Whether you are the kind of person who runs miles every single day or an average running enthusiast who realistically only gets out for the odd mile every other month, chances are that you absolutely love your running shoes.
Everything about a good pair of running shoes is designed to give the person wearing them comfort and support while they do some of the most aggressive movements that feet can do outside of dance.
Running shoes are designed to provide the kind of support, comfort, and security that you need to keep going mile after mile. This is why it is easy to fall in love with them.
After all, if the most comfortable pair of shoes that you own are your running shoes, it’s pretty difficult not to wish that you could wear them every single day.
In fact, you’ve probably found yourself wondering why you can’t wear your favorite shoes every day whether they are designed for running or not. Unfortunately, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, and that is the case with wearing your favorite pair of running shoes for non-running activities.
“Running ” shoes
The first and biggest consideration regarding why you shouldn’t wear your running shoes for your every day pair of shoes is the logistics behind it. For you, the person who did not design these shoes, you might think that running shoes are merely designed to be comfortable, minimize impact, and give you a little added boost on your runs.
Since those are the basics regarding what you experience, it is easy to understand these are the overall goals of the design. However, for the people actually designing running shoes in the shoe labs, there is actually a lot of science thrown into the design of these shoes.
A good pair of running shoes is actually made specifically for the purpose of running. This means that everything about the shoes including the shape, material, and fit are made to accommodate the physical motions of the running process.
You might think that this is a bit over the top because obviously you know that you can walk in your running shoes just fine, but the implications of these design choices can have very real outcomes on both your body and the shoes themselves.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you wear your running shoes to the grocery store instead of an average pair of sneakers, you might dig your toe into the ground by accident? This is because your body is used to running in them.
Our bodies build habits around the items that we use for specific activities, and it is completely possible for your body to kick into “we are running” mode when you’re just walking down the cereal aisle at the grocery store.
These dynamics can and do happen completely involuntarily because our bodies rely on muscle memory to simplify daily tasks.
This is why you are more likely to power walk in a pair of sneakers than you are in a pair of dress shoes or heels. The outcome of your mind crossing wires when you meant to do one thing and end up doing something else completely can be injury.
You are actually more likely to hurt yourself wearing the wrong shoes for a specific tasks than you would be wearing a worn down version of the right shoes. Now, you might be wondering how big of risk this is if you actually commit to wearing running shoes for your daily wear.
It makes sense to assume that if you get your body used to doing everything in running shoes, your muscle memory will accommodate that and alter itself to manage this shift. While you would be correct in thinking like this, there is more to this potential for injury than your muscle memory alone.
Can you wear running shoes everyday?
Running shoes are designed at their core to be used for running, which means that they are physically built to withstand pressure in the areas that are commonly associated with proper running posture. This is why they might have more thickness or support in some areas than they do in others, which is great when you are using them as they are intended to be used.
The physical design of these items will match the physical process, and that means that all of the right areas will be supported for that process.
However, when you are using shoes that are designed to support your body in certain positions to support you when you are just walking, you run the risk of ending up with disproportionate support that does not match the activity itself.
This can result in you ending up with support in areas that do not need it and a lack of support in areas that do need it simply because of the way your foot is positioned. Over time, this can result in soreness and can even forcefully change the shape of your foot, thus increasing your risk of injury.
Think of your running shoes as a tool. While you can use a chisel as a hammer, you significantly increase your risk of injury through improper use, and you will also cause unnecessary damage to the chisel itself, which is exactly what will happen to your shoes.
You run the risk of wearing them down in the wrong areas until they are no longer shaped correctly to support the function that they were built for, and considering how expensive running shoes are, this is a less than ideal outcome.
Don’t overthink things though
Wearing your favorite pair of running shoes to run errands is unlikely to result in something catastrophic if you do it on occasion. As is the case with anything, moderation is the key to finding balance.
We aren’t going to tell you that if you wear your shoes to play another sport or go on a stroll around town that tragedy will befall you and they will immediately be ruined, but we are encouraging you to give your running shoes the status that they deserve.
When you invest in a tool that is designed for a specific function, you should use it for that function in order to ensure the best outcome for yourself and the tool.
Our advice is to not heed the siren’s call and try to limit your running shoe wear to times when you are actually running. You both deserve it.
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