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Difference Between Running And Walking Sneakers

The Type Of Sneakers We Wear

Walking, Running and Cross-Training Shoes: Whats the Difference?

My site co-editor and co-creator, Penny and I had a number of discussions on how we viewed our selection of running shoes and cross training shoes for different activities. First, we had to define the activities or, as it turned out, define the times we wear which shoes. That happened to be a more revealing question.

We are in the over 50s club and so we took ourselves back to when I was running marathons and training 50 miles plus a week and when Penny was full time running gym classes of all types as well as one on one personal training.

An overview of the type of athletic shoes we wore is

Is It Ever Ok To Wear A Running Shoe For Walking

While its not ideal, it makes sense for some people. Your overall comfort is whats most important, and that varies person to person. So, if you have found that walking in running shoes works for you, take necessary precautions to avoid injury.

Podiatrists number one tip: Make sure that the shoes fit well and feel comfortable, Yau says. You can also add arch support to your running shoes it may help prevent arch pain that develops as you walk over a period of time, says Casey Ann Pidich, D.P.M., also known as Dr. Glass Slipper, a podiatrist at Park Avenue Podiatry Care in New York.

However, when it comes to wearing minimalist sneakers for walking, Dr. Pidich says it should be avoided at all costs. She believes these types of running shoes offer very little of the shock absorption you need for walking. For example, Vibram Five Fingers or Merrell Vapor Gloves may work for runners who are forefoot strikers but will not offer enough support for basic walking, she explains.

Whether you decide to go with a running or walking shoe, monitor how you feel throughout your walk to ensure that it supports your needs. And dont forget to replace walking or running shoes after every 300-400 miles or every four to six months, Dr. Perkins says. Just like car tires need replacing after so many miles of wear and tear, so do your shoes!

Need help finding the perfect pair? Check out our favorite walking shoes below:

The Best Running Shoes For Kids

The running shoes I recommend below can fit children with narrow or medium feet.

To allow for growing room, I highly recommend that parents order these shoes half a size larger than their childs current foot size. This translates to 3/16 of an inch or 0.4 centimeters of space between your childs longest toe and the end of the shoes.

I always recommend parents to provide their children with shoes that come with shoelaces instead of velcro closure, since shoelaces provide more support and stability for your child.

If your child doesnt know how to tie his or her shoes yet, I wrote a post where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to teach a child how to tie his/her shoes. Go to the link below:

How To Teach A Child To Tie His Shoes Follow These Easy Steps

Walking shoes have good support and require less cushioning, but they tend to be heavier than running shoes. I would not recommend walking shoes for kids, since they dont offer the support they need for their everyday activities. Remember that kids are always running around.

Did you know that your kids feet tend to swell up over the day due to the long hours of walking and standing that their feet endure? Make sure you have them try on their shoes at the end of the day to ensure they will be comfortable throughout.

The socks your kids wear when trying on a pair of shoes should also be the same type that they would normally wear with their everyday sneakers.

Also Check: Who Can Get Silver Sneakers

What Are Cross Training Shoes

Cross-training shoes are used by athletes. The heel of this shoe will differ because it is used for many sports, and they cant specifically design for one particular game. This kind of shoes will support the socks you wear. This kind of shoes can be used for gym workouts where you get the training. These shoes are specifically designed for working out at some places.

You cant wear this kind of shoes for running because it wont give you the much-needed support for running. It will support you for a mile after that, your feet will get hurt, and in worst cases, it could even get sprains. These kinds of shoes are available in different brands. And the problem comes in selecting the correct size. If you are very sure about your foot size, then go ahead with online shopping. Otherwise, visit a store and get the perfect size with the help of the store people.

These shoes cannot be used for walking people. They hold a strong grip which is not good for your feet. It will hurt you more when you use this and go for a walk. You can use this only for training purposes. You can even use these shoes for the treadmill. But if you could not find a training shoe, then you can wear running shoes on a treadmill because you are going to walk on the treadmill.

Walking Vs Running Shoes

Walking Shoes vs. Running Shoes (August 2021)

According to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine , both walking and running shoes should provide stability and a smooth strike.³ As we mentioned, the primary differences have to do with weight, flexibility, and cushioning.

Another distinction is motion control. A running shoe will typically be designed for motion control, as it helps keep the foot in a neutral position. Since the rotation of your feet becomes more exaggerated with different running styles and speeds, a proper sneaker will keep it in place. This helps prevent shin splints, tendonitis, and other common ailments.

Though many walking shoes youll find on the market dont offer the same motion control as running sneakers, Vionics styles are a different story. Every pair has substantial stability, keeping your foot in the proper position with every step without affecting comfort or functionality.

