The general notion that we can use the same shoes for any sporting activity is absolutely dangerous. The comfort for your feet dictates that you choose the right shoes for any activity, because every shoe type is designed for its sole purpose.
Majority of the accidents that occur at the gym or when one is running are caused by having the wrong fitness footwear. These are activities that demand extra steadiness, which depends on how well your shoes co-relate with the ground.
Many at times you might be tempted to use the same shoes you use for the gym for your evening jogs as well. Just don’t that because doing so will surely limit your productivity. This is why knowing the differences between running and training shoes requires a clear understanding of each, as explained in this article.
- 1 Training Shoes
- 2 Running Shoes
- 3 The Major Difference between Training Shoes and Running Shoes
- 4 Conclusion
Also known as cross trainers, training shoes can be used for any type of fitness exercise, in and out of the gym. However versatile they are, they are still not ideal for racing or running.
Uses of Training Shoes
Due to their versatile nature, you can perfectly use these shoes for a number of workouts as highlighted below:
- Weight lifting: Training shoes guarantee you ankle mobility, making it easier to squat deeper when weight lifting. Their stiffness also keeps your whole-body stable even when under very heavy loads.
- Indoor workouts: Indoor fitness activities like rope skipping also calls for proper footwear. Training shoes are not only meant for the gym, so you can also use them when exercising from home.
- Walking: Instead of using random sneakers for those easy evening walks, you can opt for training shoes. Remember, it’s strictly for walking and not jogging or running.
Important Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing Training Shoes
No matter how long or frequent your training is, you should get the right shoes. This minimizes the chances of feeling pain after or even during the sessions. When choosing training shoes, look out for the following:
- Shoe-size: Always insist on buying shoes that fit and compliment your feet. Your training shoes should neither be too small nor too big. There should only be a relative space between the toes to prevent unnecessary rubbing which may cause blisters on the feet.
Finding the perfect shoe-size may not be as simple as it is. You sometimes have to try quite a number of pairs or even brands to find the right one. It’s even recommended that you actually exercise in them to experience the feeling, and then make the decision afterwards.
- Flexibility: To avoid buying shoes for each exercise, choose a pair that you can comfortably use for all workouts. To achieve this, your selection has to be flexible enough to help you transition movements with less effort and minimal injuries.
- Cushioning: Your training shoes should not have excessive cushioning, unless your health condition dictates so. Those with conditions like plantar fasciitis are advised to use orthotic inserts for additional comfort.
- Heel support: When training, all the weight from the whole body tends to be directed to the heels. Therefore, the shoes should give your feet a proper heel support.
Running shoes stand out when it comes to motion control, stability and shock absorption.
Uses of Running Shoes
Unlike training shoes which are meant for multiple activities, running shoes are specifically designed for running. Here is the reason why:
Being that they are customized for forward movements, they give minimal support on the ankle. Therefore, they are not safe for any activity that involves any form of lateral movement, like say basketball training sessions.
This is also why when running, we are encouraged to maintain a forward motion and avoid running backwards.
We only have different categories of running shoes based on one’s choice of running terrain. All you have to do is check whether the shoes are suitable for where you are running, be it on the pavements, tracks or even on the trails.
Different Types of Running Shoes
Running shoes are characterized according to the various cushioning levels to give this range of options:
- Neutral running shoes: These are shoes with a balanced ride on the insole, making them recommendable to most runners. We have neutral shoes with soft cushioning, medium-soft and supportive cushioning and those with low-profile cushioning. This gives one a variety to choose from.
- Stability running shoes: If your feet roll slightly inwards when running, commonly known as over-pronation, then these are the perfect shoes for you. They are characterized with extra stiffness at the arch area to help reduce pronation, which may slow you down when running.
- Motion control running shoes: This type has a relatively thicker inner-sole compared to the others. They are ideal for heavy or long-distance runners, especially those with flat feet.
