Running shoes have come a long way since their invention in the 1960s, and they are now one of the most popular types of athletic footwear. Many people wonder whether it is acceptable to wear running shoes casually, or if they are strictly meant for running and exercise. The answer to this question is not as simple as yes or no, as there are many factors to consider.
Though honestly, my run coaching heart wants to scream NOOOOOOO.
If these are your current training shoes then you must stop wearing them around casually. I promise to fully explain this below, so you can make your own informed decision.
Listen, you’ve spent a lot on these shoes and hopefully the reason you want to wear them this that they are just so comfortable! But your casual walking stride and footstrike are different than while running. This is problematic for a couple of key reasons.
So, if you’re curious about whether you can wear your running shoes outside of your daily workouts, keep reading to find out the answer.
Reasons Not To Wear Your Running Shoes Casually
Let’s start with the disclaimer once again that I’m talking largely about your current training shoes.
If you’ve bought a pair that are now on their last legs and you want some extra life by turning them in to running shoes…ok, maybe. But again, we still need to make sure your foot is getting enough support. And as they breakdown, you’re losing that support.
As noted earlier, your foot strike is different walking than running.
I’ve written about running foot strike and don’t personally advocate for a specific foot strike, but knowing how your foot strikes the ground with each step is important when selecting a shoe, especially for running.
Runners make ground contact one of three ways: heel first, midfoot first, or forefoot first. A walker, on the other hand, almost always lands heel-first before rolling through their foot to the toes and pushing off.
Running vs walking creates different wear patterns in your shoe. The result is wearing your running shoes for a lot of walking will change the way they fit and form to your foot on a run.
Nice little visual of the heel-to-toe movement while walking.
As we all know, running is a high impact exercise. When running, we alternate between not touching the ground at all and having only one foot on the ground. With every landing, our bodies absorb 2-5x our bodyweight.
With walking, you have one foot on the ground at all times and sometimes both feet. This dramatically lessens the impact on your body and its joints with your body weight more evenly distributed at any given time.
Again this difference is going to change how the shoe functions and fits.
When running and walking, our feet have particular patterns of movement. You might be able to figure yours out by flipping over your shoes and examining the wear pattern on the sole.
Your pattern of movement is important to know because it may help determine whether you need a neutral shoe or a support shoe.
Reducing the Shoe Lifespan
Our running shoes are not cheap, usually starting around $150 these days. So if you can find a great pair of walking shoes that are more like $90, it’s going to keep you from wearing down your running shoes earlier than necessary.
I actually keep a specific pair of walking shoes by the door, so I grab those rather than my running shoes when heading out for a daily lunch break.
Listen this is probably the biggest one for all your non-running friends. It’s like wearing our Garmin with a dress, they want to know why we can’t just buy normal clothes.
Because running shoes are SO MUCH MORE FUN than normal clothes.
But alas, they may not look so cute for your friends wedding (unless they too are runners!).
The massive exception to this rule is the Tracksmith Eliot…. oh she is pretty. I have kept these as my travel shoe, so I can run in them, but also tour around say London and still feel stylish.
When You Should Wear Running Shoes Casually
So I think that if you are buying shoes specifically for the purpose of making them your all-day standing or walking around shoes, then rock on.
Running shoes are going to have more arch support, a more durable sole and more cushion than any casual shoe. This means your body is going to enjoy more alignment through the day and take a lot of pressure of your joints.
Which is to say, I guess it all comes down to why you’re wearing them and when!
Hopefully this helps give you a better idea about why we need different more than one pair of running shoes regardless!
Looking for more shoe tips?
- How to Clean Your Running Shoes (not the washer)
- How to Dry Running Shoes (not the dryer!)
- Keys to Walking for Weightloss
- Best Budget Friendly Running Gear
- 10 Best Cheap Running Shoes
Other ways to connect with Amanda
Instagram Daily Fun: RunToTheFinish
Facebook Community Chatter: RunToTheFinish