Training Shoes Vs. Running Shoes: 4 Important Differences

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You might not have thought much about training shoes vs. running shoes. But if you’re aiming to enhance your athletic endurance, you should know the difference between these two shoe types.

What’s the big deal about choosing the right shoes, you ask?

Simply speaking, shoes are an important part of your workout gear, just like clothes or the equipment you use. You wouldn’t wear uncomfortable, non-stretchy clothes to the gym, as they could cause injuries.

Similarly, if you go for the wrong shoes, you’ll face discomfort, risk injuries, and won’t reach your full potential.

Discomfort includes painful blisters, soreness in the feet and knees, and general aches/pains. If nothing else, you’d always feel uncomfortable during your workout.

When you get through a workout without feeling like there’s an issue with your feet, you know you have the right shoes.

Perhaps, you’re putting a lot of effort into your workout, but the wrong shoes can keep you from getting results.

For instance, wearing running shoes while performing strength training will hinder your pivoting. You won’t get the flexibility, traction, and grip you need in such a situation.

Wearing the wrong shoes may also affect your lateral movement, which could sprain your ankle. That may make you more susceptible to injuries, plantar fasciitis, and other issues.

That’s why it’s wise to know about training shoes vs. running shoes in detail.

Training Shoes Are Your Best Friend For Workouts

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Training shoes are what you need for high-intensity workouts, gym classes, and boot camps. That’s because they have the padding and cushioning you need for high-impact activities.

Training shoes are also great for weight lifting. They provide heel support, which is what you need for safe squatting and standing back up. The same goes for strength training.

Whether you're doing Crossfit or powerlifting, you'll need to wear specific shoes that provide extra stability to your feet. That's what training shoes are designed for.

Agility training is another activity that requires you to wear training shoes. Since it involves carrying out multi-directional movements, the outsole patterns and grooves of the shoes will help you excel in your performance.

Besides, flexible uppers and midsoles of training shoes ensure easy movement.

What’s more, training shoes have a lower heel than running shoes. That helps when you need to pivot or push off from the ground.

While you’d probably need running shoes for long distances, training shoes are great for those short spurts on the treadmill.

Running Shoes Go Beyond Just Running

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When we’re thinking of training shoes vs. running shoes, it’s important to think beyond their respective names. Running definitely requires running shoes, but it’s important to know just why this is so.

For one, running shoes are designed to protect your feet, especially when you’re going to put them through repetitive pounding. With training shoes, you’re better off doing side movements while running shoes are good for moving forward.

Plus, running shoes usually have more cushioning. That gives more support, a higher heel, but somewhat limits the flexibility.

As a result, straightforward running becomes more comfortable due to the higher shock absorption. Long distances on the treadmill, marathon training, or plain jogging will require running shoes.

Training Shoes Vs. Running Shoes:
The Differences Every Athlete Should Know About

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A good athlete should know the difference when considering training shoes vs. running shoes. Keeping the following points in mind will help you make a better decision.


Running shoes don’t require much traction, as they’re simply designed to protect your feet from pounding movements. Training shoes, though, give you a lot more traction for those side lunges and weight shifts.

You’ll also need traction for better grip, pivoting, and climbing ropes.

What running shoes lack in is cushioning. However, you need that extra protection when going for long stretches of high-impact running.

With more cushioning, you can also avoid plantar fasciitis and other foot injuries while running. Therefore, you should choose running shoes that provide more cushioning.


Training shoes usually have a heavier weight than your typical running shoe. It helps to give you more stability and support during training exercises.

Even though running shoes have thicker heels and more cushioning, their design is usually lightweight and breathable. That’s ideal for preventing your feet from sweating too much while running.


Training shoes have wider and flatter soles as compared to running shoes. These will provide stability to your feet and increased side support for efficient lateral movements at the gym or during training exercises.

Heel drop

Heel drop is the height difference between your toe and heel. Since training shoes have flatter soles, their heel drop is comparatively small.

It means it’s easier to move between squatting and standing, which is essential when lifting weights or doing squats. With more support during such exercises, training shoes will help your body experience less stress.

The larger heel drops in running shoes range from 8 to 10 millimeters. It means that the heel touches the ground first while you’re running. The result is a lesser impact on your feet, which means fewer chances of repetitive stress injuries or plantar fasciitis.

Questions To Keep In Mind Before
Picking The Right Training Shoes And Running Shoes

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Now that you’re somewhat well-versed about training shoes vs. running shoes, you should still have the answers to some important questions.

You should consider these points before making a final decision on your next pair:

Will the material let your feet breathe?

Breathable material is essential whenever you’re active, whether it’s on your body or your feet.

Without breathable shoes, you’ll experience heavy sweating, making the insides musty and dank. It will also increase the chances of permanent odor and foot fungus even if you clean your shoes regularly.

Breathable shoes usually have a mesh design across the upper, which uses either canvas or cotton fibers. These should also be durable enough to withstand rough usage.

Can you see double stitching?

Without testing, you probably won't be able to determine if the training or running shoes have quality stitching.

However, buying from a trusted manufacturer, reading reviews, and checking for double stitching can help you make the right decision.

Do the shoes fit well?

If you're ordering online, read the reviews to see if you should order a size up or down. Some manufacturers make the shoes run a bit large or small, so you should prepare beforehand.

In any case, a return and exchange policy will help you get the right size eventually.

Velcro or shoelaces:
do you know which design serves which purpose?

Designed for workouts and walking, Velcro design makes for more support on the upper side, which is great while cross-training. On the downside, you won’t have much adjustment room.

Ideally used for running, shoelaces allow you to vary the tightness or looseness or your shoes as you see fit. It’s an invaluable feature when your feet swell up due to running or if you have an awkward shoe size.

Your Athletic Performance
Depends On The Shoes You Choose

The cushioning, heel drop, and several other factors all tie in to make the best shoes for your athletic needs. Remember, the results from your workout, training sessions, and classes will largely depend on the kind of shoes you have.

There might be some personal preferences that you have for your comfort. However, the matter of training shoes vs. running shoes is an important one, so you should make that decision first.

Once you’ve decided to choose between training shoes vs. running shoes, you can then seek out the heel thicknesses or grip level you desire.

So, which shoe type works best for you? Let us know in the comments below.


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