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The Complete Guide: Difference Between Shoes and Sneakers

Shoes are one of the accessories that most human beings use. Both men and women of all ages love to buy shoes to walk comfortably and enhance their appearance.

It is also said that people’s personalities can be determined by the shoes they wear.

Different types of shoes are made for different occasions so that people can style accordingly.

But most people prioritize comfort and go for sneakers to cover long distances without hurting their feet.

But they easily get confused between shoes and sneakers because they have a lot in common.

If you also have trouble selecting between a shoe and a sneaker then do not worry we are here for you.

In this article, we will briefly describe what sneakers and shoes are. We will also share the main differences between them. So let’s dive in without any ado.

What are Shoes?

Shoes are an important accessory that people wear on their feet for comfort and warmth.

They are made from leather and synthetic fibers like nylon and polyurethane. Synthetic fibers are used on the top and bottom of athletic and sports shoes.

Most people wear them because they are easy to clean and have durable quality.

The sole of the shoes is also made with polyurethane that is flexible and observes all the shocks. Shoes are best for people who run on hard terrains regularly.

Here is a list of shoes that are not considered sneakers. This will help you to get the right shoes without any confusion so have a look at it.

  • Chelsea boots
  • Derby shoes
  • Chukkas
  • Moccasins
  • Oxford shoes
  • Penny loafers
  • Sandals and Slippers
  • Tassel loafers

Also Read: Can You Wear Leather Boots in the Rain

What are Sneakers?

The term sneaker is used in North America mostly for shoes with rubber soles. While the same shoes are called joggers in England and trainers in Australia.

Sneakers become popular among people these days as they provide more comfort and have a stylish look. 

People refer to rubber shoes as sneakers but they are not right. Sneakers get their name because of their small noise. Sneakers have rubber soles that make some noise while walking. 

But the voice is ignorable and does not discomfort anyone. Now there is a huge variety of sneakers and people can wear them for both running and jogging. Here is the list of shoes that are sneakers so have a look at them.

  • Basketball shoes
  • Cross trainers
  • Casual sneakers
  • Cleats  
  • Golf shoes
  • Cycling shoes
  • Minimalist shoes
  • Trail running shoes
  • Running shoes 
  • Tennis shoes
  • Walking shoes

If you are willing to buy sneakers for a comfortable walking session then select the one from the above list to get the desired product.

What is the difference between Shoes and Sneakers?

Although sneakers come from a class of shoes. But they have a lot of differences.

They are different because of their comfort, weight, protection, and flexibility. Manufacturers usually keep these factors in mind to design shoes and sneakers.

The other major factor between shoes and sneakers is shock absorption. Running shoes absorb shock up to 4 times when the forefoot touches the ground while running.

In addition to shock absorption, here are some factors that help people easily understand the difference between a shoe and a sneaker. So have a look at them.


The first difference between shoes and sneakers is the material. Sneakers are made of canvas and synthetic materials that absorb shock without hurting the feet.

While normal shoes are made from synthetic materials like polyurethane and nylon. These materials make shoes stylish and enhance their durability.


Sneakers are athletic shoes and they can be used for both casual and walking purposes. On the other side, shoes can be used for multiple purposes like walking, running, training, and much more.


Sneakers have rubber soles that’s why they are not suitable be worn on rough surfaces. Also, they do not provide much cushioning to protect the feet. Contrary, shoes have lightweight and soft soles.

They offer the finest cushioning on all kinds of surfaces so that people can easily walk and run without getting hurt. 


Sneakers have high traction and provide better stability to people on all surfaces. Similarly, shoes are stable too, and have better traction.


Sneakers are stylish and have rubber soles but they are not strong enough to handle high pressures.

The sole can get broken easily if used for a long time on rough surfaces. On the other hand, shoes are long-lasting as they are made of durable quality material like polyurethane. They are also very flexible, strong, and sturdy.

Basic Differences Between a Shoe and a Sneaker:

If you find it difficult to remember the technical details then here are some basic differences that will make it easy for you to make the right shoe selection. Have a look at them.

  • Not all athletic shoes are called sneakers
  • A shoe is a generic term for all footwear that both men and women wear. While sneaker term is reserved especially for athletic shoes
  • Shoes can be made from a variety of materials but sneakers are made from synthetic fabric with only rubber soles
  • Sneakers are made for extra comfort and physical activities while casual shoes are made with leather material and are specified for formal occasions
  • American people use sneaker term for shoes while people in Britain know shoes as joggers

Also Read: How to Use Leather Luster on Boots | A Step-by-Step Guide

Can Sneakers be Used for Running?

There is no simple answer to this question. This is because there are a lot of factors that need to be considered before giving a precise answer. So let’s review these factors and find the exact answer to this question.

Cushioning Level:

Running and walking are different activities and require different efforts as well. During running your feet hit the ground up to 4 times your body while during walking your feet hit the ground approximately 1.5 times your body weight.

It means you need extra padded cushioning during running to stay comfortable and avoid injuries. The extra cushioning also ensures that people cover miles without any trouble and unwanted foot pain and injuries.  

Sneakers are made with less cushioning that’s why they are not the ideal choice for running purposes. You must select running shoes for this purpose to get better cushioning.

Motion Control:

The amount of control that you get at the time wearing shoes is known as motion control. This term means that at the time of running you need good control which is fulfilled by high-quality running shoes. 

In the case of the sneakers, the amount of motion control is good but not perfect as they are made for general use only. 

Heel Height:

When it comes to selecting the right shoe for running, heel height is one of the necessary factors. It means you should consider it to make the right decision. 

To determine the stability and flexibility of running shoes, manufacturers made them with proper heel height as the front part of the foot is touched first.

The heel height also helps people with the next steps. People who are not involved in running activities can get flat shoes.


One of the important factors of running shoes is flexibility. You need shoes that provide better comfort during workout activities like jogging, running, and gym. 

If you do not use motion-control and flexible shoes then it may lead to serious foot injuries and problems like plantar fasciitis and much more. To avoid that it is better to select shoes with more cushioning and flexibility.   


Sneakers are made with rubber soles that’s why they have low durability. Also, they are not very best at shock absorption. Because of these reasons, it is not a good idea to walk with sneakers on rocky terrain. 

On the other side, running shoes are made with durable materials that make them strong, sturdy, and stylish. They have better shock absorption properties and absorb high impact on the toe and heel.

Now, after reviewing all the factors it is crystal clear that sneakers are not suitable for running. They will hurt your feet and cause multiple injuries. So it is better to choose running shoes for workout activities like jogging and running.

Which One is Better: Shoes vs Sneakers:

Both shoes and sneakers are the best if used in the right situations. In the market, you will get a huge variety of sneakers and shoes with fascinating designs. You can select the right style according to your preference.

But you should select between shoes and sneakers according to the situation’s requirements.

For Example, if you are looking for a shoe for running and jogging purposes then shoes are the best option for their high-level cushioning and better traction.

On the other hand, select sneakers for casual and walking purposes. They have comfortable cushioning and provide comfort to feet during walking. Anyone can walk many kilometers by wearing normal sneakers without getting tired.  

Wrapping It All Up!!!

Before making any purchase remember the purpose so that without spending any extra money you can have the right accessory for your feet. You can also consider the above-mentioned guide to make the correct choice.