Running Shoes vs Sneakers: Should You Run Wearing Sneakers? 

Running Shoes vs Sneakers

It’s better to wear shoes designed for specific needs, for example, running shoes, walking shoes, or basketball shoes, as they are produced to offer ease and comfort for particular occasions. If you are into running, you should choose running shoes since they can improve your performance; on top of it, they offer better cushioning for comfort and help prevent injuries like sprains or stress fractures while running.   

Although Sneakers provide ample cushioning and outsole grip, they are not conducive to running as running shoes are. The purpose of running shoes is to provide proper support and cushioning when running, sprinting, and other sports that require high impact, while sneakers are for walking, light activities, and mostly for casual wear.  
However, sometimes we can have a hard time choosing between running shoes vs sneakers, just like indoor soccer shoes vs running shoes. In this post, we gathered resources so that you know which one is the better option for you, running shoes or sneakers. Without further ado, let’s dive into the differences. 

Running Shoes vs Sneakers: What are the Key differences? 

1. Design: 

Running Shoes vs Sneakers

Design determines the shape, the support system and the cushioning of a shoe. 

Running shoes are firm in the midfoot to limit excessive movement and flexible in the front to assist in pushing off after each step.  
They are designed to support the forward movement. In order to reduce shock in the heavy impact areas and to give a boost forward, they often contain cushioning in the heel and forefoot. 
Sneakers, however, offer greater lateral stability. They are suitable for gliding back and forth across the baseline or, in an easy way, we can say side-to-side movements.  
Moreover, sneakers are not made for heavy impacts, so, they don’t have much cushioning. In sneakers, lateral support and traction are prioritized over cushioning. 

2. Usages: 

Different shoes have different usages. Our activities determine what type of shoes we should wear.  

Running shoes are for activities such as running, walking, playing basketball etc. On the other hand, the most common use of sneakers is as casual wear every day. 
You can wear sneakers while jogging once or twice a week. But running on a daily basis with sneakers on, especially outside, it’s highly recommended to put on running shoes since they have proper cushioning and are designed for a better feeling and improved performance.  

3. Comfortability: 

Comfortability means how comfortable the shoe is while doing an activity. 
For regular runners or professionals, comfort and stability are the most important factors. Best running shoes use breathable mesh fabric and hard rubber soles for added comfort for better running. While running outside on a hard surface, a hard sole provides better support than a flexible sole. 

In contrast, synthetic fabrics are mostly used for sneakers. Besides, the soft soles of sneakers make them so flexible. For occasional runners, sneakers are alright, but running every day with sneakers can put our feet under a lot of stress. So, it’s not like sneakers aren’t comfortable; running shoes are more comfortable and specially designed to make running a seamless experience.  

4. Durability: 

The durability of a shoe means how long the shoe lasts. 
Running shoes contain special absorbent materials, and most of today’s lightweight running shoes include EVA midsoles, making them more durable than sneakers. When the question is how long a running shoe lasts, we’d recommend replacing your running shoe after 300-500 miles or 500-750 kilometres. On average, if you run 20 miles a week, you can expect to use a running shoe for four to six months. 
On the other hand, mostly thick and non-absorbent materials are used in sneakers. While synthetic materials make the footwear appealing, they’re not as durable as specialized athletic shoes. 
On average, if you walk 3 to 4 hours a week, you can expect to use your sneaker for around six months. But if you wear them around 7 hours per week, we recommend changing your sneakers in less than six months. 

5. Breathability: 

The breathability of a shoe means it enables air to escape from the inside and cooler air to enter from the outside. 
Running shoe use mesh fabric, and spacious forefoot features keep the shoe cool and breathable. The breathable materials help lock moisture, enabling breathe fully and feel comfortable throughout the activities. 
 Like running shoes, sneakers also have breathable materials that help keep feet cool and dry. So, even if you plan to wear your sneaker for a long period, don’t worry about sweat, bad smell or fungus infection. 

