🛩️✈️🛩️Free Worldwide Shipping on all orders over $60.00

Walking Shoes vs Running Shoes: What’s the Difference?

Let’s be real, choosing the right footwear for your workout routine is just as crucial as the routine itself.

Power walker? Casual stroller? Or perhaps a hardcore runner? Your feet’s best friends can elevate your game or be a dealbreaker.

Today, we’ll dive deep into the key distinctions between walking shoes and running shoes, and how to pick the perfect pair for your needs. Let’s get into it!

Key Differences Between Walking Shoes vs Running Shoes

While walking and running shoes may appear similar at first glance, they are designed with specific features to cater to the unique demands of each activity. Let’s delve into the key differences:


Running shoes are the featherweights of the footwear world, engineered to be lighter than air (well, almost) to allow for quicker foot strikes. This lightness is essential for runners who need to maintain a blistering pace without feeling like they’re dragging anchors on their feet.

Walking shoes prioritize stability and cushioning over speed. They tend to be slightly heftier, providing a sturdy foundation to support your foot during those leisurely strolls or power walks.


Flexibility is key for runners, as their feet need to move as naturally as a graceful gazelle during the running gait. That’s why running shoes are designed with greater flexibility, allowing your feet to bend, twist, and contort in all the right ways.

In contrast, walking shoes are built to control pronation and provide motion control, meaning they’re less flexible than their running counterparts. This rigidity helps keep your feet stable during those long walks, but let’s be honest, you won’t be winning any limbo contests in them.


When it comes to cushioning, running shoes are the true comfort kings. They boast ample cushioning, especially in the heel and forefoot areas, to absorb the impact of each foot strike. After all, running is essentially a series of controlled falls, and you want your feet to feel like they’re landing on clouds.

Walking shoes focus on providing moderate cushioning and a smoother heel-to-toe transition. Too much cushioning can actually make walking feel unstable, like walking on a mattress (which, let’s face it, is only fun for about five minutes).


Stability is the name of the game for walking shoes. They’re designed with features like medial/lateral support and anti-torsion plates to control your foot’s movement and provide unwavering support during those long walks or hikes.

Running shoes, however, prioritize flexibility over stability to accommodate the dynamic movements of running. While they still offer some stability features, they’re not as rigid as their walking counterparts.


The outsole is where walking and running shoes really start to diverge. Running shoe outsoles are equipped with deeper lugs and made of sticky rubber for maximum traction. After all, you don’t want to slip and slide your way through a run.

Walking shoes have shallower tread patterns that are perfectly sufficient for the slower pace and less varied surfaces encountered during walks.


When it comes to uppers, running shoes embrace breathability like a fish embraces water. They often feature lightweight mesh and synthetic materials to keep your feet cool and dry, even during the sweatiest of runs.

Walking shoe uppers may opt for more durable materials like leather for added support. Sure, they might not be as breathable, but at least your feet won’t feel like they’re trapped in a sauna.

Heel Drop

Heel drop, or the difference in height between the heel and toe of the shoe, is another key factor that separates walking and running shoes. Running shoes typically have lower heel drops, which can promote a more natural gait and encourage a forward foot strike, thus decreasing the impact on your joints.

Walking shoes, however, tend to have higher heel drops to support the heel-first foot strike that’s common during walks. After all, you don’t want to feel like you’re constantly teetering on your toes.


When it comes to durability, running shoes are the true marathoners of the footwear world. They’re designed to withstand the rigors of high-intensity activities, making them generally more durable than walking shoes.

Walking shoes are crafted with low-impact activities in mind. While they can certainly handle their fair share of strolls, they might not be up for the challenge of a full-on sprint session.

