Unlike track or trail running, road running takes place on established roads and dirt paths. Challenges include varied pavement, hills, sharp bends and inclement weather. Road races generally range from 5 km to ultra marathons (50-100 miles). Due to the impact from running on pavement, road running creates a strain on the feet, ankles, knees and back, which makes it especially important to have the correct shoes.
Road running shoes and training shoes generally contain a cushioning system designed to absorb the excessive shock that occurs from pounding the pavement. The outsoles are designed specifically for running on pavement in order to maintain grip and prevent slips.
Walking has quickly become a popular form of exercise and even a sport, in particular Nordic Walking and Speed Walking. Nordic Walking is the combination of walking and cross-country skiing and involves the use of specially designed Nordic Walking poles. Nordic Walking Shoes are specific to Nordic Walking. They differ from regular walking shoes in that they are designed with a stable midsole and flexible forefoot.
Speed Walking, simply put, is a very fast paced form of walking without breaking into a jog or run. With Speed Walking, one foot is on the ground at all times. Speed Walking shoes are designed with a flexible forefoot and a firm heal counter for stability. In order to avoid cramping of the toes, look for Speed Walking shoes with a high toe box area.
A marathon is a long-distance running event that is 26.2 miles long, and for many runners, it will be longest run they ever attempt. The experienced and competitive marathon runner will need lightweight running shoes built for speed. However, most marathon runners will need support and cushioning. Whichever type of running shoe you select, never run a full marathon until you have broken in your shoes for at least 100 miles.
Trail running is different from other types of running in that it takes place off road. Trails vary in terrain and can include mountains, hills, deserts, forests, grass, rock, mud and even water. Trail runners ascend and descend thousands of feet; and due to the demands of trail running, it is highly recommended that trail running shoes be used for trail running.
Trail running shoes differ from road running shoes in that trail shoes are generally stiffer and offer more under foot protection and stability. The outsoles are more aggressive, offering better traction than road shoes. The uppers tend to be more weather and abrasion resistant in order to keep rock and other debris out.