What Shoes Should You Wear When You’re Not Running?

Runners spend a lot of time and energy finding the perfect pair of running shoes that what you wear when not running can be overlooked.

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As runners, we spend so much time looking for the perfect pair of running shoes. We get gait analysis. Have an expert fit us. But what we are forgetting, is to do the same for the shoes we wear when we aren’t running.

“Running can really take a toll on your feet, ankles and knees,” explains Sally Murphy, the Senior Director of Women’s Design at Rockport. “Making sure you wear shoes with great support and comfort allows your body to recover between runs.”

As a shoe designer, six-time marathon finisher and avid running mom, Murphy knows a thing or two about running shoes and how they affect our whole body—not just our feet. We asked her a few questions to find out exactly what you should look for in a non-running shoe—and why it matters.

What features should runners look for in an ‘everyday’ shoe?

Runners should wear shoes with a slight heel lift, nothing that is pancake flat to the ground. It is also important to take a break from high heels now and again. It is not good for your joints or your back to wear high heels too many days in a row. I try to never wear an extreme heel height the day after a long run. I also always look for great cushioning in the heel strike and a padded arch support.

What about sandals?

Sandals are great to wear, especially right after long runs when your feet are more swollen. However, you always want a supportive, anatomic foot bed sandal—not a flip flop! Wearing flip flops all day makes your Achilles very tight and can lead to plantar fasciitis.

Should runners wear running shoes only when running?

I wear running shoes only when I run because I do not want to compress the cushioning with everyday wear. Also, running shoes uppers are made to let your foot expand due to the impact of your feet pounding the pavement. This expansion is not necessary for everyday wear, and therefore running shoes can sometimes feel too loose when we are not wearing them for exercise.

So why does all of this matter?

It is so important to take of the care of your feet and support them properly throughout the day. Your body mechanics and functionality all relate to your shoes, and if your feet are not properly supported and cushioned it can lead to endless foot, knee and back problems for runners and non-runners alike.