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3 Things That Differentiate Walking Shoes and Running Shoes

June 18th, 2011 · 3 Comments ·


I have written an article on the topic of How To Buy A Good Running Shoes According To Your Feet Arch some time ago.  It shows you how you can identify the different types of feet you may have so that you will buy the right type of running shoes.

Last month, I have received an e-mail asking me the difference between walking and running shoes.  Ten years ago, it is easier to tell one from other because walking shoes are usually white, but now, just like running shoes, they have come in various colors and patterns.  Here are the list of differences between walking and running shoes:

  1. One of the main differences is flexibility of the shoes. When we run, the bigger movement is on the knees whereas the bend is at the ankle and the foot during walking.  Therefore, walking shoes has to be more flexible to accommodate the movements of ankle and feet.  Walking shoes require thin midsole (the cushioning layer underneath the shoe) so that walkers can have more natural foot roll from the heel through the toes.  The flexible outsole at the bottom of a walking shoes also supports this roll through motion.
  2. Second, because running causes more impact on the knees than walking, running shoes have to be more sturdier.  In the midsoles (the cushioning layer underneath the shoe), running shoes have thicker cushion layer compared to walking shoes.  As for the heel, runners will need running shoes with raised heel or one with wide heel to meet the motion needs of a running stride.


  3. From the first and second point, you can see that walking shoes are designed to promote easy roll of the foot from heel to toe which is the natural walking motion.  In order to provide natural walking feel, the walking shoes have to be light.  Therefore, in this matter, walking shoes are made of lighter material and shoe outer are made of highly breathable materials. On the other hand, running shoes are designed to absorb impacts, as much as up to three times of your body weight.

Knowing the difference between running and walking shoes are helpful.  But, what is more important and to make things simpler for you – you can walk in running shoes, but do not run in walking shoes because you will hurt your feet.


I normally do not wear running shoes or walking shoes when I am out, whether doing grocery shopping or going to banks.  I am more a flip flop or sandal person.  I dedicate my running shoes for running purpose at gym or outdoor to preserve its life.  However, I do wear running shoes in some occasions even when I am not running.  One of the instances is when I go for holiday tour with many sightseeing activities.  I will usually wear my old running shoes for that purpose.  Each time I get a new pair of running shoes, the old pair will be retired for casual use. How about you, do you wear running or walking shoes too for casual outing?



Category: Other Fitness/Sports Articles

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3 responses so far ↓
  • keith // Jun 20, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    So basically… I’ve been doing it wrong all this time. I’ve been using running shoes as walking shoes.

  • blackhuff // Jun 20, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    What a good explanation regarding running and walking shoes. Thank you for this.
    I also use my old running and walking shoes for casual use.

  • Toc // Jun 21, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    Great post thanks, I have always used running shoes to walk in as specific walking shoe do not suit the shape of my feet and have found them completely fine. I think its more to do with personal preference on comfort, weight etc.

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