CrossFit Shoes and Running Shoes- What Is the Difference

How many times have you experienced excruciating pain in your feet after a workout session?

Probably, you are overlooking the significance of wearing the correct shoes for exercise and running.

Many people are oblivious that CrossFit shoes and running shoes are designed for specific activities.

Wearing shoes according to the workout can benefit you in several ways, such as boosting your performance and preventing the chances of injury.
So, let's discover the primary differences between these two shoes and learn which is the best for your next fitness class.

Why Is It Important to Differentiate Between CrossFit Shoes and Running Shoes?

You might be wearing the same pair of shoes for running and gym training. However, think about it for a second, aren't both of these activities a little too different from each other and require distinct levels of effort?

CrossFit training consists of multiple complex movements, including powerlifting, weightlifting, calisthenics, gymnastics, cardio, etc.

These activities require posture stability, and only CrossFit shoes, AKA training shoes, can help you maintain your form to maximize the performance.
On the other hand, your feet are exposed to uneven surfaces in most cases while running. Your shoes should be shielding you from bumpy grounds and aid in fast direction changes.

And you can achieve it by wearing soft midsole running shoes designed for this specific activity.
Does that indicate you need separate shoes for both running and training sessions? Yes, because if you are a regular fitness enthusiast, these shoes are great investments and can optimize the results you cannot obtain.

What Are CrossFit Shoes and What Is Their Purpose?

CrossFit shoes are considered all-rounders in the fitness lingo. It is because CrossFit workout is an umbrella term that accumulates a variety of exercises.

Investing in one good training pair goes a long way as you can use it for almost every fitness activity for the years to come.
CrossFit shoes/cross trainers maintain your body's balance while you engage in high-intensity movements.

Due to their durable and multipurpose nature, you can use these sneakers for pretty much all of the physical activities and sports, including jumping, stretching, weight lifting, rope climbing, cardio, boot camp, Zumba workout, lateral movements, etc.
They are flexible and sturdy enough to handle the pressure and protect your knees and ankles.
Hence, this is why you need the best training shoes for enhanced execution and safety purposes.

What Are Running Shoes and What Is Their Purpose?

It is pretty self-explanatory that running shoes are applicable for running activities and daily jogging. While running, your body's weight is constantly hitting the surface. A good pair of running sneakers provide perfect protection to your joints and feet from this repetitive load.

These sneakers can also help you move directions swiftly. Firm padding, curved and thicker heels make the running experience less draining and more enjoyable.
On long-distance runs, your shoes must offer sufficient comfort and shock absorption. Hence, a high-quality pair of runners comes with all three: comfort, convenience, and safety.

Some gym-goers use running shoes for their heavy training preparations. However, it can cause discomfort and stiffness in your joints as runners are not as sturdy as cross sneakers.

Summarizing the Differences Between CrossFit Shoes and Running Shoes

The truth is both of these shoes are built to enhance your athletic performance and eliminate the probability of accidents. Both can make the overall experience equally comfortable for you only if you wear them according to the activity.
So, let's look at the properties that make them different.

    • Cross trainers are made from durable materials, such as leather or some synthetic stuff, to offer a solid fit. Running shoes are sturdy, but all of them are made of mesh uppers. 
    • Running shoes are meant to protect your feet from uneven surfaces. Therefore, they support a more elevated cushioning at the heel side than the CrossFit shoes.
    • Cross-training shoes feature lower-height heels for flexible movements and stability during training. However, running sneakers have a relatively thicker sole for shock absorption as the runner moves.
    • Good sneakers for CrossFit are built to help you perform almost all kinds of physical activities and utilize your energy to the fullest. Meanwhile, running shoes are only intended to use for forwarding motion.
    • CrossFit-specific shoes are made of sturdy and heavy-duty materials. Thus they feel heavier than the latter.
    • Generally, cross trainers offer a heel-to-toe drop of 5-7 mm, and in the case of runners, it is 8-10 mm.

Can We Use CrossFit Shoes for Every Physical Activity? 

We have established that training footwear is perfect for every workout due to its versatile and durable nature. Now, let's see how they are applicable in the following activities.

Are Cross Trainers Good for Weightlifting?

Can you use cross-training shoes for weightlifting? Absolutely yes. These shoes are known as cross trainers because you can use them across various fitness categories.
If you incorporate multiple activities, such as jumping and cardio, in your weight training routine, cross trainers are the perfect tools to ace your game.
However, if you are only involved with weight and strength training, regular lifting shoes can serve the purpose too. Lifting sneakers have flat soles, and they are designed for specific strength training exercises, such as deadlifts and compound lifts.

When your exercise routine gets diversified and requires more effort, you should bring cross trainers in your life.

Are Cross Trainers Good for HIIT Workouts?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) combines brief bursts of exercise and highly intense activities followed by a short-term break.

