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What Is The Difference Between Running And Walking Shoes? – Stop Buying The Wrong Type Of Shoes For Your Kid

Running Vs Walking Shoes

Your kids walking and running shoes look very similar, but they serve two very different purposes. When we look closely at the two activities and the impact that they place on your kids’ feet and their footwear, the two are really quite different. These differences affect the requirements and designs of two very different types of shoes.

This doesn’t mean you need to get your child two different types of shoes, since a running shoe (which is a multi-purpose type of shoe) can be used for everyday walking and high impact activities as well.

Running is a high impact activity. There is a huge difference in the impact of the ground on your kid’s feet when walking rather than running. Did you know that when walking, kids impact the ground with 1.5 times their body weight? However, when they run, they impact the ground with 3 times their body weight.

Did you know that running shoes can easily be mistaken for walking shoes, and the other way around? Please remember that your kids’ feet impact the ground differently when walking and running, that their shoes must accommodate for this difference.

There are certain running shoes that are better than others in terms of support, comfort, flexibility, and durability, and these are the types of running shoes that I will describe shortly.

Let me explain you the main difference between walking and running shoes: Running shoes can be used for both walking and running, while walking shoes are meant for everyday walking but not for running or high impact activities.

When children are walking, their body weight is distributed more evenly on the foot than when they are running. Walking shoes tend to be more flexible than running shoes and they also tend to have better arch support to protect the foot where the impact is heaviest.

On the other side, running shoes tend to have more cushioning and support around the heel (the main point of impact when running for most people) and less protection through the ball of the foot. When we are running, our feet tend to sweat more, which is the main reason that running shoes have more mesh than walking shoes – to keep the feet cooler during exercise.

I always recommend parents to provide their children with one good pair of running shoes, that way they can wear them as their every day shoes. Now that we know what is the difference between running and walking shoes, let’s figure out how you can find out your child’s exact foot size from home.

The Best Running Shoes

Are You 100% Sure of Your Child’s Foot Size? – Let’s Find Out!

I always recommend parents to take their kids’ to be properly fitted for shoes at their local shoe store that they trust, where a shoe fitter can properly measure their feet and find shoes that fit.

But…

Not all parents have a good fitting children’s shoe store in their area. That is the reason why I decided to create a map where I describe the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores in the United States – Where to Go for Proper Fittings!

If after looking at the map you still can’t seem to find a kids’ shoe store in your area, then proceed to reading an article along with a video I created where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:

How to Measure Kids’ Shoe Size from Home – In Less than 30 Seconds!

Shoe Size Foot Length

Now that you know what is the difference between running and walking shoes and how to figure out your child’s exact foot size from home, you are ready to take a look at a selection of the best running shoes for kids.

The Best Running Shoes for Kids ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I only write reviews of shoe styles that I have fitted before, otherwise I wouldn’t know how well-made they are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit.

Running shoes require far more cushioning and stability than walking shoes, but that doesn’t mean your child can’t wear running shoes for walking. In fact, if you are looking for an everyday shoe for your kids, you should provide there with a pair of running shoes. They will provide your child with extra cushioning in the heel and forefoot, and they are also lightweight than walking shoes.

Here you can find a selection of the best running shoes for kids. The New Balance shoe styles will fit a child with medium, wide, or extra wide feet. The Asics shoe styles will fit a child with narrow or medium width feet.


This selection of shoes fit “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

I always recommend parents to provide their children with shoes that come with shoelaces instead of Velcro closure, since shoelaces will provide more support and stability for your child.

If your child doesn’t know how to tie his or her shoes yet, I wrote a post where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to teach child how toe his/her shoes. Go to the link below:

How To Teach A Child To Tie His Shoes – Follow These Easy Steps

Walking shoes have good support and they require less cushioning, but they tend to be heavier than running shoes. I would not recommend walking shoes for kids, since they don’t offer the support they need for their everyday activities. Remember that kids are always running around.

