Ensure you know which type of shoe suits you best and understand the nuances between running shoes vs. walking shoes. 

If you find your shoes aren’t serving you and are uncomfortable, maybe it’s time to change! If you use the right tools for staying active, you will enjoy many more years injury-free. 

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