Walking Shoes versus Running Shoes: Which Are Better?

As any gym bunny will attest, there are many differences between walking shoes and running shoes. However, not many people are aware of the benefits each shoe has for them. If you have a strict regime in place, you will want to know how walking shoes and running shoes can benefit you and which ones are better for the type of exercise that you indulge in.

Runners tend to impact the ground at a greater rate than walkers. Fitness walking is seemingly less impact than running and as such, their shoes should reflect this. Runners tend to have ‘springier’ soles so that their bodies can take the impact of pounding the treadmill or the pavement. Runners need more cushioning to ensure that the heel does not suffer irreversible damage. It is imperative that runners ensure that the seek out a shoe that can take the impact of running.

Fitness walkers tend to need a shoe that has less cushioning on the bottom. However, the best walking shoes support the ankle to ensure that the leg is not damaged during long bouts of walking. While walkers need less cushioning so that they are not weighed down by the heaviness of the shoe, they still need to avoid the trauma that is apparent with any exercise. Heavier shoes impede the pace that one can walk, although they can protect your feet in a much more substantial way. Lighter shoes are important, but the cushioning should be adequate to avoid any impact that could damage the leg while walking. Racing flats are perfect for short, brisk walks but are not suitable for long, extensive walks.

Avoiding trauma to the legs, and feet is imperative for both fitness walkers and runners so trying on a variety of shoes are important to see what fits your fitness needs.

What is more, as runners strike the ground when they run, they need to ensure that their midfoot is protected as this is where the most impact should be centred while running. Walkers, on the other hand, should aim to strike the ground with their heel and should seek out suitable footwear that protects this part of the body. Runners who strike with their midfoot should look for higher heeled shoes whereas walkers should aim for shoes that have a less height in order to protect their feet.

Do be aware that the shoes outer sole can be deceptive. While the shoe may look as though it has the height, it may not have the cushion inserted into the sole that is imperative for protecting one’s feet. Walkers may not have to protect their heel as thoroughly as runners, so it is not important which height of sole that they choose. Height for walkers is simply not important.

Whether you are walking or running, partaking in any fitness is important. Everyone should endeavour to wear the appropriate clothing, and footwear, so that they do not damage their feet, or legs. This damage is not only painful, but can often be irreversible.


Flickr: Kris Krug