The Best Running Shoes For Children

Did you know that your kid’s feet tend to swell up over the course of the day due to the long hours of walking and standing that their feet endure? Make sure you have them try on their shoes at the end of the day to ensure they will be comfortable throughout. The socks your kids’ wear when trying on a pair of shoes should also be the same type that they would normally wear with their everyday sneakers.

Wearing the right type of socks plays a huge role in keeping your kids‘ and legs healthy. Socks act as a barrier between your kids’ feet and the shoes, preventing the formation of bacteria. It’s important for the socks to be seamless also, since this feature will allow your kids’ toes to freely move and prevent your kids’ toes to overlap one another.

I wrote a post where I describe the best seamless and breathable socks for children. Go to the link below:

The Best Seamless Socks for Girls – End your Morning Battles with Seamless Socks

The Best Seamless Socks for Boys – End your Morning Dressing Battles with Seamless Socks!

Now that you know the difference between walking and running shoes, you can make the most informed decision. I recommend that you get your children a pair of good, supportive, running shoes so they can walk, play and run around all day without hurting their feet or legs.

Have you tried a particular shoe style that has worked well for your child’s feet? Please share your findings below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.

STOP BUYING THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES FOR YOUR CHILDREN.LET’S START TAKING CARE OF THEIR FEET!

I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids’ feet and get my guide for free: The 5 Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Their Kids’ Shoes

13 Comments on What Is The Difference Between Running And Walking Shoes? – Stop Buying The Wrong Type Of Shoes For Your Kid

  1. Your site is truly amazing!

    I admire your devotion to helping other parents choose the right kind of shoes for their children. It is very important to have the proper shoes to keep our child’s balance and give them good posture because the feet carries all the weight of the body.

    With improper or inappropriate shoes, our children’s body may not properly develop.

    • Providing our children with the right type of footwear is extremely important. Some parents do not realize the role shoes play in a healthy life for children. My goal is to inform them so they can make the most informative decision when getting shoes for their children.

  2. I’m glad you mentioned that I don’t have to invest in two different types of sneakers for my kids as I’m on a budget! We do a lot more walking than running so I guess walking shoes will be my priority. The only problem with buying shoes online is the fit as we can’t try them on personally. Any suggestions on this?

    • Yvonne,

      Is there a local shoe store in your area you can take your kids’ to have their feet properly measured? it is hard buying shoes online if you don’t know what you are looking for. If there is a particular style you like, I can tell you how the shoe fits (long, short, narrow, wide…) Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  3. Since the feet of our kids are growing and forming, the proper foot protection is important and crucial. My son has the widest feet, so I ordered the New Balance pair. He loved it, he said its the most comfortable shoe he has ever worn!! Thank you! Besides children, this post is good for adults too.

    • Billy,

      New Balance tends to make the widest shoes, with the roundest toe-boxes. Saucony also makes shoes in wide and extra wide widths. I am glad your child is happy about his new shoes!

  4. Very interesting article to be conscious about our children health.

    I never took the time to think what kind of shoes were my kids wearing. I just buy them the ones they like. Now that I read this I think I’m doing something wrong..

    My child has a very wide feet do you know which shoes will fit him better?

  5. I got my son the pair of Aiscs you recommend and he loooves it! He runs so much and is involved in track. He always complained about his feet and legs hurting after doing exercise. Now he doesn’t anymore!

    You are a life saver! I am bookmarking your website! Thank you!

  6. So so important to get your kid’s shoes right. I never ever skimp on shoes. I make sure I have the good running shoe for my kids to wear to school. One of my 14 yr old twins has a size 15 so it is really important he has the right shoe for whatever activity he is doing. I even bought basket ball shoes that he can only wear on the wooden boards.

    And they also have their good black shoes for school. There is nothing worse that seeing a kid with oversized runners or the wrong footwear for running and playing!!!

    • I agree Sharon! I am sure you find it hard to find shoes for your son… I haven’t met a lot of children with that shoe size!And maybe, he is still growing… Good luck with that!
      Please let me know anytime you have questions about a particular shoe style.

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