I recently received an email advertisement from Nordstrom advertising their Nike Running Collection. I did a double take because when I looked closely at the ad I noticed that they were advertising training shoes as running shoes. Not OK Nordstrom! I gave them the benefit of the doubt and went to the store to check out their styles on display. Many Nikes that were running shoes were advertised as training shoes and trainers as running shoes. I had brought along a friend that was new to running and she had no idea the difference and was judging them strictly based on the signs below each shoe labeling them as running or training shoes. I was not happy with this development. First of all, unless you are absolutely sure of the running shoe you need, you should absolutely go to a specialty running store to be fitted for a proper running shoe. And second, Nordstrom should be more conscientious about their advertisements. I know Nike lets a company who orders from them know what their shoes are designed for, so this is simply an oversight by the Nordstrom advertising team. Still, I would like to see them consult with actual runners or at least the shoebox to make sure they are properly advertising their shoes.
Training shoes and running shoes are NOT the same thing. Surprisingly, you do need different shoes for different modes of activity. Ladies and sneaker heads rejoice! Now you have an excuse for collecting an extra pair or two of shoes.
I learned the difference in shoes during high school. I played basketball and volleyball and both these sports required different shoes. My basketball shoes protected my ankles and provided for ample side to side movement. My volleyball shoes were more agile, but still provided for ease of lateral and forward movement. Running shoes, in contrast, are built for forward motion, not side to side movement. If you train in a running shoe, or play basketball or tennis in a running shoe, you will notice that it is much easier to turn an ankle because running shoes have a lack of lateral movement stability. Different shoes for different sports. It just makes sense. Soccer cleats would not be worn in a basketball game, so why do so many people train in running shoes and run in training shoes? It’s often a lack of information on the subject. I have put together some tips for picking your next pair of sport specific shoes.
- Running shoes are designed for people who overpronate, rolling their feet inward when they stride, or underpronators, with flat feet. Go to a running store and get fitted for the best shoe for your gait. Exerts can analyze how you move and suggest a perfect shoe.
- The tread on running shoes is often smoother than that of training shoes because they are designed for forward movement, not extreme grip.
- Running shoes usually have more cushion in the sole to provide for extra protection against continual pounding.
Pictured: Nike Lunar Glide 5 Shield Running Shoe
- The sole of a training shoe is wide and stable, often expanding beyond the width of the upper portion of the shoe to allow for lateral movement.
- Trainers often have less cushion than running shoes to provide for more movement across weight training, step class, dance, etc.
- Shoes are often lower to the ground to help you maintain your center of gravity and balance in multi-plane movements and weightlifting.
Pictured: Nike Hyperfeel Training Shoe
Buying the correct shoes for the activity you will be participating in is crucial for preventing injury and training your muscles properly. Research your sport before you head to the shoe store and make sure you know the type of shoe that will help you perform your best and stay injury free. Got questions? Share them with me in the comments below and I’ll be happy to help.