Walking Shoes vs Running Shoes: What Are the Differences?

Walking Shoes vs Running Shoes: What Are the Differences?

Did you know that a recent study found that walking at least 3,800 steps per day can reduce your chance of dementia? If you’re interested in walking more, it’s important to find the right shoes for the job.

Many newcomers incorrectly assume that you can wear running shoes for walking. However, the reality is that there are key differences when it comes to walking shoes vs running shoes.

That’s why we made this guide. In this article, we’ll be going over some of the key differences between the two. That way, you can decide for yourself which ones are best for your needs. Let’s dive in!

Heel Height

Heel height is an important consideration with running shoes. That’s because different types of runners strike the ground with different parts of their feet.

Some strike with their heels first, while others use their midsole or the ball of their foot. If you use your midsole or the ball of your foot, then it’s a good idea to get running shoes with high heels.

This will provide a lot more support while you run. Walkers, on the other hand, almost always strike the ground with their heels, then roll through the step. Because of this, the best walking shoes don’t require high heels.


When people run they hit the ground with a lot more impact than they would be walking. Because of this, cushioning is an important part of running shoes.

Specifically, running shoes typically have a lot more cushioning in the heel and forefoot areas. Cushioning in walking shoes ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Generally speaking, walking shoes don’t come with a lot of forefoot cushioning because it’s just not needed. Still, some walkers prefer shoes that come with some cushioning toward the heel.

Just keep in mind that more cushioning will make your shoe heavier. So, if you get a walking shoe with more cushioning it might impact the speed with which you walk.

Heel Flare

Heel flare refers to the back part of the shoe. For runners that strike the ground with either their forefoot or their midfoot, it’s important to have a flared heel with a plastic insert.

This is an important part of adding more stability to your run. That same goes for runners that plan on running on mountain trails a lot. Walking shoes, on the other hand, don’t require flared heels.

Since walkers hit the ground with their heels first this type of flared heel can impede the natural roll of their step.


Midsoles for both walking shoes and running shoes are important. That’s because they absorb the majority of the shock when you hit the ground. That being said, they’re generally more important in running shoes.

That’s because runners hit the ground with a lot more impact. Because of this, it’s common to see the best running shoes with extra cushioning around the midsole section.

However, if you experience frequent pains in your joints when you walk, then you should also look for walking shoes with reinforced midsoles.

Insole Support

Whether you’re a walker or a runner it’s important to consider adding insole support to your shoes. Specifically, if you suffer from conditions like plantar fasciitis that cause pain to the bottom of your feet when you run or walk.

When working with these conditions it’s important to find custom insoles that are tailor-made for your specific feet. That being said, you don’t want to add insoles to shoes that are already tight on you.

Doing so will just put more pressure on your feet. So, make sure that there is enough space for them.


It’s more important for running shoes to be flexible than walking shoes. Specifically, you want the soles of your running shoes to have flexibility. That way, they can easily adapt to whatever type of terrain you’re running on.

If you’re working with a stiff sole on you’re running shoes, then it’s likely going to result in sore ankles. Flexibility for walking shoes ultimately depends on what you’re using them for.

If you’re using them for easy routes (like a walk around the park), then flexibility can be desirable. It will make the walk slightly more comfortable.

That being said, if you plan on walking harder routes (like hilly or mountainous terrain), then flexibility isn’t the route to go. These types of routes will require more support which flexible walking shoes won’t provide.

Where to Find the Best Shoes

The best place to find running or walking shoes depends on your needs. There are pros and cons to shopping at both in-person stores and online stores. With in-person stores, you can try on your shoes before you buy them.

That way, you’re 100% sure that they’re the right fit for you before you even leave the store. However, keep in mind that in-person stores tend to be a lot more expensive than online shoe stores.

A cheaper price isn’t the only benefit that comes with shopping at online shoe stores. You also get a much wider selection of shoes to choose from.

For example, you can easily find Chuck 70 high shoes online which would be fairly difficult if you were shopping in-store.

Appreciate Learning About Walking Shoes vs Running Shoes? Keep Exploring

We hope this article helped you learn more about the differences between walking shoes vs running shoes. If you wear walking shoes for running, or vice versa, it’s not the end of the world.

But, be aware that it can have a lasting impact on both your performance and overall health. That’s why it’s important to eventually find the right shoes for your preferred activity.

Did you appreciate learning about this type of athletic equipment? Our website has dozens of similar articles so keep exploring to find them.

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