Also Check: Best Arch Support Mens Sneakers

Best Cushioned: Hoka One One Bondi 7 Running Shoe

  • Expensive

  • Not stylish

If you want a walking shoe with a lot of cushioning, its tough to beat Hoka One Ones Bondi 7 shoe. The Bondis thick midsole cushioning allows for a smooth, efficient ride, and offers the extra support that helps people with existing knee or hip pain.

These shoes are pricier than many other walking shoes on the market, but theyre definitely worth the cost for the quality, durability, and performance. The running shoes come in sizes 5.5 to 12 and a variety of color combinations.

Materials: Mesh upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: Full EVA midsole, memory foam collar | Closure: Lace-up

  • Limited color options

  • May be warm in extreme heat

If youve suffered from foot blisters, toe numbness, or other foot pain because of tight shoes, you may want to consider the New Balance 577 V1 walking shoe for its wide, deep toe box.

Supportive and durable, it provides plenty of cushioning and comfort for neutral walkers. With a high-grade leather upper and a grippy rubber outsole, the New Balance 577 V1 shoe is ready for all types of surfaces and weather conditions. It’s perfect for fitness walking, but stylish enough to serve as a casual, all-day wear shoe as well. Available in sizes 5 to 12 and in regular, narrow, wide, and extra-wide widths. They are offered in Black and White.

Materials: Leather upper, rubber sole | Cushioning: Polyurethane midsole, ABZORB cushioning in heel | Closure: Lace-up

Best For Travel: Skechers Ultra Flex Harmonious Walking Shoe

  • Good shock absorption and support

  • Stylish

  • May not work for narrow feet

  • May be too thin for extreme cold

Whether youre exploring a new city on foot or speed-walking through the airport, the Skechers Ultra Flex Harmonious walking shoe makes for the perfect travel companion. Flexible and responsive, the shoes keep your feet comfortable and supported, even if youre walking for hours. The memory foam-cushioned insole provides a comfortable, custom-feel fit while the Ultra Flex midsole offers further shock absorption and support.

With a sporty design and lots of color options, this versatile shoe will pair nicely with many outfits. The slip-on style, lightweight feel, and grippy sole also make it worthy of a spot in your suitcase. The shoes are available in sizes 5 to 11, in various trendy pastels, along with the standard Black and Grey.

Materials: Skech knit mesh | Cushioning: Memory foam insole | Closure: Slip-on

Read Also: Tricare For Life Cover Silver Sneakers

Is There A Mileage Limit For Walking Shoes

The short answer is yes. If youre a runner, you know that you typically have to retire a pair of shoes between 300-500 miles.

But this is also true for walking shoes. Obviously, it will likely take you a lot longer to get to that mileage walking, but it is helpful to keep that number in mind.

Any cushioned shoe will eventually break down. To avoid injury, make sure that you get a new fresh pair once your current pair has maxed itself out. Tracking your miles can help you know when its time to move onto a new pair.

Impact Forces And Running Form

The Difference Between Walking shoes and Running Shoes

Despite what it might look like, running is not just fast walking. Consider two key differences:

  • When you walk, the impact forces on your legs are roughly equal to your body weight. When you run, however, those impact forces multiply and your joints have to support several times your body weight, according to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. A Brooks study found a similar result: Running produces forces 2.5 times your body weight at impact.
  • Then there’s running form. There’s a big difference in how your feet strike the ground when you’re walking versus running. Plus, everyone’s form is different. The amount of cushion needed and where that cushion goes will vary for each runner. Some runners might also need more support around their ankles or a special type of insole.

Your everyday walking shoes just aren’t designed to address these things, but running shoes are built with these factors in mind. You can even find different types of running shoes that are tailored to your body’s needs.

Also Check: Best Comfortable Women’s Sneakers

Do You Like Bright Vibrant Colors

Take a look at the majority of walking shoes and youll find lots of black, white, and browns. By design, walking shoes have muted and conservative color designs.

If you want a bright, colorful look, then go with running shoes. If you want a more conservative look, youre better off buying a walking shoe.

Best For Seniors: Skechers Performance Go Walk 5 Walking Shoe

  • May not work for very wide feet

  • Not the best for ankle support

With a sturdy, grippy synthetic sole, the Skechers Go Walk 5 Walking Shoe is a good choice for seniors, who are at a higher risk for slips and falls. The footbed is cushioned with memory foam and the thick heel helps with shock absorption, allowing you to stroll in comfort. The slip-on style also makes it easy to slide your shoes on and off with minimal effort.

This stylish shoe can be dressed up or down, making it a great all-around and versatile walking shoe. Available in several colors and in sizes 7 to 15, in medium or wide sizes.

Materials: Athletic-knit mesh fabric upper | Cushioning: Memory foam | Closure: Slip-on

Recommended Reading: Womens Leather Low Top Sneakers

Can I Wear Walking Shoes For Running

Ehhno. It doesnt go the other way. You do not want to wear walking shoes for running, because walking shoes are too stiff. They wont give you the flexibility that you need to be comfortable when you run.

