Although most people don’t really pay attention to this, it is still an important question: are running shoes good for walking? The two activities, running and walking, are obviously different. Hence, the feet that indulge in these activities require shoes that are a little different from each other.
What you may want as a walker is usually different from what you may look for in a shoe as a runner. In this article, we go into detail about the two types of shoes and activities that will help you choose a pair for walking.
Running vs. Walking
Before going into the details of running and walking shoes, it is important to know why there is a difference between the two. Running and walking shoes are different from each other because the mechanics of running and walking are different.
The shoes are designed, keeping in mind the type of movement that occurs during running and walking. While they may look alike, running and walking are two different activities. During a run, your body lands either on your heel, mid-foot, or the ball of your foot. On the other hand, during a walk, your body lands on your heel and rolls through the ball to the toe.
When you run, the impact on your feet and the ground is higher than when you walk. While running, your feet strike the ground with more strength. The effect on the ground is two to three times your body weight when you run, whereas it is only one and a half times when you walk.
The physics of running is different as the stress on your feet is heightened. There comes the point when your foot pushes your whole body off the ground, and when you land, the entire body weight goes on one foot. This is unlike walking, where your body weight is more evenly distributed on both feet, and your body is comparatively more stable as one of your feet always remains on the ground.
Differences Between Running and Walking Shoes
Only by knowing the details of the differences between the two, we can decide whether running shoes are good for walking or not.
As a runner, you are involved in a more forceful activity. Hence, your feet may need more cushioning and support. Running shoes are cushioned on the inside, particularly near the heels, to support your feet when you are running.
On the other hand, walking shoes have less cushioning as walkers strike the ground with less force and are more stable naturally.
When you run, your body, as well as your feet, heat up. Running shoes have a mesh that makes them more breathable. Mesh allows air passage and keeps your feet cool. You don’t necessarily need breathability in your walking shoes.
Running shoes are not very flexible because the movement of the foot during a run does not require much flex. However, they should be flexible near the arch.
On the other hand, walking tends to flex your foot and requires much more flexibility in the shoe. Walking shoes are flexible near the ball of the foot to facilitate a greater range of movement.
Walking shoes are usually heavier than running shoes since the weight of the shoe affects the speed of the runner. Running shoes are made lighter for the runner to run faster.
Types of Feet and Shoes
The type of shoes you may wear depends on the arch of your feet. Therefore, always check your arch before picking up a new pair. You can check your arch by dampening your feet and placing them on a flat piece of paper.
The type of footprint tells what kind of arch you have. This distinction is important to know because it affects your walk and runs, and wearing the wrong shoes can lead to pain and stress on your feet.
- High Arch
If you don’t get much of a footprint, your arch may be high. If your arch is high, you may be prone to stress because of the lack of natural shock absorption. For this, you should buy shoes with added cushioning that may support your high arch.
- Medium Arch
With a normal footprint, you may have a medium arch.
- Flat Feet
A visibly wider footprint shows you have a flat foot. Flat feet are prone to muscle and joint issues more than anyone. When the arch of your foot bends excessively inward, it is called over-pronation.
If your feet are flat, they over-pronate and do not support your body very well. Such feet lead to muscle and joint pain in the knees and swelling issues as well. Thus, it is imperative to have some support in the form of shoes to alleviate such problems.
If you have flat feet, your body would be less stable; therefore, you should look for shoes that have more support inside them. This may help keep your feet remain at a neutral position and avoid over-pronation.
Such shoes are known as stability shoes; they are a type of running shoes that are stiffer on the inside to support your feet. However, these shoes are not very flexible.
Are Running Shoes Good for Walking?
The answer is both yes and no. This means that you may or may not find running shoes comfortable for walking. Nevertheless, know that both types of shoes are constructed according to the movement and anatomy of your feet.
It is recommended to wear walking shoes for walking and running shoes for running. If you have a high arch, you may need extra cushioning that is available in both running and walking shoes.
When you walk, you put pressure on your heels, and it rolls to your toes. Hence, you need the flexibility that walking shoes provide. On the other hand, running motion is different, and running shoes are not very flexible, but you may still wear them if you feel comfortable.
So, are running shoes good for walking? Maybe; it all depends on your feet, the shoe you are buying, and your walking style.
To sum it all up, the main thing to consider when choosing a pair of shoes is that they should fit well and be comfortable. You may find a running shoe that is suitable for walking or a walking shoe that you prefer over it.
The main concern is that it should not hurt your feet and allow your feet to perform the natural walking movement with ease.