Are Running Shoes Good for Walking?

Are Running Shoes Good for Walking

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.

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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.

  • Cushioning

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.

  • Breathability

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.

  • Flexibility

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.

  • Weight

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 3

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.

10 thoughts on “Are Running Shoes Good for Walking?”

  1. Hi,

    I hadn’t really considered that running shoes my be bad for walking. I used to wear running shoes to walk the two miles into work. The downside of this was that they wore out quickly as I used to run in them too. I did notice that they wore out on the outside of the heel first. It caused me to have my gait analyzed to get the proper running shoes.

    • Hello, Tom, and thank you.

      Great to hear about your benefit of reading the article.

      You are not the only one. It is many things to have in mind about things like that.

      If I can help you with anything else, or if you have any questions, don´t hesitate to contact me.

  2. You make a lot of good points here. I had never thought of the difference between running and walking or the shape of the foot! I think most just buy what is comfortable in the store (where there is lovely cushiony carpeting) without thinking of any of these factors.

    As someone with high arches, I’ve known my shoes were uncomfortable but didn’t think of the damage I could be doing to my feet just through normal motion. I need a new pair of “runners” (nope, walking shoes!) now so I will know what I should be looking for

    Thank you for the very informative article!

    • Hello, Feochadan, and thank you.

      Great to hear about your benefit of reading the article.

      And thank you for your kind words.

      Shoes should always be comfortable, but it is important too to know what you have in mind when you buy it. We use shoes sometimes in different circumstances. But it is good to know what the primary purpose is behind it.

      But having said, it is very understandable that many/most people don´t know it. So that is way Sports Send try to info people about useful things to know when they buy or use items.

      If I can help you with anything else, or if you have any questions, don´t hesitate to contact me.

  3. Some years ago I had purchased some running shoes, but I’ve never really used them for running… Now, for the last couple of months that I go walking with my wife, I wear them, and I find them extremely comfortable and good for my feet.

    Besides the comfort, is there something else that I should look out for? Also, could wear the wrong shoe damage my joints in the longterm (knees, ankles, etc.)?

    • Hello, Harry, and thank you.

      There has been a massive development in making shoes. And it has its pros and cons. Mostly pros though. Because now you can buy running or walking, shoes for almost all bodies and with nearly all activity in mind!

      But cons because it is beneficial now to know what you should look at. More to think about if we can say so.

      I would not say it is dangerous to be in the wrong shoes, but it is not a question; it will help you to be in the right shoes with both performance and health in mind.

      I wrote an informative article about what to have in mind when you buy shoes with some tips included. You can see it here.

      Don´t hesitate to contact me if I can help you with anything else, or if you have any questions.

  4. It is a really fabulous post… I didn’t know so much analysis went into the feet, positioning when walking and running. I used the show I used to jug in early mornings to take long walks too, and I didn’t see any problem with it. I think you’ll agree with me when I say if a shoe hurts when you walk with it, you shouldn’t try using it to run since there’s more pressure in the running. Thanks for such a great post. I’ve learned something new today.

    • Hello, Henderson, and thank you.

      Great to hear about your benefit of reading the article.

      Yes, I am complete agree that if the shoes hurt you, don´t use it!

      Don´t hesitate to contact me if I can help you with anything else, or if you have any questions.

  5. Hey, thanks for the information! There really is so much to consider when buying the proper shoes. I have a pretty normal healthy arch, so I like to use running shoes that don’t have that much cushioning. I never thought of getting specific shoes for walking, so I’ll have to look into that.
    Would you recommend running those 5-finger style shoes? Like the Vibram? They may be bad for ankle support, but I find that it makes my foot stronger overall.

    • Hello, Wilson, and thank you.

      The Barefoot/Zero drop running shoes, the 5-finger shoes, is exciting but it is not for all.

      I recommend that you have a look at this article about it because I talk about the pros and cons there.

      Don´t hesitate to contact me if I can help you with anything else, or if you have any questions.


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