6. Flexibility:

 Flexibility means how much a shoe can bend or be twisted. 

As we have mentioned before, running shoes come with stiffer rubber soles to provide better surface support, so, understandably, they are not flexible like sneakers. Most running shoes have an arch-to-midfoot flex design. The extra padding and stiffer midsoles don’t allow running shoes to be that flexible.  

On the other hand, sneakers are flexible enough in comparison with other footwear like flats, sandals, boots, etc. Sneakers don’t contain any stiffer soles or excessive padding. The main purpose of its soft rubber sole is to provide better flexibility and softness. Flexibility is one of the reasons why sneakers are so popular. 

7. Weight: 

An ideal lightweight shoe should weigh less than 8 ounces. 

Mostly, running shoes are lightweight, providing an athlete with excellent pace and grip. But some running shoes can also be a little heavy due to their thick heel wedges in order to provide more cushioning.   

Running shoes weigh between 6.5 to 13 ounces on average. Therefore, the weight of a running shoe is one of the most critical factors to consider before purchasing.  

On the other hand, sneakers aren’t designed for running; therefore, they aren’t always heavy but are usually heavier than running shoes. The soles of sneakers and synthetic materials make them a bit heavy. Although shoe manufacturers nowadays produce lightweight sneakers too.   
Usually, sneakers weigh between 32 to 40 ounces on average. 

8. Grip: 

An object’s grip is its ability to hold onto something. 
Running shoes’ outsole offers sufficient grip to prevent slipping while running. The outsole acts as a defence layer against small rocks and debris on the trail and the road. Our foot rotates a lot during running, so running shoes usually have a better grip to prevent accidents or injuries.

In contrast, the lack of robust soles in sneakers’ design makes them less grippy than running shoes. But that doesn’t mean sneakers don’t have grips at all. Nowadays, we see a lot of sneakers have tread patterns on the outsoles. These create friction, which allows them to have a good grip on different surfaces effectively. 

9. Heel-Toe Drop:

The heel-toe drop is how high the heel is compared to the forefoot.  
Heel-toe drop on running shoes typically ranges from 6mm to 12mm. It means heel height is significantly higher than forefoot height. Can you guess why?

Because running is a process of transferring energy to the front of our foot from the back, as we move forward, our heels absorb most of the impact of landing. This is why running shoes require extra heel cushioning.  

Sneakers, on the other hand, are flat and have a very short drop from heel to toe (0mm to 6mm). Activities we do with sneakers, like walking, don’t require much heel-to-toe movement. Multi-directional, as well as side-to-side motions, are mostly favoured in sneakers. 

10. Price: 

The price of a shoe varies on some factors like comfort, stability, materials etc. Generally, running shoes cost more than sneakers.  
Since running shoes are designed with precision to support the foot, provide the best comfort, and encourage forward motion, they are always quite expensive with all these features and expensive materials. On average, standard running shoes start at around $115.  

But if we look at the average pricing of sneakers vs running shoes, sneakers are usually less expensive than running shoes. Decent-quality sneakers start at around $70.


It’s extremely important to wear proper shoes, no matter what you do, regardless of whether you’re casually wearing them or running in them. A wrong pair of shoes, especially for athletic activity, can cause injuries like sprains, shin splints, and fractures. Wearing the right shoe for the right activity can help you avoid injuries and perform at your best.


Can sneakers be used for jogging? 

Yes, but there’s a condition. You can wear sneakers while jogging outside casually—a few times per week, maybe two or three. But if you jog on a treadmill at a gym or at home, you can use your sneakers frequently.

Can you play tennis with running shoes?

No. We’d recommend you not to do that as a running shoe doesn’t provide the lateral stability that you need on a tennis court for side-to-side movements.

Can I wear running shoes as sneakers?

Yes. Even though running shoes are made to withstand the demanding needs of running, they also make cool shoes for everyday use. 

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