Can you use running shoes and walking shoes interchangeably? Yes and no. Walking and running shoes are very different, as they were both designed for their specific purpose. Running shoes tend to be more durable, breathable and have more support features than your average walking shoe. It is not recommended that runners use walking shoes for running, but walkers may find that running shoes are just fine for their daily strolls.
Running shoe uppers are very breathable and made of panels of synthetic leather and mesh. Walking shoe uppers are usually thicker and do not often have mesh panels. They are sometimes made of genuine leather.
Running shoes often have intricate lacing systems that alleviate pressure points yet keep the shoes snug and comfortable over long distances. Walking shoes do not have to be that technical for comfort as the stresses on them are not as severe. Walking shoes usually have traditional laces or even Velcro straps for convenience.
Running shoe mid-soles are comprised of layers and sections of differing densities that help guide the foot along an optimal stride path. They also often have gel, air or even liquid packets within the mid-sole for added cushioning. Walking shoes occasionally have some of these extra cushioning packets, but they usually don't have all of the extra guidance mechanisms. They often have a rounded mid-sole from toe to heel to enhance the rolling motion of the walking stride.
Running shoe out-soles are very durable, with noticeable lugs for traction, and are meant to stand up to miles of pounding. Walking shoes usually have softer out-soles because they don't need to stand up to the same wear and tear that running shoes do.
Article Written By Tanya Wyr
Tanya Wyr has 12 years experience as a professional writer and editor both in print and online. She has written for major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Macy’s and Mervyns. Wyr has also edited college-level textbooks. Wyr earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1991.