Fitness walking and running: what are the differences?

You have chosen an outdoor sport to feel better, lose weight and relax. Whatever your objective, fitness walking and running are two endurance sports that are recommended for taking care of yourself. But why is walking so different and why does it need special footwear?


a walking step, a running stride

In fitness walking, the foot movement is called a step, whereas runners will generally talk about a stride. Both of these movements occur between the moment the foot lands on the ground for the first time and the second time the foot lands on the ground.

The walker is permanently in contact with the ground, whereas the runner moves by jumping. While runners propel themselves into the air, walkers place their heel on the ground. After this, the foot rolls through completely until the toes propel the walker forwards while the other foot returns to the ground and strikes it with the heel.

For the fitness walker, this is known as the double support phase, as you can see here:


1. Heel strike~2. Full contact with the ground~3. Propulsion~4. Leg swings forwards~5. Heel strike


1. Float~2. Initial contact~3. Float~4. Leg swings forwards ~5. Float

This double support phase is what makes walking more stable and significantly reduces the risk of sprains.

Do your feet have different needs for fitness walking?

The answer is yes! As you always have at least on foot in contact with the ground when fitness walking, the forces on your joints are much less than those experienced when running.

When fitness walking, the demands placed on the hip, knee and ankle joints are much reduced. That's why there is less cushioning on the footwear for fitness walking than that on a running shoe.

Most importantly, a  fitness walking shoe must provide lots of flexibility to ensure the best possible  foot motion.

Namely: how to choose between walking and running? everything naturally depends on what you prefer, but if you have weak joints or you have not practised a sport for a long time, choose fitness walking. Like running, fitness walking is an ideal endurance sport for strengthening the heart and developing your breathing while also helping you to achieve long-lasting weight loss.