Shoes serve varying purposes. Some are meant to be used outdoors, while some can help you enhance your outfit in a board meeting or a dress party. As shoes can change as per the occasion, it can be difficult to choose the appropriate one.
When it comes to sports shoes, it is vital to get the right shoes that would not hinder your exercise sessions. To fulfil the entire purpose, there are different shoes for running as well as training. But you cannot use them interchangeably. The following article will shine some light on the difference between running and training shoes.
What are Training Shoes?
Training shoes are a specific category of fitness footwear that are explicitly designed to protect workout routines, fitness classes, weightlifting, racquet sports, etc.
They have varying levels of cushioning that provide overall support to the ankles and the feet. Even though training shoes will work for all kinds of sports, if you really want to excel at one particular sport, you must get that sport-specific shoes.
The following are some of the basic requirements of training shoes:
- The outsoles should be non-marked for elevated performance at court sports.
- Go for mesh uppers as they facilitate better airflow and ventilation.
- You can also opt for removable footbeds that provide more support.
What are Running Shoes?
Getting the ideal running shoe can be cumbersome as several factors require consideration. You need to pay attention to your requirements, shape of your foot, biomechanics, etc.
Running shoes are specifically designed to act as a layer of protection from the road and the traction formed while running. Moreover, they form a cushion-like layer to protect the wearer from landing shock.
Most running shoes are designed to handle shock up to 3.5 times the wearer’s body weight. Cushioning is a must in the forefoot as well as the heel to absorb any external shocks.
The following are some of the pre-requisites of a qualitative running shoe:
- High ventilation and breathability.
- Excessive cushioning for comfort and support.
- Stable outsoles to provide traction on any surface.
- Immense flexibility for better foot movements.
Differences Between Training and Running Shoes
Besides being purpose-specific shoes, there are several differences between training and running shoes, like the following:
Running shoes excel in terms of cushioning as compared to training shoes. With every stride, the wearers create an impact that carries the potential of hurting the feet. This can be avoided by a layer of comfortable and durable cushioning.
On the other hand, training shoes have less cushioning than running shoes. As training shoes are not designed for running, sudden impacts are a rare sight. Such types of shoes are used for heavy lifting and other exercises that generally do not lead to sudden external jolts. Moreover, the cushioning provided is less so that the sole is closer to the ground. This increases the overall stability.
Running shoes have less sole flexibility than training shoes. As running shoes are made for heel-to-toe movements while training shoes are for lateral movements. Hence, training shoes have more flexibility to allow for multi-directional movements.
Running shoes have a higher heel-to-toe offset that runs 8 to 12 mm. On the other hand, training shoes have a flatter heel-to-toe offset. This is also referred to as heel drop. Basically, it shows the distance between the heel height and toe height.
The midsole foam acts as an extra layer of cushioning while undergoing heavy physical and outdoor activities. Running shoes have thicker midsole foam to protect the feet from sudden jolts from recurring strides and foot movements. However, such a thick foam prevents the wearer from undertaking lateral movements.
Training shoes have a flatter midsole, thereby facilitating lateral movements like heavy lifting or cross fit.
The outsoles provided in running shoes are more durable than the ones in training shoes. As running is mostly done outdoors on concrete surfaces, it is necessary to maintain traction without ruining the outsole. As training shoes are worn indoors while practising different kinds of exercises or sports, the outsoles are durable but not as steady as the ones in running shoes.
However, the outsoles provided in training shoes are ideal for agility training, split-second directional shifts, and quick turns.
Arch and Heel Support
If you are looking for arch support, you must go for running shoes. While running at immense speed, you might end up suffering from heel pain without any arch support.
Contrarily, training shoes have extraordinary heel support. As the wearer will get very close to the ground or platform while lifting weights or during weight training, heel support is a prerequisite for stability.
Training shoes are wider than running shoes. More width is seen in the forefoot.
As more stability is required while working out or lifting weights, wider shoes provide more toe area, allowing you to maintain better balance.
Running shoes are made with breathable knit polyester or nylon mesh. This fits the contours of your feet while the PU leather reinforcements make them water-resistant while making them stretchable.
Training shoes are made of EVA foam and polyurethane that makes them more durable and stable during heavy workout sessions.
Lastly, training and running shoes differ in terms of their usages. As the name suggests, running shoes are used for running.
When it comes to training shoes, they have comprehensive usages. They can be used in gym classes, outdoor boot camps, weightlifting, agility training, strength training, etc.
Why Should you Use Purpose-Specific Shoes?
Would you prefer wearing uniforms at a dress party or a fancy suite at a construction site? No, right? Because everything is meant to have a purpose, and the same logic applies to shoes. It is essential to wear the shoes applicable to the circumstance in question due to the following reasons:
Discomfort and pain can be avoided by wearing purpose-specific shoes. You can strategically eliminate the possibility of getting heel or arch pain, blisters, or soreness.
Elevates your Performance
Different types of shoes are constructed in their unique manner, helping you elevate your performance. If you end up with the wrong type of shoe, it will not only cause you discomfort, but it can potentially hinder your performance and affect your results.
You might not get the right grip or required stability to undertake the said sport or workout routine.
Wearing the wrong kind of shoe can lead to several types of injuries, like:
- Ankle sprains
- Knee injuries
- Plantar fasciitis
- Stress fractures
Ease of Working Out
The right kind of shoe can allow you to focus on your performance and training, rather than getting worked up about your shoe fit.
How to Buy the Right Kind of Shoe?
Be it training or running shoe, there are certain specific characteristics that you must look out for while buying shoes:
Always try on your shoes before buying. If you are making an offline purchase from a local store, try it on. If you are purchasing it online, try the shoes on as soon as you get them.
The shoes should not be extremely fit as they might cause blisters, discomfort, and toe pain. Moreover, it can lead to bruises and markings on the skin. If the shoes are loose, they could come off while wearing them. Hence, go with shoes that have a snug fit.
The shoe should fit along the contours of your foot without digging into your skin. There must be at least ½” toe room for your toes to wiggle around. This can reduce the possibility of blisters or toe pain.
As your shoes would be used to undertake outdoor activities with rigorous foot movements, arch support is a must.
The insole and midsole should be made of breathable materials to avoid the accumulation of moisture. This feature is a must for people with sweaty feet.
The outsoles should be durable and reliable enough to maintain traction with the surface. This is crucial to maintain friction with the surface to avoid any slippage.
The bottom line
The next time you go for purchasing shoes especially sports shoes, be vary of the characteristics necessary to make a good shoe. We hope that you have understood the difference between running and training shoes. This will help you make a better purchasing decision.
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.