For instance, you could be jogging after sprinting for half an hour. Following this pattern for a fixed time is a HIIT workout, and it can burn plenty of calories in a short period.
What is best is that you can wear cross-trainers for all of your HIIT workouts, especially lateral movements, sprints, and jumps.
After all, the best cross-training shoes are those that make you feel less worried about hurting your feet and enable you to train more confidently. They ensure extra support and enough cushioning to prevent any accident. And with a good pair, you achieve this level of comfort and balance.

Can Trainer Shoes Be Used for Tennis?

We know that training shoes offer better lateral support than runners. However, the support is not as solid as tennis-specific shoes.
Trainers can't provide the sufficient cushioning you need on hard tennis courts. Training shoes feature relatively thin outsoles and inadequate padding on the insoles.
So, if you don't own a professional pair of tennis shoes at the moment, you can rely on cross trainers as a hobbyist.

However, refrain from playing intensely for a prolonged time while wearing them.
Given that you need heavier shoes with thicker soles and elevated padding while playing this game, you should switch to tennis shoes shortly, especially if you are a regular player.

Cross Trainers for Other Sports

If you are the one who hits the ground for soccer with friends or an occasional basketball or volleyball player, CrossFit sneakers are a good fit for these outdoor activities.
However, if you are a fitness enthusiast who loves games, opting for specialized shoes is better in the long run. They ensure safety and enough shock absorption when playing and running on rough grounds.

Are Cross Trainers Good for Running and Jogging?

Cross trainers are suitable for almost every athletic activity. So, does running count as an activity? Yes, it is an activity, but the only area where trainers are not 'trained' to aid is constant forward foot movements. 

While you need a higher level of padding and wider heels for running, training shoes have relatively lower heels. Moreover, trainers are too heavy to support your consistent running movement.

So, folks, if you are planning to wear your training shoes on your next morning run or are already doing that, kindly know that this is not a clever idea.

Wearing activity-appropriate footwear can prevent you from body aches or any accident. However, if your gym activities are only about running on the treadmill, trainers are fine for that. 

Remember that you need proper footwear while running on varied surfaces for longer distances. And, this is where the need to buy a set of the best running shoes arises.

Can You Use Cross Training Shoes for Walking?

Walking and running are two activities that don't seem very unlike. However, both activities demand different efforts from feet.
While walking, your entire body's weight is equally placed on both feet, unlike running. Regular walking shoes have been designed according to different walking styles, mechanisms and they feature uplifted arch support.

On the other hand, trainers have too low of a heel height, and you want a minimum of 8-10 mm for a comfortable experience and absorb the shock as you keep walking.
Therefore, if you love to go on walks for therapeutic or fitness reasons, keep doing that, but wear comfy regular shoes other than gym trainers.

How to Pick the Right Pair of Shoes for Your Physical Activities? 

Exercise is not a one-week or one-month-long activity. It is a lifestyle that encourages us to embrace our bodies and take care of them.
Thrill expires for some people because of insufficient awareness about correct tools and techniques.

Fatigue and body aches take over, and they end up giving up. One way to avoid discomfort and pain in your body is to wear shoes relevant to the activity.

Finding a high-quality pair of shoes may seem straightforward, but it is pretty intimidating to grab the best footwear from a crowded market. Every day a new brand enters the scene and claims to be the best in the business.
One way to make an informed decision is to conduct in-depth research before buying footwear. Another better way is to ask your gym trainer and find which shoe type aligns with your training requirements.


How Often Should You Replace Your Cross Training Shoes?

The lifespan of your training shoes depends on how frequently you work out. If you wear your trainers for two hours a week, upgrade them once a year.

However, if you wear them daily for different fitness ventures, it is preferable to switch to new shoes twice a year.
Notice that sometimes you may not own the best gym sneakers and they may wear out earlier than expected.

Plus, you may experience fatigue and pain in your body due to mediocre material. In such scenarios, replace them right away and get your hands on the best sneakers in town.

Can You Wear Running Shoes for Hiking?

No written rule suggests running sneakers are not suitable for hiking adventures. These shoes can do the job efficiently for most running activities, including hiking.
However, it is never a bad idea to invest in specifically designed shoes for any activity. If you plan long trips with trails and gigantic packs, go with professional hiking footwear.

Can You Use Running Shoes for Gym?

You can wear running shoes to the gym if your workout routine revolves around walking, running on a treadmill, and mat exercises.

After all, you want enough cushioning and support for a comfortable running experience, and running shoes can ensure it.

How Do I Know What Running Shoe Is Right for Me?

Kilometers and the surface you will run upon highly influence shoe shopping. So, consider the following things that will help you grab the perfect fit for you. 

  • Know where and how long you will be running.
  • Know how often you plan to run in a week. 
  • Decide how much padding and cushioning you want to run on a specific place.
  • Know your size and find a pair that flawlessly fits. Only comfortably strong and stable footwear can allow you to enjoy the experience.


Having appropriate footwear is the fundamental part of your workout as it sets the tone for the rest of the activity.

In addition to preventing accidents and injuries, the right pair complements your body and makes the whole experience joyful.

Whether you are a regular gym-goer, dedicated athlete, or runner, give your body some favor, and find shoes specially designed for activities you perform.

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