Hey Angels and Alphas,
If you’re someone who is new to running or walking for fitness, you might find yourself feeling a little too overwhelmed when you’re looking online for the right shoe.
To provide you with the guidance you need along your shopping journey, we’re here to break down the differences between running sneakers and walking shoes, as well as what you should be looking when you want to find the right shoe for you at the right price.
Let’s get started.
There’s a difference between walking and running shoes.
The first thing you should know is that there’s a difference between shoes designed for running and shoes designed for walking. They look similar, but they’re not.
Running shoes aren’t designed to do the same thing as a pair of walking sneakers. Cushioning and fit are the two big differences. Since running is a high-impact activity, while you may think you want more cushion underfoot, this can actually throw off your strides and lead to more harm than good.
With every step, your foot is going to be looking for contact with the actual ground, this means it’s forcing its way through the foam. When you’re walking, you’re using less force in each footfall, so you can pretty much add more cushion for comfort. And walking shoes are meant to be worn all day while running shoes aren’t.
If you’re on the go all day, get a walking shoe.
For the all-day wearer, experts recommend walking shoes. They tend to have a much more “stretchy” upper – something with a four-way stretch – which will allow your foot to stretch comfortably throughout your day. Your feet are going to be changing their size slightly throughout the course of your day, so an all-day walking shoe is perfect.
However, you should make sure to switch into a running shoe for your runs. You can walk in running shoes, but you shouldn’t run in walking shoes.
When you’re running, you need support, not comfort.
When you’re running, you don’t need something cushy. You need something that supports you. This doesn’t mean going for barefoot shoes, it just means the foam needs to be less cushy. This will also apply to the upper, which should be a recycled polyester or polyester that won’t stretch as much when you run.
Always check your arches.
In reality, about 80 percent of walkers and runners will be fine with a neutral-support shoe. But if you have collapsed arches, you might want something with more motion control and added support.
How do you know if you need motion control? Just look in a mirror while you’re barefoot and march in place. See what your arches do – are they coming close to touching the ground? If the answer is yes, you might need more support.
Think about your goals.
Running and walking are generally done on different terrains, and this requires different shoes.
For example, light hiking is a pretty great trend we’re seeing. And you don’t need all-out hiking boots for that – you are going to need something with more rubber and more lugs for traction on your tread, as well as a more durable upper. Think about the environment and terrain in which you’ll be walking/running and adjust your choice for it.
Go for mid-range prices.
Running shoes are skyrocketing in price across the board as they’re getting more and more popular. And with companies using better technologies and foams, it’s difficult to find a good running shoe at a good price. Cheaper shoes, on the other hand, will use less durable foam.
That being said, much pricier models will likely have high-tech additions that newer runners won’t really need. For walking, you can pretty much opt for more budget-friendly models, all that matters is that they’re comfortable for you.
Finally, learn when it’s time to replace your shoes.
Sadly, shoes do have a shelf life. Must walking and running shoes are good for about 300-500 miles. There’s no perfect formula that says when it’s time to replace your shoes, but we hear people say that shoes just “feel tired” or they start noticing easy runs feel just a little bit harder.
You can see wear and tear signs yourself, like for example, the midsole being compressed, or the lugs on the bottom start getting worn off. As soon as you see some of these signs, it’s time to replace your shoes.