Last Updated: February 6th, 2021
Shoes are expensive…isn’t it? You need to replace your workout shoes so very often…and if you have another hobby like running…then replacing shoes is like burning a hole in your pocket. Agree? I bet you would…this is what I think…all the time. We wish we could use our training shoes for running…but can we?
Can Training Shoes Be Used for Running?
No, training shoes cannot be used for running although you may. They will provide you with durable comfort and supports a lot of lateral movement. However, running is more of a forward movement than lateral. So, although you will get a lot of support from the shoe while running, your forward motion will not be supported as much. Eventually, you will be more injured and may need to take a break from your workout.
Why shouldn’t you use training shoes for running?
Training shoes and running shoes are made for very different purposes.
You can do any kind of workout in your training shoes like HIIT, Gym, weightlifting, etc.
They also have a lot of lateral support as this is one primary kind of movement in training.
However, running shoes are more meant for absorbing the impact of the constant hitting of the ground.
They are made for forwarding motion.
So, although they may look similar, they are actually very different.
Here are some differences that are worth mentioning:
Cushioning plays a major role in protecting your feet when you are doing any kind of workout, be it running or gymming…
They absorb the impact and don’t let it travel up your legs and cause injury.
All the training shoes have a lot of cushioning, however, since the impact caused by running is more, the level of cushioning is also more.
This is how they protect you from various impact-related injuries.
However, if you wear a training shoe for running, you are more prone to injuries as the level of cushioning is less in them.
Then why we have those minimalist running shoes?
Aren’t they better than normal cushioned running shoes?
Not necessarily. If you are a healthy person, or somebody who doesn’t have any injury, these running shoes are good.
These are especially good for beginners as they will have better form right from the start.
Because minimalist running shoes encourage midfoot and forefoot strike.
However, if you are someone, who is suffering from let’s say Achilles tendonitis, then running shoes for Achilles tendonitis will be your best bet for recovery.
In this article, I’ve reviewed the best running shoes for Achilles tendonitis where you will get full information about not only the shoes and the benefits of using them. Also, you will detail why you should use them and the precautions you need to take.
However, if you use a training shoe for running and have this injury or any other injury then you will only be aggravating them.
Also, even if you are a healthy individual, your chances of getting injured are significantly higher, if you wear a training shoe for running.
The soles of training shoes are wider and flatter. They are more flexible.
This makes them perfect for lateral and other wide range of movements.
This also makes these shoes very stable and excellent with traction.
However, for running shoes, the soles are narrower and the majority of the flexibility is at the forefoot.
Also, the overall flexibility of these running shoes is lesser than the training shoes.
This makes them more capable of supporting forward motion which is the primary motion for running.
Also, they are not as flat as the training shoes as they need more ease of movement forward than stability.
The focus of a running shoe is performance.
Here every gram of weight counts especially if you are a long-distance runner.
Your speed will be reduced if you are wearing heavier shoes and also you will get tired faster.
So, running shoes are made lightweight to make you perform at your best.
Training shoes, on the other hand, are meant to support a wide range of movements.
That is why they are stronger and more durable. Also, this makes them heavier than running shoes.
Since running shoes are required to be lightweight, the materials that are used to make them are less durable.
Typically they will get worn out faster than a training shoe.
Also, you need to replace them often due to this.
Here is a simple guide on when you should replace your running shoes.
Here I’ve covered all the information that you need to know about picking the correct shoes for your feet.
However, training shoes are more durable.
They will survive for a longer duration of time.
Well, by this I don’t mean that training shoes are cheaper than running shoes.
What I mean is the total expenditure on each type of shoes.
Since training shoes are more durable than running shoes, you need to replace them fewer times.
This reduces their overall cost compared to running shoes.
On the other hand, running shoes need to be replaced more as they get worn out faster.
Hence, their overall cost shoots up.
However, this assumption is based on the fact that you are a runner.
If you are more of a gym enthusiast and an occasional runner, then the whole equation will change.
What are the benefits of using training shoes for running?
Here are some of the benefits of running in a training shoe:
- More stability and good support from all sides.
- Better flexibility.
- More traction.
- Lighter on the pocket.
- A good amount of cushioning and impact absorption.
- Good ankle support to prevent rollover.
However, as mentioned in the above answers, take these benefits with a pinch of salt.
Running in training shoes for a shorter distance is OK, but don’t do it, if you are a daily runner.
You will end up injured.
What happens if you run with training shoes?
Well, a lot of things can go wrong.
Since training shoes are different than running shoes, you will never feel quite right running in them.
There will be persistent issues like blisters, aches, pain, etc. and you will never seem to shake them off.
However, if you wear a good running shoe, you will not even notice the shoe as it will become a part of you while running.
Impact on performance
If not anything, your training shoes are heavier than your running shoes.
Also, they have lesser cushioning than running shoes.
So, if you run in then, your performance will automatically decrease and you will get tired more easily.
Also, due to a lesser amount of cushioning the impact absorption is less which will further contribute to your feet’ fatigue.
Overall, you will have reduced speed, lesser mileage, and faster fatigue.
Increased chances of injury
Here are some ways you will increase your chances of getting injured.
- Training shoes have a lesser amount of cushioning. This may make you susceptible to injuries like plantar fasciitis.
- A stress fracture can occur as your training shoes are meant for more lateral support than forwarding support.
- Your existing injures can get aggravated, like Achilles tendonitis as the heel height will be lesser.
- You can end up having a bad posture and can give rise to injuries like a knee injury, ITBS, etc.
The main focus of your running is fitness, however, if you use a training shoe for running, your overall fitness is compromised.
In a way, you are throwing down all your efforts and hard work down the drains just to save some money.
