When breaking into the world of competitive or recreational running, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of shoes you can buy or may be confused about where to start. With a little knowledge about the types and categories of running shoes, navigating the running store won't be a challenge any longer. The most important thing to know is that two basic types of shoes exist--running shoes and track (or competition) shoes--each with its own purpose and design.


The first athletic shoes were designed in the 18th century in England and were made entirely of leather. When track racing became popular, these shoes were given long metal spikes to give the racer traction, but the leather proved to be impractical for long-term use, as the leather stretched and became misshapen under wet conditions. The first rubber-soled shoes, which were termed "sneakers" for the wearer's ability to sneak up on someone quietly in his new shoes, came out in 1917 and were made popular by the brand Keds.

Types of Running Shoes

A running shoe is what most people picture if they hear "tennis shoes" or "sneakers." This type of shoe features a thick layer of foam or cushioning around the bottom and most likely has a mesh outer layer and a firm, textured sole. A half dozen reputable brands create quality training shoes, which are prominent in specialty running and sports stores. Running (or training) shoes are ideal for everyday running and workouts but may be too cumbersome for short races.

Types of Track Shoes

Two types of track shoes are available: racing flats and racing spikes. A racing flat looks like a thin, pared down version of the typical training shoe. It has about half the built-in cushion of a training shoe and is designed to weigh as little as possible while still giving some support. These shoes should be used for longer races (5k and up) as well as for some interval training. Racing flats do not have enough support for daily training, especially for the injury-prone runner, but because they weigh much less than training shoes, they are ideal for running fast over long distances.

How to reach

Central Footwear Training Institute,
65/1, GST Road, Guindy,
Chennai 600032
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