Difference Between Sneakers and Running Shoes

When you go to a sport shop for your preferred athletic shoe you come across different options. They all have their different purposes. A professional sportsman can easily identify what’s good for his feet. 

However, It is kinda tough for a beginner to choose what to wear especially between sneakers and running shoes. They have such slight dissimilarities that it is initially hard for a newbie to make a difference between sneakers and running shoes. 

Don’t worry. That’s why we are here. We will give you all the information to make a clear judgment on what to buy. 

Athletic Shoes (History)

Athletic Shoes

Athletic shoes became universal in the 1950’s. This type of footwear was invented for functionality, comfort and to boost athletic execution. As customary footwear itself, athletic shoes fall into the accompanying classifications: running/jogging/strolling, winter, court, field, outdoor sports, field and track, and specialty shoes (i.e. weightlifting, water, gymnastics and so forth.)

At the beginning of the 19th century, recreational games became a popular norm due to the increased leisure time of mass people. Start of the modern Olympics was another reason for the mass popularisation of sports and sports shoes.

From 1873 Canvas shoes started to go by the term sneaker in the west and in British English trainers. Rubber-soled shoes were first incorporated in 1893. These types of footwear revolutionised the game industry.

However, It was not until the start of the 20th century that large shoe companies started to produce athletic footwear promptly accessible to the general public. The first generation great sports shoemakers, i.e.  the dassler brothers (who later divided into popular PUMA Inc and Adidas, Inc),Leon Leonwood bean, Joseph W. Foster for Reebok, and Marquis Converse, emerged  at this time.

As beginner sportsmen became experts, they impacted the development of sports and athletic shoes.

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What are Sneaker Shoes

Sneaker Shoes

Sneakers go by many names, i,e, gym shoes, casual shoes, training shoes even sometimes tennis shoes. Though the footwear is made to support you in your athletic activities, it is also somewhat considered a fashion statement.

Some even came up with a theory that it is a slang term. But there is hardly any evidence of it.

Since you can stay on your legs the whole day wearing these types of shoes, they are considered the best sort of casual wear. But what are sneakers?

Well, according to the Oxford dictionary, sneakers are the type of shoe that are made out of synthetic materials worn in sports or used in a casual manner.

What are Running Shoes

Running Shoes

Generally speaking, footwear worn by athletes who are associated with running or jogging is running shoes. The shoe manufacturers made them  in such a way that they provide lateral support to the wearer.

The shoe is lightweight so the runner doesn’t have any problem maneuvering in it. On top of it the running shoes can absorb a lot of shock just in case if you frequently run outdoors.

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What is the Difference between Sneakers and Running shoes

Difference between Sneakers and Running shoes

Initially if you look at both the shoes you don’t find any difference. They almost look alike. Both are comfortable on the feet and lightweight. People often wear sports shoes as casual wear.

Sportsman Christiano Ronaldo for example frequently wears athletic wear as a fashion statement and sneakers for jogging.

So is there really any difference between the two? Let me give you a quick comparison of sneakers vs running shoes.

After reading the whole explanation, you can be the judge of that.


The main differences between runners and sneakers are in their performance. Sneakers are made to be more of a casual wear. Wearing sneakers you can casually walk around the town. That is to say it doesn’t mean you can’t do any sort of sporty event wearing them.

Manufacturer made these shoes designed for multipurpose events. Let me tell you my experience. At school sports events for continuous 10 years I have been wearing sneakers without facing any problem.

That is to say, they are not meant to last long if you use it like this on a frequent basis. And by that I mean 5 to 6 hour training sessions everyday. You can use it at the gym or do weight lifting a couple of days a week. That’s about it.

The synthetic fabrics though eye catchy, makes the footwear less durable than specialised athletic shoes.

On the other hand running shoes serve your needs while running. They are designed to give you greater forward movement, cushioning to absorb shock and provide comfort while walking/running/jogging.

Another thing worth mentioning here is that sneakers are good for side to side movements which you won’t get in running shoes. Running shoes are made for forward movements. So if you are a tennis or volleyball player, this shoe won’t give you much utility.

