So many workouts, so little time. These days, there are a million ways to get a sweat session in. Whether it's gym workouts, lifting, the treadmill, or long runs, you need the right shoe. Understanding what shoe to use, and when, can help you perform your best and avoid injury. We'll breakdown running shoes vs. training shoes for you – because what you wear matters.

What Are the Main Differences Between Running and Training Shoes?

Running and training shoes may look similar, but there are a few key differences:

What Are Training Shoes Used for?

Training shoes support a range of movement, including: cutting, stopping, breaking, jumping, and changing direction quickly.

This makes a training shoe versatile and good for many different types of workouts. You can think of training shoes as your all-in-one gym shoe.

For example, you can use training shoes for:

You can even do short distances on a treadmill. Anything longer than a 5K is usually better with running shoes for shock absorption.

How Training Shoes Fit

Training shoes have a comfortable upper and flexible midsole for multi-directional movement. A lower heel drop puts you closer to the ground to push off and pivot. Training shoes are lightweight for easy and efficient movement.

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What Are Running Shoes Used for?

This one is more obvious – running shoes are for running. But how do running shoes help with running? Running shoes protect your feet when pounding the pavement over and over again. Where a training shoe helps with side-to-side movement, running shoes help with forward movement. Running shoes also provide more cushioning and support, which often translates into a higher heel drop. This makes for more comfort during long distance runs when you need lots of shock absorption.

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Risks of Using the Wrong Shoes for Your Workout

Wearing the wrong shoes may lead to problems such as:

Discomfort

The wrong type of shoes can cause discomfort in many different ways. You may experience blisters, aches and pains, or soreness. It may be the reason your shoe doesn't feel quite right. The best shoes don’t get in your way at all – letting you do your workout without hardly noticing them.

Lowered Performance

Wearing the wrong type of shoe can keep you from performing your best. When you’re putting in the hard work to get better, the last thing you need is your shoe to be holding you back. Running shoes during plyometrics can keep you from pivoting quickly. You won't have the grip, traction, and flexibility of the sole a training shoe provides. Without running shoe cushioning and support, it may be harder to up distance or get faster.

Injuries

Running and training shoes provide specific types of support to prevent injury. Here are some of the ways a mismatch of shoe to workout may increase your chances of injury:

Don’t forget shoe size. Too small of shoes can cause your toenails to turn black from bruising and fall off (ew). You should be sizing up at least a half size to account for the natural movement and swelling of your feet during workouts. You may also need to find the right shoe width for your comfort.

If you’re still unsure about what shoe is best for you, head to an ASICS retail store for expert guidance or your local specialty sports store.