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    Walking Shoes vs. Running Shoes:

    What's the Difference?


    the difference between walking and running shoes
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    While they may look the same, all athletic shoes are not created equal. And this is a good thing. Some sneakers are designed specifically for walking, while others have performance features for running. Whatever your activity, from strolling to sprinting, we've taken the guess work out of finding the perfect shoe for your personal fitness needs. Here's what sets a walking shoe apart from a running shoe, and why it matters. Your feet will thank you.


    Shoe Weight

    When you walk, significantly less weight is baring down on the ground (or treadmill) with each step than when you run. Because of this, a good walking shoe requires less cushioning than a running shoe. While you wouldn't want to walk in a shoe without any cushioning, of course, the additional padding you'll likely notice in the heel and forefoot of most running shoes may add more weight than you need. A lighter shoe that still provides some cushioning is preferable for regular use and longer walks, as this will keep your feet comfortable without adding extra weight.


    Heel Height

    The point of impact changes when you walk versus when you run. While runners strike the ground anywhere from the forward part of the heel through the midfoot to the ball of the foot, a proper walking stride will cause the heel to strike first. Because of this, the type of shoe and the ideal heel height vary by activity. Runners need differing degrees of built-up heels depending on their specific strike pattern, while walkers should look for shoes with the least height differential between the heel and the toe. Be sure to pay attention to the actual heel rather than the shoe's outer sole, as some styles may appear to have a higher heel that in fact sits lower inside the shoe.

    heel height

    If you suffer from any foot conditions, especially plantar fasciitis, choosing the right heel height can be tricky. It's important to consult your podiatrist before starting a new fitness routine to discuss the right footwear for your specific condition and desired activity, as there are some additional features you'll want to keep in mind.


    Heel Shape

    A flared heel can be great for runners, particularly trail runners, as it provides a bit of extra stability. Because the heel should be the first point of impact when walking, however, you'll want to look for an undercut or straight heel instead, which aids with the natural forward rolling movement that occurs when taking a step.

    heel shape

    Flexibility

    Both running and walking shoes should be moderately flexible; where that flexibility is centralized, however, is what sets them apart.

    While most running shoes flex at the arch or midfoot (again, this relates to how the foot meets the ground when running), walking involves a forward rolling motion starting with the heel and ending with the toes pushing off the ground. This is best suited to a shoe that flexes at the forefoot.

    In addition to the above, it's important to pay attention to any foot-related problems that may require special features or additional support. If you have diabetes, for example, finding a walking shoe that is also SADMERC and PDAC approved is a great way to ensure a proper fit.

    With a better understanding of the difference between walking shoes and running shoes, you'll now be able to find the perfect footwear for your specific needs.

    Enjoy the stroll!


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    Shop Featured Categories:
    WOMEN'S WALKING MEN'S WALKING WOMEN'S RUNNING MEN'S RUNNING


    Related Articles:
    What Causes Chronic Foot Pain?
    What is Plantar Fasciitis?
    7 Tips to Manage Chronic Foot Pain
    What is Over-Pronation?
    What to Look for in a Shoe if You Have Foot Pain
    How Do I Tell if I'm Wearing the Right Size Shoe?


    Frequently Asked Questions:

      Q. What's an insole?

    A. The insole is the fixed inner sole of a shoe or boot where your foot bottom rests...

    Read more here


      Q. What's an outsole?

    A. It's the outermost layer of the sole (i.e., the exterior bottom)...

    Read more here


      Q. What makes a shoe or boot slip-resistant?

    A. Slip resistance is determined by a shoe's outsole design, material, and tread pattern...

    Read more here


      Q. What's an EVA Midsole?

    A. Suffer from back pain? Your footwear may be partially to blame. An EVA midsole helps to disperse weight and provide stability, learn more.

    Read more here


      Q. What is Plantar Fasciitis?

    A. One of the most common foot ailments, it's helpful to identify what is causing strain to effectively treat plantar fasciitis. Here's what to look for.

    Read more here


      Q. What is the Plantar Fascia?

    A. Find out why this fibrous tissue is so important to your feet, and how overuse can become a serious pain.

    Read more here


      Q. What is the Wet Foot Test?

    A. Take this two-step test to find out your arch type!

    Read more here


      Q. What is Supination?

    A. Supination is a natural process that allows us to walk and run properly. Learn how it works.

    Read more here


      Q. What are Shin Splints?

    A. While "shin splints" is not a medical diagnosis, the discomfort being experienced is likely indicative of one.

    Read more here


      Q. What is a Bunion?

    A. We've all heard our grandmothers talk about them before, but what actually is a bunion?

    Read more here


      Q. What is Achilles tendonitis?

    A. The Achilles tendon is your best friend when it comes to walking, running, and jumping, so inflammation of it can be a real pain. Find out more.

    Read more here


      Q. What is Metatarsalgia?

    A. Metatarsalgia is a fancy word for pain in the ball of the foot. Find out what causes this discomfort, and how to treat it.

    Read more here


      Q. What are Flat Feet?

    A. Fallen arches, also knows as flat feet, refers to an abnormal foot arch, and may be the reason for your foot pain.

    Read more here


      Q. What is Arthritis?

    A. Find out how arthritis, including gout, can cause foot pain, especially in the big toe.

    Read more here


      Q. What is Gout?

    A. A form of arthritis, gout most commonly occurs in the big toe. Learn more about what causes this inflammatory condition.

    Read more here


      Q. What is Hammer Toe?

    A. Often caused by wearing tight shoes, a hammer toe is a painful abnormality. Here's what to look for.

    Read more here


      Q. What is Claw Toe?

    A. Often a result of nerve damage, a claw toe is a painful abnormality. Here's what to look for.

    Read more here


      Q. What is an Ingrown Toenail?

    A. Ingrown toenails are a pain, and can be caused by injury, ill-fitting shoes, or improper foot care. Learn how to avoid them.

    Read more here


      Q. What's a shoe's sole?

    A. Every shoe has a sole, which provides protection from the ground with each step. Learn what to look for to get the support you need.

    Read more here


      Q. What's a rocker sole shoe?

    A. A rocker sole shoe (aka a rocker bottom shoe) is a type of shoe that has a thicker sole with a rounded heel. Learn more about the two types of rocker soles.

    Read more here


      Q. What's a heel counter?

    A. The heel counter controls the foot's pronation, and is key to providing foot and ankle support. Find out what to look for.

    Read more here


      Q. What is Morton's neuroma?

    A. A Morton's neuroma is the result of tissue thickening around the nerve between the bases of the toes.

    Read more here


      Q. What is a heel spur?

    A. A heel spur is an abnormal growth of bone on the bottom of the heel bone.

    Read more here