Over the years, athletic shoes and their designs have evolved a lot as to now pertain to very specific fitness activities, however similar they might appear when it comes to their looks and function. Running shoes, for example, are not only a category of athletic footwear on their own, but they branch out to many other subcategories such as trail running shoes, track shoes, road running shoes, and so on.
For the passionate runner, this presents innovative solutions, but when it comes to recreational runners who prefer dabbling with a couple of sports and activities, a one-for-all shoe such as training shoes would be the most convenient choice. But if we look into it in terms of foot health rather than convenience, are training shoes good for running, and can you run in training shoes while still having the comfort of running shoes? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of using training shoes to log in your weekly miles.
Can Training Shoes Be Used for Running?
While purchasing one pair of shoes to use for both exercising and running can be a cost-effective alternative to having multiple pairs of shoes, that doesn’t always make it the smartest solution when it comes to comfort, performance, and injury prevention.
When it comes to training shoes, they are a great choice of footwear for many who pursue an active lifestyle. They are shoes designed to be a multipurpose solution and to be used in various activities such as dancing, weight training, plyometric exercises, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT.) Can training shoes be used for walking? Absolutely. Can you wear them for running? Yes and no.
Training shoes can be comfortable enough for running short distances (up to 5K) and in terrains that don’t require a lot of cushioning such as treadmills and soft surfaces like grass. However, if you intend on running more often throughout the week and for longer distances, training shoes may not be the most supportive option. This type of shoe doesn’t have the cushioning and shock-absorption features that you will find in running shoes, so there is a higher risk of injuries when wearing them on long runs on the road.
Training Shoe Characteristics
Often, it can be hard to tell one athletic shoe from the other, which is why many can mistake training shoes for running shoes. To better understand what makes training shoes unique when it comes to their design, here are some of their characteristics:
The shoe’s cushioning is an important feature designed to absorb the force of impact when the feet hit the ground. Since they are not intended for the repetitive, harsh pounding of the ground that occurs when running, training shoes can be a little less generous when it comes to cushioning. However, they provide enough cushioning to support movement throughout shorter workouts that are less strenuous to the arches of the feet.
The sole of training shoes, that is the layer of material that sits below the foot, is designed to keep the feet stable and to fit more widely. In comparison to running shoes, this part of training shoes is flatter, in order to provide support and balance during side to side movements that characterize the exercises that they are intended for.
Training shoes are usually on the heavier side, as they are meant to withstand movements that can compromise the flexibility of the shoe if it is not durable enough. For this reason, this kind of shoe is sturdier than running shoes, but is still on the lighter-weight side in comparison to all types of athletic shoes.
Running Shoe Characteristics
While running shoes can fall into numerous subcategories on their own, certain characteristics can easily distinguish them from other types of athletic shoes:
Cushioning is the feature that can help you to effortlessly tell running shoes apart from training ones. This feature can vary in running shoes , but in most of them you will find a thicker layer of cushioning to help combat the shock from hitting the ground, especially during long-distance runs. Typically, they will range from a level 1 to a level 5 of padding, depending on the amount of support you need.
The bottom part of running shoes is a critical feature to their design as well. The outsole is the first point of contact with the ground, which when hit repetitively, can both damage your feet and the shoe itself. The sole of running shoes can vary depending on the terrain they are intended for, but what each type of running shoe has in common is that they have a thicker sole that provides traction when you hit the ground and helps the feet to transition smoothly in-between movements.
When we think of running, we think of uninterrupted and fast movement that should not be weighed down by a pair of shoes. This is why most running shoes are designed to be lightweight, so they aid the runner to move freely, but with enough support so the feet are protected from the friction of their contact with the ground.
Risks of Using the Wrong Shoes for Your Exercise
Convenience can sometimes beat purpose when it comes to buying shoes, but is it safe in long-term use? Ultimately, running shoes are designed for a specific purpose and trainers for other activities, which is why it is best to invest in one or the other depending on what you need them for. Otherwise, continuously using training shoes for running can result in some of the following:
Running in training shoes for extended periods of time will ultimately result in discomfort, especially if you are running on harsh ground surfaces. The lack of support of these shoes can lead to blisters, soreness, and excessive friction in your toes.
If you’re one that likes taking on new challenges and breaking records—be they personal or professional—you will need a shoe that aids you in accomplishing these goals. Using training shoes for running can make it more difficult to run for longer distances or increase your speed due to the added weight and lack of cushioning.
Higher risk of injuries
Discomfort, lower performance, and lack of support can all eventually lead to an increased chance of injuries if you use your training shoes to run longer distances. Knee injuries, heel pain (plantar fasciitis), and tendonitis are some of the most common injuries that come as a result of improper running form and a shoe that does not offer the right amount of support.
Trainers are functional and versatile shoes intended for various types of exercises, from weight training to HIIT workouts, plyometrics, and even dancing. They can be a great shoe for the occasional short run, but if you plan on running more often and for longer distances, a pair of supportive running shoes make for a priority investment.