Sneakers Which Shoes Is This?

The quiet sole shoe sneaker comes in many styles. Learn how to find the best sneaker you can wear well.

What Are Sneakers?

Modern technology has created so many styles.  The term sneakers is used interchangeably to refer to casual, tennis, running, trail, training, athletic and tacky shoes. This is appropriate because each of these shoe types has a quiet sole. Back in the 18th century shoes were referred to as either hard soled, which make a lot of noise when walking, or soft soled, which is quiet so the walker can actually sneak around without being heard.

Quiet sole shoes have become more activity specific; therefore it is more appropriate to call a soft soled shoe by it activity name.  Modern technology has made this possible.  Learn which soft sole shoe is best for your specific activty.

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Which Soft Sole Activity Shoe Is Best For You?

Walking shoes are for those who walk not run, weight train, hike, trail run or play a team sport.

Running shoes are for those who run whether it be for a marathon, for a long distance or short distance.

Trail running shoes are for those who run on both natural surfaces and dirt trails.

Hiking Shoes are for those who climb and cover rough terrain.

Training shoes are for those who do aerobics or weight lifting.

Team sports shoes are specifically named for the type of sport engaged in such as tennis, golf, soccer, basketball and baseball.

Why Does Each Activity Have Its Own Shoe?

Modern day manufacturers have carefully studied the movement of the foot during the above mentioned activities and have designed shoes specifically for each activity to better protect the health of the feet.


Which Soft Sole Shoe Type Uniqueness Is For You?

Walking Shoes

Walking shoes are designed to support the heel-ball-toe action of walking. The weight of the body rolls from the heel, through the ball and continues to the toe in one foot after the other resembling a rocking-chair like motion Since the weight of the foot is first placed on the heel, the heel of the shoe is designed to lock around the heel of the foot for support and cushioned to provide shock absorption for the weight of the body. In addition, the heel collar is designed to provide support for the ankle and cushioned to provide comfort and a snug fit for the heel.  As the weight of the foot rocks forward from the heel through the ball to the toe, greater arch support and flexibility of the forefoot is required. The insole is key to providing cushioning support for the arch. Since the body’s weight is distributed quite evenly on the walking foot, the height of the inside of the shoe is almost the same from the heel to the toe.  The grooves and treads of the out sole help maintain traction. Walking shoes are for relatively smooth and flat terrains.

Running Shoes

Running shoes are designed to support the forward movement of the body from the legs to the feet enhancing the forward momentum which propels the runner to the next strike. To support this motion, the heel of the shoe is thicker, the soles are arched to give an upward curve to the shoe tip and much flexibility is provided at the toe region. The mid-sole becomes the cushioning and stability layer between the insole and the out sole. To support speed, the shoes are made of light-weight material and a thin intricate tread intended for smooth surface running. Additional cushioning is provided to support the absorption of shock which is greater than that occurring during walking. Breathable material is used in the upper to keep the feet from perspiring because of heavy activity. Running shoes are for smooth terrains. Because of their nature, running shoes are considered high tech which results in material and design upgrades periodically.

Trail Running Shoes

Trail running shoes are designed to provide support and traction on natural and dirt trails. The tread on the soles which is more aggressive than a standard running shoe, is capable of keeping the runner safe on mud and small rocks. The sole is closer to the ground to provide stability on uneven surfaces. Toe protection is provided either in the form of a toe guard or a layer of sole which wraps over the front upper of the shoe.


Hiking Shoes

Hiking shoes are made to provide lateral support for ankles and traction on rough terrain, mountainous slopes and inclement weather. To support the ankle, the shoe has a high ankle and the upper is laterally firm. The upper material is also thicker to protect the feet from bruising and wet conditions.   To protect the feet from feeling rocks and debris, the soles are thick and inflexible. To grip rougher terrain, the tread patterns are aggressive or more pronounced and the sole is wider. A toe bumper is incorporated into the upper to protect the toes from injury.  The heavier materials increase the weight of the shoes as well as provide additional warmth in cold climates.  Hiking shoe uppers are generally made from leather which is durable, and abrasion and water resistant.

Training Shoes

Training shoes are made to provide lateral support for quick repeated leg movements such as those associated with aerobics, weight lighting and kickboxing. Compared to running shoes, training shoes are heavier, have a less flexible mid-sole, and have a lower heel to toe drop and slightly less cushioning and less tread.

Team Sports Shoes

Team sports shoes vary in lateral support, material used, cushioning and tread.  Tennis, baseball and basketball shoes are made to provide extreme foot flexibility. Golf, football and soccer shoes are made with cleats to provide additional traction on soft or slippery surfaces. Most sports are made with extensive lateral support to provide protection as the foot moves quickly from side to side as well as starts and stops abruptly. Most sport shoes are also made with extensive cushioning because of the quick unpredictable foot maneuvers.

Casual Shoes

Casual shoes are appropriately called casual shoes because they are not involved in a strenuous leg and foot movement as all of the other shoe types listed are. Therefore, we believe casual shoes are the shoes that can be rightfully called sneakers.  Many casual shoes have soft soles.



Of course all of the above shoe types have a soft sole so one can sneak around without being heard; however each shoe type has so many more distinctions.  Our shoe manufacturers have provided much needed features to provide the unique shoe support needed for each activity type.

Because shoe distinctions are activity based, the shoes on this site will be labeled by the appropriate activity level.

Next time you are looking for a new pair of soft soled shoes, first determine what activity the shoes will be primarily used for, then look for shoes with that activity classification.