Additionally, because walking shoes have less cushioning and often weigh more than running shoes, they will unnecessarily make it harder to run, and could even cause undue stress and even injury to your feet.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available


Do not hesitate to contact me directly at my e-mail if you have any further questions or if you need a different pair of shoes for your child. My e-mail address is:

Have you tried a particular shoe style that has worked well for your childs feet? Please share your findings below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.

Also Check: Best Sneakers With High Arch Support

Is Cost An Issue

There is a lot of research and design going into running shoes. Partly, this is because running puts so much force on the body, running companies are constantly trying to outdo each other to make the lightest, most durable, protective shoes they can.

But the cost of this R& D is that, well, the shoes also cost a lot. So walking shoes, generally speaking, give you more bang for you buck.

However, remember that for most shoes, you get what you pay for. Cheap and inexpensive walking shoes wont feel as good or last as long as a more expensive pair of shoes .

Heres our list of best affordable running shoes.

Best Running Shoes For Walking

This article has been updated for October 2021. The adidas Solarglide, Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 4, and Saucony Triumph 18 have been replaced with their updated versions. Except for the narrower B width, the womens models are almost identical to mens. We say almost because the Womens Cumulus 23 and GlideRide 2 have a 1 mm thinner midsole, whereas the Womens Nimbus has a 3 mm higher offset based on a 2 mm thicker heel and 1 mm thinner forefoot.

Most sportswear brands sell walking shoes, but boy, do they look drab and uninspiring. Walking shoes lack the sheer breadth of colors and materials that running shoes have.

Can running shoes be worn for walking? Sure. But first, it is important to understand the fundamental difference between walking and running, and how that affects the choice of footwear.

Shortly after the push-off phase of running, both of the feet are momentarily up in the air. Contrast this with walking, where both the feet can be simultaneously in contact with the ground. One foot is flat on the ground while the tip of the other foot is still in contact with the road.

Hence, the transitions occur more slowly during walking as the weight loading progresses gradually from the heel to toe.

If youre familiar with Solereviews shoe guides, you know the drill. We first lay out the selection criteria followed by the list of recommended shoes. Here goes:

A beveled heel edge is walking-friendly.

1) adidas UltraBoost 21

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Best Overall For Men: New Balance 990v5 Running Shoe For Men

  • Expensive

Some running shoes are more suitable for walking than some walking shoesthanks to running shoes’ typical incorporation of updated cushioning and support. A category leader in exercise shoes, New Balance certainly delivers with this high-quality, comfortable running shoe. These shoes have just the right balance of firmness and cushion, which sufficiently support and protect your feet while walking. The shoes premium footbed provides cushioning and arch support, while the lightweight, breathable upper helps keep your feet cool and dry.

Whether youre walking for fitness or need a solid shoe for all-day wear, this sleek, attractive shoe can work with both athletic and casual styles. Theyre available in sizes 7 to 20 and in a range of widths, too, from extra narrow to 3 extra-wide, so you can easily find a well-fitting shoe that will keep you moving comfortably. With 13 standard and bold color combinations to choose from, you’ll want to order an extra pair.

Materials: Suede and mesh upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: EVA foam | Closure: Lace-up

Want To Talk To A Live Expert About How To Choose Walking Shoes

Differences between Walking and Running(MOOC) | Different between Walking and Running Shoes

If youve got questions, we’ve got answers. With Virtual Outfitting, you can get expert fit advice and gear tips from the comfort of just about anywhere with Wi-Fi.

You can also try on shoes and get expert fit advice in REI stores. Call ahead and ask for details on the stores current COVID protocols.

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Walking Shoes Vs Running Shoes: The Differences

Shoe weight

Getting into the specifics, walking shoes tend to be heavier compared to running shoes. Thats because they use heavier materials to help stabilise the foot and support the arch during every step, as the foot spends more time in contact with the ground and needs that support. On the other hand, running shoes need to be lighter to help the runner keep going without their feet tiring, given the greater amount of time their feet spend in the air and without ground contact.


With the impact forces in running, running shoes tend to have more cushioning to help protect the feet and legs, softening the blow with every stride. This cushioning tends to apply to the entire shoe, not just the heel, as some runners strike the ground at their forefoot or midfoot. Walking shoes have cushioning, but often not to the same degree, and with great emphasis on the heel as this is where walkers first make contact with the ground at every step. Where running shoes use lighter materials, extra cushioning can add back some of this weight.


Both walking and running shoes need some flexibility but the emphasis should be in different areas. As you roll through the foot and push off the ground with the toes during walking, the emphasis on flexibility should be at the forefoot in walking shoes. Running shoes tend to have more flexibility at the arch or midfoot.


Arch support, stability and control

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