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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

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 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 type of shoes. It is hard to distinguish which ones to choose for your child since you want to make sure you are protecting and keeping your kids’ feet healthy!

This doesn’t mean you need to get your child two different type of shoes, since a running shoe (which is a multi-purpose type of shoe) can be used for everyday walking and high intense activities. Trying to find the right type of shoe for your kids’ can leave you feeling confused, especially when you see so many different styles that serve different purposes.

This post will come in handy to parents who don’t know the difference between their own walking and running shoes. Did you know that running shoes can easily be mistaken for walking shoes, and the other way around? Please remember that our feet impact the ground differently when walking and running, that our shoes must accommodate for this difference!

The Best Running Shoes For Children

Don’t worry! You don’t need to invest in two different types of sneakers for your kids’, but you must know which shoes are best suited for your kids’ to wear every day. I will explain the difference between running and walking shoes, and show you the best shoes that kids’ can wear every day for all of their activities!

Did you know that companies make shoes specifically for walking and running? Finding the proper athletic footwear for your kids’ is not so simple since you must consider how and when your kids’ will wear the shoes. Let me explain the main difference to you: Running shoes can be used for both walking and running, while walking shoes are meant for everyday walking but NOT for running or high intense activities.

Walking Vs Running Shoes – Learn The Difference!

Walking shoes are designed with walking in mind. When we are walking, our body weight is distributed more evenly on the foot than when we are running. Walking shoes tend to be more flexible than running shoes and they also tend to have more 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!

REMEMBER that children do a lot of walking throughout the day, but they also spend a lot of time running around, that is why it is important to get them a running shoe that they can wear as daily for both running and walking!

The Best Running Shoes

Things To Consider When Buying Running Shoes For Your Kid!

Running is a high impact activity. There is a huge difference in the impact of the ground on our 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!

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

Below you can find some of the best running shoes for children!

The shoes below will fit a child that has narrow, medium, or wide feet (choose the width accordingly).

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

The shoes below will fit a child with medium, wide, or extra wide 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.

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! That is why you should always get running shoes for your kid instead of walking shoes so that they can wear them for all of their everyday activities!

Why Is It Important To Get Your Child The Right Type Of Shoe!

Buying the right type of shoes for your kid is an investment in their long term feet, leg, and back health. If you buy shoes for your kid and they are not comfortable to begin with, then they are never going to be comfortable!

Always make sure you get them the right shoe size, and have them test the shoes before they leave the store (that is what I always do at the shoe store I work for, no kid leaves the store without walking and running in the shoes – what we call, “testing them out”).

Children Running Shoes

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 type 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!I wrote a post where I describe the best socks for children, the post is called:

The Importance Of Wearing Socks – Grippers Or No Grippers?

Don’t let the price of the shoes be the key factor in determining which shoe style to buy for your kids’.  Whether you need shoes for your kid to walk, run, or cross train, now you can make an informed decision about the shoes that will help your kids’ achieve his or her goals. The fit remains the top priority when getting shoes.

Get your kid the right type of shoe: Your kids’ feet will thank you!

If you have an older child who is really into exercising and is serious about running, you should definitely get him or her running shoes with shoe laces (they provide more support and stability than velcro does). Let’s take a look at the selection of the best running shoes with shoe laces for older kids:

As mentioned above, if your child has medium, wide or extra wide feet you should definitely go for the New Balance style. However, if your child has medium to a narrow feet you should definitely go for the Asics style. REMEMBER that fit remains the top priority!

If your child doesn’t know how to tie his shoes yet, I wrote a post where I describe the best method of teaching a child how to tie his shoes. You can find the post here:

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

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

Did you know there was a difference between walking and running shoes before landing on this post? Have you had a hard time finding the correct pair of shoes for your kid? Please share your experiences below so we can all benefit from them!


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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