Running Shoes vs Basketball Shoes: The Key Differences You Need to Know

Studies show that about 50 million Americans participate in some form of regular running or jogging. That’s 15% of the total U.S. population!

Do you love to go for a run, clearing your mind and keeping your body fit? If so, you know that the right pair of shoes makes all the difference. 

When you start shopping, however, you’ll notice that there are a ton of different athletic shoes on the market. Specifically, you might notice similarities between running shoes and those meant for other sports, such as basketball.

Today, we’re sharing key differences between running shoes vs basketball shoes. This way, you can make an informed decision and hit the pavement (or court) with confidence. 

What Are Running Shoes?

There isn’t a universal running shoe that works for every environment. Rather, the kind you need will depend on where you plan to work out. For instance, you might grab one pair for trail running, and another for road running. 

All types should accommodate forward motion and a variety of repetitive strides. Here are a few distinguishing characteristics of each.

Road Running Shoes

Road running shoes are designed to be lightweight and airy, maximizing your comfort with every step. They will include cushions and stabilization features to keep your feet feeling great, even on the hardest pavement. Most also include a low-cut upper to allow ankle flexibility.

Take the New Balance Classic Running – WMN FTWR Marathon Running Shoes/Sneakers, for instance. Not only do these shoes have a special cushioning functionality, but they’re also equipped with slip-resistant soles. This way, you can use them in any season, without fear of losing your balance in wet conditions. 

Trail Running Shoes

Then, there are shoes designed solely for those who enjoy exploring the great outdoors. If you prefer trail running, look for sneakers specifically designed for this purpose.

Most trail runners will include thicker, more heavy-duty soles equipped with increased traction to reduce slippage and injury. 

The Nike Fee Run Trail “Neutral Grey” Marathon Running Shoes/Sneakers is a great example. Like the New Balance running shoes above, these also feature cushioning and a slip-resistant sole. However, they also include a thick-bottom heel to accommodate the demands of uneven, rocky terrain. 

In general trail running shoes tend to be a little heavier than those designed for pavement running. However, they’re still more lightweight than a basketball shoe.

What Are Basketball Shoes?

You don’t have to play in the NBA to appreciate a great pair of basketball shoes. 

While running shoes are meant to accommodate long distances, this type of heavy-duty footwear features excellent traction. Most pairs are designed for short, quick bursts of speed and near-constant changes in direction. Whereas running shoes are made for forward motion, these are meant for lateral, or side-to-side movement. 

Common features include shock-absorbing soles, stiffer materials, and a higher upper. 

Shock absorption is necessary due to the amount of jumping, starting, pivoting, and stopping that basketball players must do. The stiff materials and higher upper are there to protect and stabilize your ankles as you play.

Looking for inspiration? Check out the Nike Air Jordan 12 Retro Basketball Shoes/Sneakers. 

Released in August 2020, these basketball shoes feature a high-cut upper, thick-bottom heels, and cushioning/slip-resistant functionality. Thanks to its special technology and construction, this pair is considered one of the most durable Air Jordans of all tie!

Which One Should I Choose?

It goes without saying that you can be both a runner and a basketball player! However, when you’re searching for your next pair of shoes, consider the sport that you enjoy participating in the most. 

If it’s running, stick with shoes meant for this sport. Basketball shoes tend to be bulkier and heavier, and they can weigh you down as you jog or sprint. This is especially the case for long-distance runners, who need a lightweight pair to maintain their stamina. 

If you prefer basketball, look for shoes with the word “basketball” in the title. This way, you know you’re getting the level of stability you need. Shooting hoops in running shoes could leave your ankles prone to injury or strain. Usually, these don’t have the level of traction required to start, stop, and change directions on a dime. 

The Role of Cross Trainers

What should you do if your budget only allows for one new pair of shoes, but you participate in running and basketball on an equal level? In this case, consider investing in a great pair of cross-training sneakers.

Put simply, these sneakers are a hybrid of multiple different kinds of footwear. Like running shoes, they’re usually lightweight and have great heel cushioning. At the same time, they may also feature the lateral stability of a basketball shoe. 

In other words, they strike the perfect balance between form and function. They can be made of a variety of materials, and most are comfortable and trendy enough to become your everyday footwear. 

The Nike Air Cross Trainer 3 Low Marathon Running Shoes/Sneakers are a great place to start. With a low-cut upper, slip-resistant sole, and flat heel, they’re practical and versatile enough to accommodate any sport.

Running Shoes vs Basketball Shoes: Which One Will You Get?

In the debate between running shoes vs basketball shoes, there is no clear winner. The kind that you need will depend on your sport of preference, as well as the features that are most important to you.

Regardless of which one you choose, be sure to read the product descriptions to make sure you understand the features of each one. Don’t forget to look for colors and designs that meet your personal preference, too! From all-black sneakers to bold, colorful styles, there’s something for everyone!

When you’re ready to find your perfect pair, feel free to shop our full selection. If you have any questions, reach out to our team.

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