This post contains affiliate links.
When I first started running, I never understood why running shoes are important. I used to believe that any athletic shoe is fine, after all, running is a simple exercise. After experiencing body aches, blisters, and poor running performance, and then experiencing the benefits of a good running shoe, I finally understood its importance.
Running shoes are important because they help provide stability, reduce the risk of injuries, as well as provide comfort and proper cushioning to your foot. Their midsoles are also designed to absorb impact and roll over to toe-off when running.
Ahead, we’ll discuss the importance of running shoes in detail. We’ll also talk about what makes a running shoe different from any other shoe.
What Makes Running Shoes Different?
Running shoes differ from other shoes in weight, shape, fit, level of cushioning, and stability.
Unlike a regular sneaker with a fully closed upper, most running shoes have a mesh breathable upper that helps cool your feet. It also has a generous amount of cushioning to help you absorb the impact of your every stride. With running shoes, your feet shouldn’t slide inside the shoe during sudden movements like it does in regular sneakers. Running shoes have a snug fit, almost hugging your foot, to help reduce movement inside the shoe.
There are different types of running shoes used for different running activities. Trail shoes have deeper lugs designed to provide traction on any surface. Racing shoes are light and somewhat firm helping your stride be more responsive, therefore, fast. Daily trainers usually have a softer cushion but are a little heavier.
When Should You Buy A Pair of Running Shoes?
Although you can get away with wearing a regular pair of athletic shoes for short distances, I highly recommend buying a good pair of running shoes as soon as you’ve decided to start running to prevent unnecessary injuries and discomfort.
Why Are Running Shoes Important for Running?
Researchers in a study published in 2015 concluded that prescribing proper footgear is related to fewer running injuries. Individuals who wore proper running shoes when running visited healthcare providers less compared to individuals who did not wear the proper running shoe.
Furthermore, here are 8 reasons why wearing the proper running shoes is important.
1. It Helps Reduce The Risks of Injury
Though running might seem a very safe sport, it’s often associated with a lot of overuse injuries due to repetitive motion and constant pounding on your joints.
A good pair of running shoes have cushioning specifically designed to reduce the impact that your knees and other lower extremity joints receive upon ground contact. This will result in a decreased risk of injuries and ensure longevity in the sport.
This is true whether you’re a recreational runner or a competitor. You should find a good pair of daily trainers to accompany you in your day-to-day training routine.
2. It Makes You Comfortable When Running
Sure, you can run in any type of shoe. Perhaps, even leather shoes. But I am certain that you won’t feel comfortable running in them after a kilometer.
Running shoes have different levels of comfort, but the majority of them feel comfortable and soft around and under your foot. As a matter of fact, running in cheap running shoes will almost always be better than running with expensive non-running athletic shoes.
Running shoes are designed to prevent any unnecessary pains, hotspots, and heel lifts that you might get from running with a non-running shoe.
3. It Helps Improve Your Running Performance
Though there are shoes specifically designed to help improve your performance during races like the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 and the ASICS METARACER, running shoes in general help improve your overall running performance if you compare them to a non-running shoe.
At one point, I thought I could get away with training my runs using my Reebok Nanos, a CrossFit shoe. But then, as the runs got harder and harder, my feet got more and more blisters and my knees hurt more.
Related post: Can Running Shoes Be Used In The Gym? I Tried
When I finally decided to switch to a real running shoe, boy I got blown away by the comfort it provides. I even asked myself why did I ever have to go through that pain and discomfort when I could’ve just used a running shoe for running and skipped it.
4. It Helps Delay Fatigue
Some running shoes are designed to help you save energy during your running sessions. They work by reducing the need for the over-exertion of your lower extremity muscles to propel you forward.
They do that by using a bouncy midsole like the Brooks Levitate 4 or by using a rolling mechanism like the ASICS GlideRide 2.
However, most running shoes are designed with just the right responsiveness and cushioning that will help delay your overall fatigue as compared to running in a casual shoe.
5. Some Running Shoes Correct Your Running Gait
Ideally, your foot has to have just enough pronation in order to evenly distribute the impact your body receives to your lower extremities as well as provide the best foot position for propulsion.
Unfortunately, some runners overpronate because of a variety of reasons including lack of practice or even a flat foot causing potential damage to the knees and decrease running performance.
But thanks to the innovation of running shoe companies, some running shoes are now equipped with technologies that prevent the overpronation of your foot and help guide it in a neutral position.
Some examples of these types of shoes are the ASICS Gel-Kayano 27 and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21.
By the way, I am flat-footed and an overpronator myself. I noticed a huge improvement in my running gait immediately after I switched to Brooks Adrenaline GTS. It decreased the overall discomfort that I feel when running. Because of this, I immediately understood why running with the right running shoe is important.
If you’re still looking for a pair of stability shoes, I highly recommend the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22. I’ve been using them for quite some time and they feel really good on the feet. Plus, they’re relatively light for a stability shoe.
6. It Makes You More Efficient at Running
Because running shoes have the right amount of cushioning and midsole technology specifically designed for you to run with, running shoes will make you more efficient overall compared to any other shoe when it comes to running.
And, as mentioned earlier, there are some running shoes equipped with technology that uses the rolling mechanism or a bouncy midsole to decrease the need for your muscles to exert extra effort.
So, if you’re ever interested in running more with less fatigue, get a running shoe.
7. It Prevents Blisters and Dead Toe-Nails
Blisters and dead toenails are usually caused by the friction that happens inside the foot due to a poor fit or lockdown.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had blisters and dead toenails because of running in inappropriate shoes. I used to run with CrossFit shoes, walking shoes, and casual shoes which got me multiple blisters and dead toenails on multiple occasions before I even considered the possibility of buying a running shoe.
Here’s a photo of my dead toenail back when I wasn’t fond of running with proper running shoes.
A picture of my dead toenail when I used to run with an inappropriate shoe
Bottom line: running shoes are designed to fit your foot properly and prevent friction, therefore, reducing the risk of blisters and dead toenails.
8. Running Shoes Are Designed According to Their Intended Use
If you’re new to running, you may be surprised by the fact that there are different types of running shoes for different running activities. I actually made a list of them in another article.
There are lightweight shoes used for tempo days and races, there are energized shoes for long-distance running, cushioned shoes for daily training as well as trail shoes that provide traction on any type of terrain.
Sometimes, running shoes combine these features and become entirely different shoes with a unique running experience.
9. It Will Help You Lose More Weight (Indirectly)
Though buying a pair of running shoes will not shave a single pound from your weight, it may help you do more and therefore, burn more calories.
Think about it, because you feel comfortable, you will be able to run more. And because of that, you’ll burn more calories over time. Plus, it will reduce knee pain and blisters that may prevent you from training the next day.
Whether you’re a professional runner, recreational runner, or even a weekend warrior, having a good pair of running shoes is important for your safety and overall running experience. It is therefore ideal to invest in a good pair of running shoes.