To help you understand the key differences at a glance, here’s a table that summarizes the primary distinctions between walking shoes and running shoes:

FeatureWalking ShoesRunning Shoes
WeightHeavier for stabilityLighter for speed
FlexibilityLess flexible for motion controlMore flexible for natural movement
CushioningModerate cushioningAmple cushioning, especially in the heel and forefoot
StabilityHigh stability with medial/lateral supportModerate stability for dynamic movements
OutsoleShallower tread for the slower paceDeeper lugs and sticky rubber for traction
UpperDurable materials like leatherLightweight, breathable mesh and synthetics
Heel DropHigher for heel-strike supportLower for a natural gait and forefoot strike
DurabilityDesigned for low-impact activitiesDesigned for high-impact, intense activities

When to Choose Walking Shoes Over Running Shoes

Now that you’ve understood the differences between walking and running shoes, it’s time to decide which ones are right for you. Here are a few scenarios where walking shoes might be the better choice:

  1. Power Walking or Hiking: If you’re a power walker or hiker who likes to conquer trails and sidewalks alike, walking shoes are your trusty companions. Their sturdy construction and supportive features are perfect for tackling varied terrain.
  2. Work or Travel: Need a reliable shoe for work or travel? Walking shoes are the way to go. Their durable construction and comfortable design make them perfect for those long days on your feet.
  3. Foot Issues: If you have foot issues like wide feet, bunions, or plantar fasciitis, walking shoes can be a godsend. Their added support and stability can help alleviate discomfort and prevent further issues.

When to Choose Running Shoes Over Walking Shoes

Of course, there are also times when running shoes reign supreme. Here are a few scenarios where you might want to opt for a pair of running kicks:

  1. Jogging, HIIT, or Sprinting: If your workout routine involves any form of running, whether it’s jogging, high-intensity interval training, or sprinting, running shoes are an absolute must. Their cushioning and flexibility are designed to support the high-impact demands of these activities.
  2. Lightweight and Cushioned Workouts: If you’re looking for a lightweight, highly cushioned shoe for exercise classes, strength training, or other low-impact activities, running shoes can be a great option. They’ll keep your feet comfortable without weighing you down.
  3. Long-Distance Running: If you’re a long-distance runner, running shoes are non-negotiable. Their stability features and shock-absorption qualities are essential for protecting your joints and preventing injuries over those grueling miles.
ActivityRecommended Shoe
Power WalkingWalking Shoes
HIIT/SprintingRunning Shoes
Work/TravelWalking Shoes
Foot Issues (e.g., bunions, plantar fasciitis)Walking Shoes
JoggingRunning Shoes
HikingWalking Shoes
Lightweight/Cushioned WorkoutsRunning Shoes

Wrapping Up

Choosing the right athletic shoe is like choosing the perfect dance partner – it’s all about finding the one that moves with you, supports you, and helps you perform at your best.

Whether you opt for the lightweight flexibility of running shoes or the sturdy support of walking shoes, the key is understanding your needs and the demands of your chosen activity.

Remember, comfort and proper fit should always be your top priorities. After all, happy feet make for happy workouts (and a happier you!).


Is it OK to wear running shoes for walking?

Yes, running shoes can be worn for walking as they offer a comfortable fit and are designed with extra support and flexibility. In fact, many fitness walkers prefer running shoes for their lightweight and breathable construction.

Can Walking Shoes Be Used for Running?

While walking shoes can technically be used for running, I generally don’t recommend it. They may not provide the necessary flexibility and cushioning needed for the high-impact nature of running, which can increase the risk of injury.

Can I Walk and Run in the Same Shoes?

You can walk and run in the same shoes, especially if they are running shoes. However, using the same pair of shoes for both activities may lead to faster wear and tear, so it’s best to have dedicated shoes for each activity if possible.

Can I wear running shoes all day?

Absolutely! Running shoes can be worn all day as they provide a comfortable fit and are designed with extra support and flexibility. As someone who spends a lot of time on my feet, I often opt for running shoes for their all-day comfort.

Can walking shoes be used for the gym?

While walking shoes can technically be used for the gym, they may not provide the necessary support and flexibility for certain exercises. For activities like weightlifting, HIIT, or cardio classes, you’ll want to opt for a more versatile shoe like a cross-trainer or running shoe.

Remember, the right shoe can make a significant difference in your comfort and performance. Always choose shoes that fit well, provide the right support, and are suitable for your specific activities. Happy walking and running!


off, especially for you 🎁

Sign up to receive your exclusive discount, and keep up to date on our latest products & offers!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Worldwide shipping

On all orders above $60

Easy 7 days returns

7 days money back guarantee

International Warranty

Offered in the country of usage

100% Secure Checkout

PayPal / MasterCard / Visa