- Barefoot running shoes: As the name suggests, these shoes are designed to give you an experience similar to running barefoot. The only difference is that the shoes at least have fabrics that will still give your feet some protection. Therefore, ensure that your path is free of debris or even rocks to avoid serious feet injuries.
- Minimalist running shoes: They are closely similar to training shoes because they have very little cushioning hence making them extremely light. Just like barefoot running shoes, you also have to be careful with the terrains you choose for running when you have these shoes on. However much lighter and exciting they may feel, your feet will be at higher risks of injuries.
Important Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing Running Shoes
To avoid any running injuries, you need to pick the right shoes for your next run. Here are the things that will guide you on how to get the right shoes:
- Fit: When you frequently experience black toes or pain after your run, chances are that your running shoes are not fitting well. Finding a perfectly fitting shoe takes more than just a shoe-size. It also depends on the needs of your feet depending on shape or even medical conditions.
A good running shoe should have adequate space, both on the length and width.
This is to make it easier for your toes and heels to move with ease when running.
For those who normally wear socks or orthotics when running, remember to also wear them when fitting the shoes. It’s important because such additions to the feet may change how the shoe fits.
- Your Running Style: Running shoes are designed with different tractions to support you based on your preferred terrain for running routine. For instance, if you prefer technical rocky trails, buy shoes with really sturdy grip to prevent you from tripping or falling.
- Optimal Cushioning: When running, your feet are subjected to too much pressure from the ground. Therefore, a good running shoe type should give your feet extra cushion and support. This is meant to keep your feet and joints protected, especially if you are a long-distance runner.
- Minimal Heel-to-toe drop: Generally, there are no running formulas. However, the rule of the thumb dictates that when running, the heel should hit the ground first for a steady movement hence preventing accidents. To achieve this, choose shoes with thicker heels and a deeper heel-toe drop as your running shoes
- Breathability: To keep your feet cooler, especially on hotter seasons, pick on shoes with fabrics that can dissipate sweat quickly. This minimizes the chances of getting bacterial or fungal infections
The Major Difference between Training Shoes and Running Shoes
It’s not easy to identify the right shoes, especially when shopping online. Some of these shoes may all seem sporty, but in real sense every range of shoes is custom-made for certain activities and occasions.
Running shoes and training shoes are meant for absolutely different functions, so there has to be distinct differences. Here are tips to help you differentiate the two:
Despite the heavy cushioning and thicker soles, running shoes are surprisingly much lighter compared to training type. This is credited to the extremely light but durable fabrics they are made of in order to adapt to different conditions.
2. Heel drop
For running shoes, the heel drop trends to be higher because of the thicker heels needed for support and comfort. Training shoes have relatively flat soles with a small heel drop. That’s what provides a stable platform for the feet and help coordinate all the multiple movements respectively.
Training shoes offer a sturdy grip to balance in between the variety of movements involved. On the other hand, running shoes have less traction with an exemption of those used for trail-running.
Running exposes the feet to more pressure and injury risks. The need to protect the feet from such, therefore, explains the thicker cushioning in running shoes compared to training shoes.
due to different movements involved, each range has a uniform design that cuts across all brands. All training shoes are designed to easily facilitate side-to-side movements while running shoes are destined for forward movements.
No matter the activity or occasion, any type of shoes you choose has to be comfortable. That is all that matters and not the pricing or any other things that we usually tend to overlook.
Also remember that whatever footwear is comfortable for someone else may or may not be the same for you. There are people who find it easier even to run barefoot. So basically know what shoe type suits and embraces your feet and stick to it.
After finding the right shoes, consider replacing them frequently or as soon as you detect any wearing out. You can even own a couple of pairs just to be safe.
For more images and illustrations, you can visit The Athletic Foot to see the highlighted differences between running and training shoes. You can also watch this video to get to know more differences between running and training shoes. I hope that the next time you’re out buying fitness shoes; you’ll make the right choice.