Also, you will have to take more breaks from your running as you will be more injured.
This will hinder your overall training and you will not be able to move as fast or reach your desired mileage.
Also, if you are a distance runner, your main focus should be comfort.
A minor discomfort will also lead to huge trouble in the last leg of your run.
However, since training shoes will not be as comfortable as running shoes, you might as well kiss your marathon dream goodbye.
Should I get running shoes or training shoes?
You are the best judge of this.
If you are an avid runner who runs at least 10 miles per week, pick up a running shoe.
However, if you are more of a gym rat, then go for a trainer.
The problem is, most of us are a bit of both.
So, we need both kinds of shoes – a trainer and running shoes.
We should not just use the same pair for both purposes.
If you are concerned about cost, then think about this…
If you get injured due to the wrong pair of shoes, you will have to get medical attention.
Medical attention will cost you way more than an extra pair of shoes.
Plus, you will have to suffer physical and mental discomfort.
And if the injury is severe, you have to take a break from your training to recover, hindering your overall progress.
To me, this is a lose-lose situation.
It’s 100 times better to get the right shoes for the right purpose.
How to select a training shoe for running?
But if you must…check the followings:
Cushioning – The trainers should have a comparable cushioning to a running shoe. There are some trainers that come for multiple activities. Check what they are suitable for. If running is one of them, then go for it.
Here are two suggestions that can set you off on the right track. NOBULL SuperFabric Trainer and Merrell Agility Synthesis Flex Sneaker. They are perfect for short distance runs (below 5K) and they are way cheaper than the other shoes at Amazon.
Weight – The weight of your trainer should be comparable to your running shoe which is around 270 grams. If your trainer is near to that value, it is good to use it.
Pronation – This is how your feet rolls when it touches the ground. It can be three types – Under, Neutral, and Over. Select a training shoe that will support your type of pronation. Otherwise, you will further increase your chances of injury.
Price – This, of course, depends on your budget. However, don’t go for shoes that are lower than $40. The materials used in such shoes are cheap and will cause you more harm than good. If you want to find out cheap shoes which are comparable to premium ones, read this guide on how to select cheap shoes which will perform and will not get you injured.
Can I workout without shoes?
Of course, you can work out without your workout shoes.
In fact, there are certain types of workouts that are more suitable without shoes, like Yoga.
Also, there are a whole lot of benefits if you workout barefoot.
Here are some of the benefits:
- You will improve your sense of balance.
- Improve muscle alignment.
- Reduce aches and pain.
- Reduce the chances of injuries.
However, if you are used to using trainers for a long time, then you need to make this transition gradually.
Why is that?
Your feet first needs to be strengthened as till now, the majority of your workout impact was dealt with by your training shoes.
So, start off with some simple exercises to strengthen your feet as such. The below exercises will help.
Don’t mistake it for a dancer’s exercise. They are equally suitable for you.
Also, start doing barefoot training for a minute or two in all your training sessions from now on.
Once you are comfortable with the feel, add 5 min every week to barefoot training in your training sessions.
Do this until you reach your current training duration in your barefoot.
However, if you don’t like the feel of the gym floor under your naked feet, you can always use Five fingers.
In fact, WHITIN Cross-Trainer is incredibly cheap and is one of the best barefoot trainers around. I was literally surprised by the price as others of a similar category are really expensive.
This will give you the barefoot benefits minus any uncomfortable feet encounters in the gym 😉
Should you wear training shoes on a treadmill?
Yes, you can use training shoes on treadmills.
You can even run on treadmills wearing your running shoes.
However, if you plan to run more than 5K then I will advise against that.
Moreover, these shoes are heavier than your regular training shoes, this will make you perform slower.
But if you are OK with that, please go ahead.
Another important thing is, if you are a habitual runner on the treadmill, then you use running shoes suited for treadmill and road running.
Since there is not much difference between these two types of running shoes, you don’t have to get a fresh pair to run on treadmills.
However, if you are an occasional user of a treadmill or you use it very less, then please go ahead and use your trainers.
It’s absolutely alright.
What are training shoes good for?
Training shoes are versatile shoes and are meant to suit any of your training requirements.
They have wider soles and a flatter base. Also, they are meant to support your lateral motions.
This gives these training shoes more stability and better traction and can be used for a variety of training.
They are meant to be used for training like:
- Bodyweight, etc.
However, you should not use these shoes for any kind of other activities like running, tennis, etc.
All of these sports are different and require different kinds of shoes and the shoes are made by keeping these requirements in mind.
If you use something which is not meant for that particular activity, you are making yourself prone to more injuries.
So, select your shoes with care and enjoy your workouts to the fullest.
Mullen, Scott, and E. Bruce Toby. “Adolescent runners: the effect of training shoes on running kinematics.” Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics 33.4 (2013): 453-457.
Cook, S. D., Kester, M. A., & Brunet, M. E. (1985). Shock absorption characteristics of running shoes. The American journal of sports medicine, 13(4), 248-253.
Hashizume, S., Murai, A., Hobara, H., Kobayashi, Y., Tada, M. and Mochimaru, M., 2017. Training shoes do not decrease the negative work of the lower extremity joints. International journal of sports medicine, 38(12), pp.921-927.
Shorten, M.R., 2000. Running shoe design: protection and performance. Marathon medicine, pp.159-169.
Bishop M, Fiolkowski P, Conrad B, Brunt D, Horodyski M. Athletic footwear, leg stiffness, and running kinematics. Journal of athletic training. 2006 Oct;41(4):387.
Willy, R.W. and Davis, I.S., 2013. Kinematic and kinetic comparison of running in standard and minimalist shoes.
Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.