Why You Need Different Shoes for Walking and Running

There are distinct differences between walking and running in terms of mechanics and impact on the body. These differences extend to the footwear required for each activity. Although it might be tempting to use the same pair of sneakers for both, it’s advisable to have dedicated shoes for running and walking. The key differences lie in factors like foot strike, impact, and biomechanics. For example, generally, a runner’s foot strikes from the heel to the midfoot or forefoot, and walkers predominantly land heel-first. This divergence creates distinct wear patterns in shoes, affecting their fit and performance. Running involves high-impact forces, with each landing absorbing several times the body’s weight. In contrast, walking maintains continuous contact with the ground, resulting in lower impact. These differences necessitate varying levels of cushioning and support in the shoes. Arch support, flexibility, heel drop, and other factors also differ between running and walking shoes. If you engage in running or walking for exercise, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist to discuss shoe alternatives that will enhance your comfort, reduce the risk of injuries, and optimize your performance for each activity.

For more information about walking shoes versus running shoes, consult with Craig Foster, DPM from Traction Podiatry Group. Our practitioner can measure your feet to determine what your needs are and help you find an appropriate pair of footwear.

Foot Health: The Differences between Walking & Running Shoes

There are great ways to stay in shape: running and walking are two great exercises to a healthy lifestyle. It is important to know that running shoes and walking shoes are not interchangeable. There is a key difference on how the feet hit the ground when someone is running or walking. This is why one should be aware that a shoe is designed differently for each activity.

You may be asking yourself what the real differences are between walking and running shoes and the answers may shock you.


Walking doesn’t involve as much stress or impact on the feet as running does. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be any less prepared. When you’re walking, you land on your heels and have your foot roll forward. This rolling motion requires additional support to the feet.

Flexibility – Walking shoes are designed to have soft, flexible soles. This allows the walker to push off easily with each step.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Gilbert, AZ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.