Are Running Shoes And Walking Shoes The Same? (Differences & Categories)

Running shoes are not the same as walking shoes. Although you can walk in running shoes, running in walking shoes is not recommended. Shoes are split into different categories, including walking and running, because we exert different forces into the ground and feet when we run. When you run, you absorb nearly three times your body weight after hitting the surface with your feet which happens in different places, including heel, midfoot, and forefoots. You also hit the ground in different ways, work various muscles and foot biomechanics. When you run, your feet also sweat more. This is why shoes are manufactured in different designs and for varied purposes, each best suited to help runners stay safe comfortable and lessen the likelihood of getting an injury.

Differences Between Running And Walking Shoes

Differences Between Running And Walking Shoes

Shoe Weight

Running shoes are lighter than walking shoes. Walking shoes are heavier because manufacturers use heavy materials for stabilizing the foot and supporting the arch when making each step since the foot spends a lot of time in contact with the ground, which requires more support. On the other hand, running shoes are ultra-light for helping runners run safely without tiring the feet as their feet spend a lot of time in the air without ground contact.


A running shoe will have more cushioning than a walking shoe due to the impact forces. The cushioning helps in protecting the feet and legs and softens the blow with every step. The cushioning applies to the heel built, and the entire shoe as some runners may strike the ground using the forefoot or midfoot. 

Although walking shoes also have some cushioning, it’s not as much as in running shoes. The cushioning in a walking shoe is more on the heel since a walker will make contact with the ground at every step. Cushioning running shoes too much may add weight, making it hard for the runner to perform well.


Every walking and running shoe must have some flexibility, although the emphasis should be on different areas. When rolling through the feet and pushing off the ground with your toes as you walk, the flexibility emphasis should be at your forefoot in walking shoes. A running shoe will have more flexibility at the arch and midfoot.


When running, your body works very hard, and the feet may get hotter than they would when walking. Therefore, it is essential to promote airflow in your running shoes. That is why most running shoes have mesh outers to promote breathability. Walking shoes emphasize more on durability and support instead of breathability.

Arch Support, Stability, And Control

These three factors are essential when walking or running, but they vary based on activity and your preferred type of shoe. A shoe fitting expert will give you the best advice on the kind of support and control that will benefit you most, either when running or walking, based on your type of foot and unique foot characteristics.

What Are The Different Running Shoe Categories?

Different Running Shoe Categories


These are running shoes designed for a runner who does not overpronate. The shoes do not have any in-built features for adding extra stability. These shoes are ideal for a runner who pronates or supinates.


These types of shoes are suitable for a runner who overpronates slightly. The shoes lightly correct the foot to a much neutral position during a run.


Stability shoes are primarily made for a runner who overpronates. They have a stiff piece of foam on the inside arch which helps in preventing your feet from rolling inwards excessively.

Motion Control

These types of shoes are built to be stiff and keep the feet aligned in a neutral position. These shoes are heavier but have excellent support from the heel to the toe. The shoes are ideal for a runner who overpronates heavily.

How Are Walking Shoes Categorized?


A neutral walking shoe allows for a natural walking stride and lacks the components for correcting your stride.


These are similar to their running counterparts and are made for runners who overpronate

Motion Control

Motion control walking shoes are stiff and keep the feet in the correct position. The shoes are heavy, but they allow for a nice heel-to-toe roll as you walk.

Walking shoes do not have a lot of types of pronation control due to the injury element as you walk.

How To Know The Type Of Category To Purchase

Most people know whether they pronate, overpronate or supinate by just looking at their arches. A person with a low to flat arch usually overpronates. A person with a medium arch also pronates, and people with high arches probably supinate.

To check your arches, you can do a paper bag test that involves placing the paper bag on the floor, wetting your foot, and placing it on the bag or paper towel with your full weight. Your imprint will show you how your arch appears.

Can You Wear A Running Shoe For Walking?

Although it is not ideal to wear your running shoes for walking, your overall comfort matters most, and this may vary from person to person. Therefore, if you have found that you can walk in running shoes, you only need to take the necessary precaution to avoid getting injuries. You can do this by ensuring the shoe fits well and feels comfortable. Adding arch support to your running shoes can help prevent arch pain that develops when walking over time.

If you decide to run with a walking shoe, you should monitor how you feel while walking and ensure your needs are supported.


If you enjoy working out, a good shoe is a considerable investment that you should aim to get right. Walking shoes and running shoes differ in numerous ways, although you can walk in a running shoe and vice versa. Whichever shoe you choose; you must ensure it is comfortable enough for you. However, note that walking shoes and running shoes have different properties.

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