Rubber Soles

Now let’s talk about soles, the main thing people get confused about. Though it is somewhat justifiable. Both the sneaker and running shoe have rubber soles. So sometimes people think that it is wise to buy casual sneakers as continuous athletic wear.

But that is where they are wrong. Though rubber both have slight differences. What sneakers have is what we call soft soles. They are doable for casual runners but if you run everyday then you will put a lot of stress on your feet.

Because while running outdoors you make a lot of heel to toe movement on a hard surface. So you need hard support rather than a flexible sole. Which you will get on running shoes.

Shoe manufacturers kept that in mind while making running shoes. These types of footwear  have hard soles that assist in heel to toe movement. The heel drop ( distance from toe to heal) in running shoes is wider due to extra cushioning.

So, even though both have rubber soles, the mechanism is different here. The rubber sole of sneakers gives you less support while running on hard surfaces. But on a soft surface it can last for about a year or more depending on how frequently you use them.


Cushioning is one thing you need the most of while playing any sort of sport. They provide support and make sure there are no stress fractures while running.

Sneaker is not a specialised running shoe. So it doesn’t have extra padding for shock absorption on hard surfaces.

On the other hand a running shoe provides you extra cushioning and for women’s footwear, even more. That’s why this pair of shoes is becoming increasingly popular among runners.


Every customised sports shoe comes with a heavy price tag. Running shoe is no different on this part. It will cost more than a casual sneaker.

If you don’t plan on sticking to running for a long time, then we would recommend that you go for sneakers. The cost is less here and you can even wear it as an everyday wear.

Can Sneakers be Used for Jogging

Sneakers for Jogging

Now after all this discussion you might have a better clue on where and where not a sneaker is an appropriate footwear.

Still let me clarify a bit. Sneakers can be worn for jogging if you go out on a casual basis. Like 1 to 3 times a week. Mind you we are talking about outdoors here.

But if we are talking about a gym or home  where you jog on a treadmill a couple of days a week, you can use them on a frequent basis. The soft materials or soft rubber soles won’t be a problem here.


Is There Any Difference between Sneakers and Joggers?

Well technically speaking, there isn’t. People refer to joggers as a counterpart of sneakers. They serve the same purpose.

Can Tennis Shoes be Used for Running?

Tennis shoes can be used for running. But it is not perfect for frequent jogs. Tennis shoes are mostly referred to as rubber shoes with rubber soles. The pair is heavy with extra cushioning for jumping.

All these components make them good for runners. But then again the same problem as sneakers. They are not appropriate for frequent outdoor runs.

What is the Difference Between Sneakers and Walking Shoes?

Generally speaking there is no difference between sneakers and walking shoes. It is used in a synonyms way.

Though it has less cushioning than its running counterparts, the pair gives you enough comfort while taking a walk or staying on your feet most part of the day.

Can I wear running shoes for everyday use?

We don’t recommend wearing running shoes for everyday use.

Every shoe has a time limit. Whether it is canvas, sneakers or trainers. The more you use the less it’s durability becomes. If you use running shoes for running and casual use, your shoes won’t last that long.

But yes, if you use the pair only for everyday use then there won’t be an issue. Many women claim that they prefer sports shoes as everyday wear because it gives them comfort. Especially pregnant women.

Can I Run in a Bad Shoe?

Running in the wrong shoes is highly disastrous. Especially if you run for miles or want to participate in a marathon. Things can go bad really fast.

In uneven terrain you can fall down, sprint your leg, put extra pressure on the joints and what not. So it is highly recommended that you wear running shoes for long distance or frequent jogs.

Final Words

As human beings it is often tough for us to differentiate between almost similar objects. It happens to the best of us. But we have given you the differentiation after practical use.

We were the victim of making bad choices so we don’t want anyone else to suffer. So we have put together this article. However, it is true that a beginner or casual runner won’t feel any difference.

They can wear sneakers for multipurpose. But professional runners or frequent runners absolutely need running shoes. Comfort and stability is the main need for them.

So a bad shoe can cause them to lose a race or worse cause any injury that can possibly harm their future. So you must choose what you want and need. You will find many top branded sport shoes in the market. So choose wisely.

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