A cross training shoe is made to be worn for a wide variety of sports, such as walking, running, tennis and basketball. A good cross training shoe combines the features of different footwear types to accommodate these different activities. A walking shoe has a simpler construction and lacks many of the features of a cross training shoe since it is made just for walking.
The foot strike is the point where the athlete’s foot hits the ground. Runners can hit the ground on the heel, midfoot or toe depending on personal preferences. To cover wearers landing on different foot strikes across all sports, cross training shoes have adequate padding under the entire shoe. In contrast, walking shoes have the most cushioning in the heel area since walkers land with their heels.
The soles for walking shoes are thinner than soles for cross training shoes because walking is a low-impact sport. The soles for cross training shoes are thicker in order to absorb the shock from the hard hits that runners, volleyball players, tennis players and basketball players take. Cross training shoes’ soles are also wider to provide the side-to-side support that basketball, tennis and volleyball players need. Some cross training shoes have traction on their soles for hiking.
Walking shoes are usually more flexible than cross training shoes because a walker’s foot hits the ground with the heel, rolls forward and pushes off with the toe. Cross training shoes are stiffer to accommodate sports, such as running, where the foot lands flat on the ground. Cross training shoes are also usually constructed heavier and thicker because they need to provide the adequate support and shock absorption required for high-impact sports.
Sports such as basketball and tennis, which involve quick movements in all directions, require shoes with good ankle support. Many cross training shoes have high and cushioned ankle supports to reduce the chances of sprains. Walking shoes have less ankle support because walkers are not moving side to side.
References and ResourcesOverstock: Running Shoes vs. Walking Shoes
Fogdog Sports: How to Buy Cross-Training Shoes
Overstock: How to Compare Athletic Shoes