If you’re like me, you probably have a pair of sneakers that you use for everything.

Whether it’s walking, jogging, hiking, or going to the gym, you rely on your trusty sneakers whether it’s used womens shoes or brand new to get you through any activity.

But did you know that using sneakers as running shoes can harm your feet and affect your performance?

Sneakers and running shoes are designed differently, and they serve different purposes.

In this article, I’ll explain the main differences between sneakers and running shoes, why you shouldn’t use sneakers for running.

What are the differences between sneakers and running shoes?

Sneakers are a generic term that refers to any casual shoes with rubber soles. They can be used for various sports and activities, but they are not specialized for any of them.

Sneakers are usually more fashionable than functional, and they come in different styles, colors, and materials.

Running shoes, on the other hand, are specifically designed for running. They have features that enhance breathability, cushioning, stability, and traction.

Running shoes are also tailored to different types of runners, depending on their foot shape, arch type, pronation pattern, and running style.

Some of the main differences between sneakers and running shoes are:


The outsole is the bottom part of the shoe that contacts the ground.

Running shoes have a more defined outsole that combines two different types of rubber with lugs for traction.

Sneakers have a smoother outsole that may not grip well on uneven or slippery surfaces.


The midsole is the layer between the outsole and the upper that provides cushioning and shock absorption.

Running shoes have a thicker midsole that is made of foam or gel materials that reduce the impact of each step.

Sneakers have a thinner midsole that may not offer enough support or comfort for long-distance running.


The upper is the top part of the shoe that covers the foot. Running shoes have a breathable mesh upper that allows air to circulate and keeps the feet cool and dry.

Sneakers have a leather or synthetic upper that may be more durable but less flexible and ventilated.

best used womens shoes
best used women’s shoes

Heel-to-toe drop

The heel-to-toe drop is the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot of the shoe.

Running shoes have a higher heel-to-toe drop (around 8 to 12 mm) that encourages a heel-strike pattern and reduces stress on the Achilles tendon.

Sneakers have a lower heel-to-toe drop (around 4 to 8 mm) that promotes a midfoot or forefoot strike pattern and increases calf muscle activation.

Why you shouldn’t use sneakers for running?

Using sneakers for running can have negative consequences for your feet and performance. Some of them are:

Increased risk of injury

Running in sneakers can cause overpronation (excessive inward rolling of the foot), supination (excessive outward rolling of the foot), or plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the tissue under the foot).

These conditions can lead to pain, inflammation, blisters, or even stress fractures in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, or lower back.

Reduced comfort

Running in sneakers can cause discomfort due to a lack of cushioning, breathability, or fit.

Sneakers may not provide enough shock absorption or arch support for your feet, which can result in fatigue, soreness, or cramps.

Sneakers may also trap heat and moisture inside the shoe, which can cause blisters, chafing, or fungal infections.

Impaired performance

Running in sneakers can affect your speed, endurance, and efficiency.

Sneakers may not offer enough traction or stability for your feet, which can cause slipping or twisting on uneven or slippery surfaces.

Sneakers may also weigh more than running shoes, which can slow you down or tire you out faster.