7 important Difference between Walking and Running Shoes

Have you ever considered the distinction between running and walking shoes? The difference between walking and running shoes is a very crucial factor for athletes. Yes, they are distinct due to some common differences. In this article, we’ll discover more about them.

Running and walking are two different hobbies that need different foot actions. As a result, the shoes are fitted to the needs of the foot, providing maximum comfort and protection to the user. It’s extremely common for people to lump both running shoes and walking shoes into the same category as athletic shoes, despite the minor variances between the two. Walking and running shoes, on the other hand, have distinct qualities to meet the needs of the various activities.

Running shoes differ from walking shoes in several ways. Runners should not run in walking shoes since most of them are too stiff and do not flex as much as runners require. As a result, many walking shoes aren’t suitable for fitness walking.

Difference between Walking and Running Shoes
Fig 1: Running Shoes

Fitness walkers, on the other hand, can usually locate a running shoe that matches their needs better than most walking shoes. A walker can study both running shoes and walking shoes to identify the models that work best if they know what attributes to search for.

If you’re a runner, you may want to land on your heel first and then roll forward to the ball of your foot. You can also push off after landing on the ball of your foot. Much relies on your style and level of comfort. Running is a high-impact workout in which your body absorbs around three times its weight each time your foot touches the ground.

Walkers, on the other hand, all walk in a similar manner, with the heel of the foot making first contact with the ground before the foot, and therefore the body’s weight rolls forward to the ball and subsequently the toes. With your body absorbing around one and a half times your body weight, it’s a less taxing exercise. Walking also helps to distribute weight more equally between your feet and legs.

Difference between Walking and Running Shoes
Fig 2: Walking shoes

Some Features of Walking and Running Shoes


What runners need: Because walkers have one foot on the ground at all times, runners hit the surface with much more strength than walkers. Runners, unlike walkers, require more cushioning in the heel and forefoot, which is why air cushioning systems are so popular in their footwear.

What walkers require: Extra forefoot cushioning is unnecessary, and most walkers can do without heel cushioning. Extra cushioning adds weight, so you have to choose between a heavier shoe that reduces foot and leg injuries and a lighter shoe that allows you to run or walk faster. 

What to look for in a fitness walking shoe: Choose a lightweight shoe with appropriate padding so your feet and legs don’t get beaten up by the impact after a lengthy walk.

Look for cushioned running shoes if you want to walk more than six miles at a time, but be sure they meet the other criteria for decent walking shoes. 

Height of the Heel

What runners require: Running shoes with a built-up heel are designed to provide stability to runners. Runners use various parts of their foot to strike the ground, depending on their preference. To make contact with the ground, they can use the forward area of their heel, the midfoot, or the ball of their foot. There are several ideas about how much heel-to-toe drop is ideal for runners.

What walkers require: Walkers use their heels to strike the ground and roll through the step. They don’t require a higher heel.

What fitness walkers should look for: Running shoes with the least amount of height difference from heel to toe are ideal. This is known as heel drop, and it’s usually measured in millimeters on the shoebox. 

Trying to estimate it by glancing at the shoe’s exterior sole is deceiving. Although some shoes appear to have a higher heel, your foot’s heel lies lower inside the shoe.

Difference between Walking and Running Shoes
Fig 3: Running shoes require high heels

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The Flare of the Heel

What runners need: For runners who touch the ground with their midfoot or forefoot, a flared heel might provide added stability. A flared heel is common in trail running shoes.

What walkers need: Walkers’ heels strike the ground, and a flared heel makes it difficult to roll forward through the step.

What should a fitness walker look for: Avoid flared heels if you’re going for a fitness walk. Instead of a flared or built-up heel, a real fitness walking shoe has an undercut heel.


What runners need: Many running shoe styles flex the most in the arch or midfoot, which is ideal for runners. However, certain types, bend the greatest near the forefoot. These are designed to meet the needs of runners who strike with the midfoot or ball of their foot.

Because they feature construction elements that seek to inhibit the foot from twisting too much during a step, motion control, and stability shoes will be less flexible. When it comes to motion control, runners and walkers must sacrifice some shoe flexibility.

What walkers need: Both running and walking shoes must be flexible.

What to look for in a fitness walking shoe: Press down with the toe of the shoe and notice where it bends. Because walkers should push off with their toes, fitness walking shoes should bend at the forefoot. They require a platform, which is not provided by a shoe that bends at the arch. It’s not acceptable to have a shoe that doesn’t bend at all.

Difference between Walking and Running Shoes
Fig 4: Flexibility of shoes is very important

The overall difference between Walking and Running shoes

Parameters of Comparison Running Shoes Walking Shoes 
Sole sole is stiffFlexible and bendable  
Heels Thick heel wedges Beveled heels 
Weight Lightweight Comparatively heavier 
Motion Control More motion controls It provides less stability. 
Cushioning has extra cushioning. no extra cushioning. 
Cost more expensive. cheaper. 
Mesh has extra mesh. no extra mesh.
Table 1: Difference between Walking and running shoes

Is it acceptable to walk in running shoes?

Yes, in a nutshell. Running shoes and walking shoes share many of the same characteristics that make them appropriate for physical activity. Running shoes are designed to handle the rigors of running, but they also make excellent walking shoes.

Is it true that running shoes should be snug?

A properly fitted running shoe should have wiggle room in the toes and feel snug in the heel and midfoot. By pressing your thumb down next to the ball of your foot and around your toes while standing, you may check for adequate length and width. Half to a full thumb’s width of space is recommended for a comfortable fit.

What is the significance of running shoes?

Running shoes are often lighter in weight but have more padding on the heel and toe. Runners tend to expend more energy because running is a more strenuous sport. Because your feet sweat, most running shoes are composed of mesh, which allows air to circulate easily. This mesh also contributes to the shoe’s lightness.

When it comes to running shoes, how long should you wear them?

Experts recommend that running shoes be updated every 500 to 750 kilometers. That’s every 300 to 500 miles or four to six months for someone who runs 20 miles per week.

Should you wear the same shoes for walking and running?

Because walking and running are biomechanically different, you’ll acquire different wear patterns for each. Walking in the same shoes for both can result in a wear pattern that creates or exacerbates gait issues.

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