Choosing Walking Shoes vs Running Shoes
After injuring my right foot while running, I re injured it after a lengthy recovery period.
That’s when I decided to try walking my 5 mile circuit.
And guess what?
I liked walking just as much as running…So I decided to research how to choose a walking shoe.
At first blush it could seem walking shoes are just like jogging shoes. But that is definitely not the case once you examine them more carefully.
So how are they different?
They differ because the motion of walking and the motion of running put totally different demands on your feet.
That means you have to pick your footwear carefully in each case.
Design and Styling
The more obvious differences are in the design and appearance of the shoe depending on whether it is going to be used for walking or running. This is because the mechanics of walking are different from the mechanics of running.
Each activity puts different demands on body motion and muscle activity such that the shoe for that activity needs features to handle those differing demands.
Walking is a action that distributes your body weight more evenly through the body with a more fluid foot movement. In walking you roll your foot from heel to toe through the ball of the foot and your weight and compression are more evenly spread over a longer period of time than in running.
There is certainly less intensity of compression and a smoother distribution of your weight through the entire cycle.
This calls for a shoe with different heel and sole design for walking than that of a running shoe where the heel, arch and ball need to take more compression and pressure from the full weight of the running motion.
In walking, the rocking movement of the walking cycle means your feet absorb the shock of only one to two times your body weight with each step.
Also in walking, you split you weight load since both your feet are on the ground during the walking cycle. This means your weight is more evenly distributed and the compression on the feet is less intense as it is when running.
Running is a different story altogether. With running you are putting pressure equals to two to three times your body weight on one foot. Also in running neither foot is solidly planted on the ground so the compression on feet and joints is much more intense than walking.
Your outer heel must absorb the total compression of the landing before it distributes the load through your foot in an S motion through the ball to the toes.
This difference in motion and impact distribution between walking and running demands a unique design and manufacture of the shoe.
The design of the walking shoe necessitates a flat heel to absorb the initial contact. The angle of the heel is lower in walking than running so compression isn’t as high and it is distributed evenly in the roll through to the ball and in the natural action of moving heel to toe. This means that walking shoes have to be more flexible from the ball of the foot to give you more range of motion for the roll to the forefoot.
The heel has to be flat without any flair compared to the running heel. This produces a better strike and compression distribution for the walker than he or she would get from a running shoe.
The heel of the running shoe is higher and has more support and cushioning to absorb the heavier impact of a more violent and rapid landing of the running motion.
Running shoes have less protection through the ball of the foot considering the rapid roll through puts less pressure than the more measured walking action does on the ball and toes.
Walking shoes as you can tell have distinct demands to meet to ensure foot support and comfort than their running counter parts.
It’s very important to determine those differences are when selecting footwear for walking or running.