Running Shoes Vs. Cross Trainers – The Main Differences

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Cross Training For Runners
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David Dack

Although running shoes and cross-trainers have a lot in common, the differences between the two means that you must choose the right type for activity.

So what are some of these differences, and how can you tell which one is?

Worry no more.

In this post, I’ll share the full guide on the key differences between running shoes vs. cross-training shoes so you can more easily choose the best for a given activity.

Training Vs. Running Shoes

Although running and cross-training (or non-running exercise) are two entirely different ways of training, many people still wear the same footwear for both activities.

This is a big mistake

Although running shoes and cross trainers can look the same to the untrained eye for injury prevention, comfort, and performance, it’s worth using the right shoe for the right activity. Otherwise, you’ll set yourself up for poor performance, pain, or even injury.

Let’s get into why.

What Are Cross-Training Shoes

Cross trainers are designed for a wider range of motion and multi-directional movements, including jumping, cutting, breaking, stopping, and changing direction quickly. This makes cross-trains suitable for a variety of workouts.

They also feature a flatter sole than standard road running shoes, which makes them more flexible.

What’s more?

Cross trainers also tend to be flatter with a lower heel-to-drop.

Cross-Training shoe Purpose

As the name implies, cross-training refers to a range of various workouts. By the same token, cross trainers are the all-catch term that refers to a wide range of shoes for different activities.

Additional Reading  – Your guide to the heel to toe drop.

Think of cross-trains as your all-in gym shoe.

Cross trainers are designed to perform a variety of roles. You can use them for almost any non-running exercise, such as strength training, the elliptical machine, yoga, stretching, Zumba workout, or CrossFit.

This includes weight-bearing exercises such as squats and lunges, changes of direction, and multidirectional moves such as jumping.

Therefore, the main function of good cross trainers is to provide support and stability for the different exercises and movements you’d perform during cross-training.

In most models, cross-trainers feature a flatter and smoother outsole to increase ground contact for better stability. They also have a rounded edge to limit the risk of ankle rolling. This shoe also features a flexible midsole for multi-directional movement.

Can you run in your Cross Training shoes

While cross trainers may feel comfortable, I still won’t recommend them for running, especially on long-distance runs.

Running shoes Purpose

Although running has a lot to offer, the high-impact nature of the sport can take a toll on your muscles and joints. This, over time, can lead to pain and injury, especially if you’re not using the right footwear.

Running shoes are made for, wait for it, running. They’re designed for heel-to-toe movement and have a higher heel drop. This, in turn, gives them extra support and cushioning in the midfoot and heel.

What’s more?

Running shoes tend to be light for the best running experience. But, even if it’s just an ounce, over the miles, those extra ounces are fast to pile one to extra pounds. This will slow you down, and you don’t want that.

Running shoes feature extra arch support and cushioning than cross trainers, which can help reduce the risk for overuse injuries such as runners’ knee or stress fractures.

What’s more?

Running shoes tend to be lighter than cross-trainers. This is because a lighter design makes running easier, especially if you’re logging in many miles.

Additional Resource – Here’s a list of the best running shoe brands.

Do you Need Both Running Shoes and Cross Trainers?

Of course, you do, especially if you engage in activities other than running.

If you’re not into cross-training, then you should get started ASAP. I  cannot emphasize it enough.

You should also have different running shoes for different runs. Road shoes and trails shoe are designed for specific purposes, you know. Use the right one for the job.

Are you planning to do a lot of trail running? Then go for running shoes with deeper lugs and more durable uppers to help improve traction and protection while navigating technical terrains.

Additional Resource:

Running Shoes Vs. Cross Trainers  – The Conclusion

For these reasons—and some more—you shouldn’t be running in your cross-trainers. They simply won’t offer enough support and cushioning, whether you’re pounding the pavement or running indoors on a treadmill. Be careful.

Now that you know a thing or two about running shoes Vs. cross trainers  differences, you can make an informed decision.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

Thank you for stopping by.

David D

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