Walking Shoes Vs. Cross-Training Shoes

Written by caprice castano
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Walking Shoes Vs. Cross-Training Shoes
Walking and cross-training shoes are different. (Training image by YURY MARYUNIN from Fotolia.com)

Sport shoes may seem to be similar and even look nearly identical on the surface, but are in fact made specifically for targeted purposes. In the past, one shoe covered it all and the technology did not exist to tailor sport shoes to enhance both the performance and safety of the wearer. Walking is a popular sport, and often cross-training shoes and walking shoes look very similar but are made to provide different types of support.

Shoe Basics

Sport shoes are constructed of modern materials that provide a host of benefits. Fibres that breath, air chambers for support, soles that are curved and heavily arched and ankle support that comes in different height levels are all options. The type of sport is critical in the selection of the proper shoe as they will contain some or all of these elements in the shoe. However, not all the elements are beneficial to each particular sport. Size is also critical as improper fit will cause chafing, blisters or injury.

Cross Training

Cross-training is practice of training with different methods to enhance overall athletic performance. Cross-training can include lifting weights, running, walking or other conditioning type activities. While the sport itself covers a variety of activities, that doesn't mean the same shoe should be worn for all of them, making the connection between cross-training shoes and the activity itself a confusing idea. Cross-training shoes are designed to be durable and stable, with the idea they will be used for more than one purpose. The cushioning in the cross-training shoe is more dense and durable than in a walking shoe, and the ankle higher for more support. Made to support a variety of activities such as lifting weights to running on a treadmill for short times, the cross-trainer provides enough support to do these activities on a limited basis but are not heavy-duty on any one specific movement. They are usually more affordable than other types of sport shoes.


Walking shoes can come in different styles and types from hiking to speed walkers. This reflects the different styles of walking an athlete may do, but one thing they will have in common is they are designed to take the specific impact that comes with repetitive walking. Designed with softer cushioning, more flexibility and to take impact in the heel area, walking shoes are made to move with the foot and walking motion.

Which Shoe

Choosing your shoe is based on what activity you do the most. A cross-trainer can go from conditioning with weights to step aerobics to cycling with little or no problem. A walking shoe could be worn for some of these activities, but would not give the extra benefit of being designed for them. When wearing a shoe such as a walker during weight conditioning, you will find the shoe not as supportive or providing ankle stability such as a cross-trainer would. Walking is a highly specific sport that involves nearly the same level of movement as running, but without the heavy impact. It requires a shoe that is made for that activity, and cross-trainers are not a good idea for any walking that is done long distance or on a daily basis as the shoe will not be flexible or provide the right cushioning, and foot injury could result.

Shoe Replacement

Walking shoes need to be replaced regularly if the walking involves heavy mileage. Cross training shoes due to the varied impact may last a bit longer depending on the quality and construction. Either way when a shoe begins to wear out, its effectiveness and performance enhancement are lost, and they should be replaced with a new pair as soon as possible. Walking on a worn-out shoe can cause injury.

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