Good Content from: Team Saucony
Here at Saucony, we know that a good day is a day we run. Our goal is to outfit you in the shoes that let you Run for Good—and train for good, too. While it might seem reasonable to wear the same pair of shoes for every workout, whether that means a six-mile base run or a CrossFit class, you might benefit from using different types of shoes for different exercises.
Athletic shoes fall into two categories: training shoes and running shoes. You might be thinking,
“Wait, don’t I train in my running shoes and run in my training shoes?”
But hear us out. While these terms are often used interchangeably among runners, they have subtle differences that are important to keep in mind when choosing the right footwear for your training.
Training shoes vs. running shoes
What are training shoes? Generally, these are the shoes that work well for cross-training exercises that involve multi-directional movements, such as plyometrics, Pilates, CrossFit, HIIT, and weight lifting.
Training shoes are:
- Low to the ground
- Firm and responsive
Training shoes often feature less cushioning than running shoes, which enable greater responsiveness when you’re doing high-intensity exercises like sprints or box jumps. The flatter sole in training shoes also provides stability for side-to-side movements, such as lateral lunges and sideways skips, which can be harder to do in a bulkier shoe.
Running shoes, on the other hand, are designed for running, with more structural support to keep you comfortable while you log long miles. Compared to training shoes, these have a higher stack height and offset as well as a thicker midsole. The increased offset keeps your heel higher than the ball of your foot, which reduces strain on the lower-leg muscles and tendons.
Running shoes are:
- Higher from the ground
- Cushioned for maximum comfort
Can training shoes be used for running?
While training shoes differ from running shoes in certain aspects, training shoes can be used for running and running shoes can be used for cross-training.
At Saucony, all of our shoes are designed for running—so while they may vary in terms of offset, thickness, and cushioning, every pair of Sauconys can carry you through miles.
But what works for you might be completely different than what works for your training partner.
Here, we’ll break down the pros and cons of running in training shoes versus running shoes, and give a few recs for both shoe types.
Saucony training shoes
For runners who land on their mid- or forefoot and those who have knee or hip issues, training shoes with lower offsets can be ideal for logging miles, since higher offsets tend to shift strain toward the knees and hips. Runners who are racing or doing speedwork might also prefer to wear lighter and more responsive shoes to get an extra boost down the backstretch.
One shoe that works as well in the gym as on the road is the Kinvara, which weighs 7.8 ounces and has a 4mm offset. The Kinvara is lightweight and responsive enough for sprints and HIIT circuits, but also durable enough to wear for a marathon, thanks to a midsole made with high-quality EVA foam.
If you want a shoe with a similar offset and weight, but with more cushioning, the Freedom ISO 2 is a great alternative to the Kinvara. For runners who are seeking more stability during both workout classes and base runs, we suggest the Liberty ISO 2, which features many of the same elements as the Freedom, but with a more supportive underfoot feel.
Saucony running shoes
While the shoes mentioned above work for all types of training and racing, other runners might prefer a more supportive and durable shoe for logging miles. Heel-strikers and athletes with a history of lower-leg injuries (such as tight calves or Achilles issues) would likely benefit the most from shoes with higher offsets and thicker midsoles, which may help reduce injury risk.
For a durable running shoe that provides premium comfort and support, try the Triumph 17, which weighs between 9 and 10 ounces, has an 8mm offset, and features lightweight, plush cushioning from heel to toe. If you’re looking for a firmer shoe, pick the Ride ISO 2, which has an 8mm offset and weighs slightly less than the Triumph.
Find your perfect pair
Remember, every runner has individual needs and preferences, and you might need to try out a few different shoes before you find the ones that work for you. Having trouble picking a pair? Tell us about yourself via our Shoe Advisor, an online tool that will help you narrow down your options. You can also pop into your local running store to have an expert fit you with shoes.
Want more Saucony scoop? Be sure to keep checking our blog at Saucony.com for tips and insights about shoes, training, racing, and more.