Differences Between Running Shoes & Walking Shoes

Differences Between Running Shoes & Walking Shoes
It is a well-known fact that running shoes cannot substitute as walking shoes, and vice versa. The differences between running shoes and walking shoes are more than just appearance, and in fact there is a lot of technology that goes into running shoes that simply is not applied to the average walking shoe. Additionally, the very technology that makes running shoes perfect for running actually makes these shoes impractical for walking, and in some cases may actually hamper the healthy foot motion associated with walking altogether.

Running Shoes Have Thicker Soles

Examine the soles of running shoes and walking shoes. Notice that running shoes have a thicker outer sole to provide cushioning for the more forceful impact the foot will have on the terrain. Walking shoes, on the other hand, have a slightly thinner sole, oftentimes with deeper ridges to provide the traction needed for more leisurely movement over uneven terrains. A good example are the soles of the New Balance men's MR 858 running shoes, and the Merrell men's Chameleon Iso walking shoes.

Walking Shoes Are More Flexible

Consider that the impact of the foot onto the ground requires not only cushioning but also support from accidental slippage. To this end, running shoes are stiffer than walking shoes. The latter must support the healthy walking motion that begins with a heel set-down, and then continues with a roll and a slight toe push. Examine the Nike men's Air Zoom Vomero +3 running shoe; it features a molded heel area and a stretch panel for utmost support. By comparison, the North Face men's Turner shoes provide an ergonomically designed foot bed, but the upper portion of the shoe is made from leather instead of a tight stretch panel that offers a lot of stiffness.

Running Shoes Are More High Tech

Realize that running is considered a serious sport, while walking is found to be more of a hobby. This has led to the development of technological masterpieces in the form of running shoes. For example, the North Face men's Arnuva 100 TR GTX trail running shoe is made for long-distance, all-terrain runners; it uses polymers for cushioning on these sometimes hazardous trails. Discuss your foot physique with a professional fitter who can tell if your foot is neutral, pronated or supinated, which also influences your choice of running shoe. Purchasing a Timberland men's Barentsburg Chukka shoe---it retails for $90---will not involve these discussions; instead, you may supplement the EVA insole with an additional supportive insole that is sold separately.

Article Written By Sylvia Cochran

Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.

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