What’s The Difference Between Walking And Running Shoes?


A running shoe differs from a walking shoe in terms of its characteristics. Running in walking shoes is not recommended for runners because most of them are too stiff and do not flex in the way that runners require. As a result, many walking shoes aren’t appropriate for fitness walking.

As a result, fitness walkers can usually find a running shoe that meets their needs better than the majority of walking shoes on the market today. A walker can analyze both running shoes and walking shoes to find the models that work best for him or her if he or she knows what characteristics to look for.

Running shoes have several functions, and designers work to keep them updated with the newest materials and technology. You have a plethora of options to suit a variety of running styles and requirements. They differ in terms of how much cushioning they provide, ranging from minimalist designs for racing to cushioned shoes for long-distance walking.

Running shoe models with varying levels of the heel-to-toe drop is available to meet the needs of toe-strikers, midfoot-strikers, and heel-strikers, among others. Running shoes are also classified based on their stability features and whether they are motion control shoes, which are designed to help correct overpronation while running. Newer designs provide structure and cushioning while weighing less, and they are constructed in a seamless manner to eliminate points of rubbing that can cause blisters to form.

Walking shoes, on the other hand, have always lagged behind the times in terms of technological advancement and have been designed more for comfort than for performance, and cushioned shoes may actually cause more leg stiffness than they prevent.  If you’re looking for a comfortable shoe for short walks and strolling at a leisurely pace, these might be a good option.

Fitness walkers, on the other hand, require a shoe that is flexible, lightweight, and flat because they strike with the heel and roll through each step without causing your foot to slide.

Walking shoe designs should be scrutinized carefully because many are stiff and heavy. They interfere with your natural foot motion and cause you to slow down. As a result of the limited selection available in the walking shoe aisle, fitness walkers frequently opt for running shoes that better suit their needs.

The Differences Between Walking Shoes and Running Shoes

Shoe weight

To get into the specifics, walking shoes are typically heavier than running shoes when compared to each other. This is due to the fact that they use heavier materials to help stabilize the foot and support the arch during every step, as the foot spends more time in contact with the ground and therefore requires more support from the footwear. However, running shoes must be lighter than normal in order for the runner to maintain their stride without their feet tiring, given the increased amount of time their feet spend in the air and away from the ground during the sport.


Runners’ shoes typically have more cushioning to help protect the feet and legs from the impact forces that occur with each stride. This helps to reduce fatigue and improve overall performance. Due to the fact that some runners strike the ground with their forefoot or midfoot, this cushioning tends to cover the entire shoe rather than just the heel. Walking shoes have to cushion, but not always to the same extent as running shoes, and with a strong emphasis on the heel, which is where walkers make their first contact with the ground with each step. When running shoes are made of lighter materials, additional cushioning can help to make up for some of the weight loss.


Both walking and running shoes require some degree of flexibility – but the emphasis should be placed on different areas of the shoe for each. Walking shoes should place the most emphasis on flexibility at the forefoot because, as you roll through the foot and push off the ground with the toes while walking, the forefoot should be the most flexible. Running shoes tend to be more flexible in the arch and midfoot area than other types of shoes.


Running puts a lot of strain on your body, and your feet become hotter much faster than they would if you were walking. As a result, it is critical for running shoes to allow for adequate airflow. This is why many running shoes have mesh outers, which helps to keep the foot cool. When it comes to walking shoes, durability and support are more important considerations than breathability.

Arch support, stability, and control

Despite the fact that these three characteristics are important for both walking and running, they differ depending on not only the activity (with walking resulting in your feet spending more time on the ground and thus being influenced by the shoe in its entirety), but also the type of shoe you choose. Pronation control and neutral options are available for both walking and running shoes, and ‘pronation control’ – which refers to the amount of arch support you have in your shoes – is further subdivided into what level of support you prefer, ranging from mild to heavy control.

Your shoe fitting expert – or your podiatrist – should step in to provide you with the best advice on what type of support and control will be most beneficial to you in your chosen activity based on your foot type and characteristics, as well as the specifics of your chosen activity. This is standard practice during our biomechanical appointments with our podiatrists, and you can request that we evaluate your foot mechanics at any time during your visits with us as well.

Walking Shoes vs. Running Shoes: Which Do You Need?

At first glance, it may not appear that there is much of a difference between walking shoes and running shoes. However, there is. When it comes to shoes, as you can see, there are a few important distinctions to keep in mind when you’re out shopping.

It’s time to hit the stores now that you know what to look for and what to avoid when shopping for each type of shoe. If you require additional assistance in getting ready to crush your workouts, please visit the Health section of our website for some additional resources.


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