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Differences between a Walking, Running or Training Shoe

Walking and running are two different activities which place different demands on your feet and footwear. When walking your body’s weight is distributed more evenly on your feet than when you run. Walking shoes are designed with the specific body mechanics and strike path of walking in mind. Constructed to be more flexible through the ball of the foot to allow for a greater range of motion through the roll of the forefoot. Running shoes have more cushioning in the heel at the point of impact and less protection through the ball of the foot. Running shoes are lightweight footwear purely designed for prolonged or regular running. A good training shoe otherwise known as cross training shoes combines the features of different footwear types to accommodate these different physical activities. Cross training shoes have adequate padding under the entire sole to cover landing on different foot strikes.



Walking shoes have greater arch support to protect where the force is heaviest on the foot. These shoes have less ankle support because walkers are not moving side to side. The soles for walking shoes are thinner than the soles for cross training shoes because walking is a low impact sport. Walking shoes have the most cushioning in the heel area since walkers land with the heels. Walking shoes are usually more flexible than cross training shoes because the walker’s foot hits the ground with the heel, rolls forward and pushes off with the toe.





Running shoes can provide more cushioning and flexibility to the foot during running events. This cushioning aids in shock absorption, especially during impact against the ground. These shoes are designed for forward movements. They have thicker heels and are more flexible at the toe region. Running shoes often have intricate treads that help with moving or running forward. Runners can hit the ground on the heel, midfoot or toe depending on personal preferences. The amount of heat generated in the running motion is greater than walking so running shoes are also made with a higher amount of mesh to keep feet cool during exercise.





Cross training shoes are a hybrid of several different types of athletic footwear. They may have the heel cushioning of a running shoe, the lateral stability of a tennis shoe or basketball sneaker and the forefront cushioning of a volleyball shoe. The benefit of a cross training shoe is that the shoe is versatile enough to be utilized for various activities such as basketball, tennis, aerobics, kickboxing and weightlifting. Many cross training shoes have high and cushioned ankle supports to reduce the chances of sprains and provide support for both forward and lateral movement.
Most training shoes are found to be heavier and have lighter treads than running shoes.





There are different types of footwear for walking, running and cross training. Each type of footwear offers different cushioning and support features for the ankle, heel, arch and toes. Walking shoes are designed for walking and while running shoes are for long distance running. Cross training shoes aren’t designed for one specific activity but can be worn for many different sports. If you leave a comment or question at the bottom of this page I will respond as soon as possible. Thank you for your time.

All the best,




  1. Angeemat

    We do take these things for granted but its good to know what you are wearing and the purpose. I still get amazed at how comfy some shoes are compared to other even if they are for the same purpose. Thank you, so much lesson learnt.


    Nice article. For someone like me who like to wear different shoes, this article has been eye opening. I just go and buy different shoes without putting in mind the differences that you said in your article. Thanks for the knowledge.

  3. Maurice Jackson

    I myself, and I am sure others as well, by shoes for style, design, comfortability, and out of necessity, I have never bought a pair of shoes with the ball or heel of my feet in mind. Thank you for this article. It seems the cross trainer cannot be beaten.

  4. Tyler Badham

    A great explanationf for the different shoes! I actually had no Idea that there were more than one kind, or atleast that there were different purposes for each one other than just brand marketing! This is really cool! Thank you for the article!

  5. Huzaifa53

    Normally, we dont even think of these differences in types of shoes while buying it, we just buy it because we liked it. N then when we get pain we still dont think that we are using the wrong shoes for that particular activity.. Therefore, This article is worth sharing as we should know the reason for buying pair of shoes..

  6. glenford r

    Brilliant article, I prefer running trainers as they have lots of cushioning even when walking. Be great to see which ones you recommend and in price brackets!

    • admin

      Thanks for the comment. Amazon sells a lot of running shoes. I would recommend New Balance training shoes which is one of Amazon’s best selling running shoes. I have worn New Balance walking shoes for many years and they are very comfortable.

      All the best,

  7. Ronnie Jordan

    I never really gave much thought to the construction of shoes. I just knew that my casual shoes did not seem to have as much cush as my gym shoe. I sometimes wonder being an athlete from the late 60’s and early 70’s if the shoes they make now much better for your feet. It seems to me they are because of the various different styles. Plus my feet and ankles are a mess. I played basketball which was a lot of pounding on the joints. For the younger people, I hope they are.

    • admin

      Hi Ronnie,
      If you play a lot of basketball then you should wear basketball shoes. They provide cushion for your ankles and feet because there is a lot of lateral movement in playing basketball. You can easily sprain your ankles playing basketball.


  8. Owain Couch

    Hi Roger,

    Thanks for explanation between these types of shoes. It is important that you need to have the right type of shoe for your activity. There is no point wearing a walking shoe when you are running. It just won’t give you the support that you need or help you in the long run, (no pun intended).

    All the best with your website.

  9. Yvette J

    Great post! I’ve always wondered what the difference is between all the different types of athletic shoes. I can now go get my newest pair of sneakers, fully aware of exactly what I need!

  10. shannonas

    I didn’t know that there were different kind of shoes for walking and running I always thought they were all used for the same reason. Now I know the difference thank you.

  11. Steve Taylor

    I’ve always wondered what was different about cross trainers. It’s interesting to know how they incorporate a number of different types of shoes together. Until I started running I thought everything was a tennis shoe. Is a shoe that is actually designed for playing tennis different from what a person would go walking it?

    • admin

      Hi Steve,
      There is a difference between tennis shoes and walking shoes. Tennis shoes provides more cushion for lateral (side to side) movement while walking shoes gives extra support for the heels. If you wear walking shoes while playing tennis you can twist your ankles.

      All the best,

  12. peterrrr

    I have changed many of my shoes of recent due to excessive wear and tear from walking. It is good to know the exact type of shoe for different purposes. Thanks for sharing

  13. Michael Kenny

    Hi Roger, Great Article and this gives me an understanding on the kind of footwear needed, I always wear runners and recently I was put into an area and now I am always standing 8 hours in work, what kind of footwear would you recommend on standing?

    • Roger

      Hi Michael,
      If you have foot pain then I would recommend that you buy a pair of orthopedic shoes. Otherwise just buy a pair of shoes which provides extra cushioning for the heel, arch and forefoot because when you do a lot of standing, your body puts pressure or stress on the bottom of your feet.


  14. Igor from gmt

    Hi Roger!

    I like your post and your website. I think it is a great topic because our feet are very important part of our body. The shoes we are wearing to protect them and to use them are very important as well.

    The quality and different sort of shoes for different purposes will help us to feel and use better our feet.

    I am coming also form sports field, and I am still practicing port, from tennis to gym, running and stuff, so I know how important are proper shoes.

    Thanks for giving some more impulses to the topic and clarification about such sensitive topic.

    Best regards!

  15. Mervyn Dettmer

    Hi Roger,
    Thank you for your post, I enjoy your site.
    I have run many a mile in my life and fully understand the importance of making the correct choice of shoes. When it comes to running this is very important as you need to have the shoe that supports your arch type or you could end up with numerous running injuries

  16. Tina Beaston

    I’ve been checking out the hybrid shoes because I find that I participate in these exercise whenever convenient. I used to visit the gym but I relocated near a nature trail. I figure a hybrid is a good choice for me to get round, down and up those natural paths. Yet, should I find a gym close enough or running trail the shoes may be just fine.


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