Are Converse Shoes Good For Running? (Read First)

So you want to go for a run or a jog but you don’t have a pair of running shoes.

You saw Rocky run and jog while wearing a pair of Chuck Taylors in the first movie, so you wonder, are Converse shoes actually good for running?

Converse shoes are not good for running due to the lack of arch support and flat rubber soles. Running in Converse shoes can hurt your feet, cause blisters, and cause misalignments to the entire body, which may lead to posture problems and knee pain.

While the original Chuck Taylors were designed for basketball, they are ironically better suited for walking and casual wear. In this post, we will explore: can you run in Converse?

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Are Converse Shoes Good for Running?

Rocky ran in Converse in the movie, but does it mean you should too?

Let’s explore the most frequently asked questions surrounding Converse and running:

Can you run in Converse shoes?

Technically, you can run in Converse shoes. You can even run barefoot if you want.

However, running or jogging in Converse shoes can hurt your feet because they are very flat shoes and offer minimal arch support or cushioning.

There are Converse shoes made for basketball, which may offer support and cushioning for running. But if you’re talking about the super-popular Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star for running, then it’s probably not the best idea. 

Are Converse good for cardio?

Whether Converse is good for cardio or not depends on what type of cardio you do.

Converse shoes should be fine for equipment-based cardio which are static and do not involve running motions, like a stationary bike or rowing machine.

However, Converse shoes may not be ideal for cardio exercises that involve running motions, like running on the treadmill or using the elliptical machine.

You should have a better time doing cardio while wearing a comfortable and well-cushioned pair of running sneakers. 

Are Converse good for running?

Converse shoes are not good for running because of the lack of arch support. Additionally, the uppers are not as breathable as lightweight running shoes.

Originally, Converse started making basketball shoes in 1917 and redesigned them in 1922, when Chuck Taylor asked the company to create a better shoe with more support and flexibility.

Sure, they were used for court sports like basketball, but that was when well-engineered and advanced athletic sneakers had not been invented.

Here are the reasons why Converse are not the best for running explained in greater detail:

1. Converse shoes lack arch support

One of the biggest reasons why Converse shoes are not good for running is because of the lack of arch support and heel support. Most running shoes will typically have some type of arch support, including a cup-shaped heel.

According to East Ocean Podiatry, lack of arch support may cause misalignments to the entire body, which may lead to back, pelvis, hip, knee, and posture problems.

Most of these problems can be avoided simply by wearing shoes with good arch support.

2. Non-breathable canvas uppers

You already know that running causes sweating. In fact, your feet are going to sweat much more because they have more sweat glands than any other part of your body.

Because of this, runners would need well-ventilated shoes since the feet are going to sweat profusely and produce a lot of moisture while running.

Unfortunately, the upper part of Chuck Taylors is made of canvas, a material that is flexible but not breathable, which may cause the heat to become trapped inside while you run.

You need running shoes made with breathable materials instead. 

3. Chuck Taylors are heavy and tough

Professional runners and athletes place a lot of importance on wearing lightweight running shoes because they can help them run faster.

The more lightweight the shoes are, the quicker your running time is. It helps you make quick direction changes smoothly while reducing fatigue and muscle strain.

Worn-down Converse may be “soft” enough for running, but new ones may take time to break into. They can cause painful blisters when you use them for running too.

Sadly, Converse shoes are made with plenty of gum sole rubber. While they grip surfaces very well, they can weigh a lot more than most lightweight shoes.

In fact, the heavy rubber soles also need time to break into. As a result, you may not run as nimbly, or change directions on a dime, as freely as you would like.

Tough Converse shoes can also cause painful blisters in the heels and the fingers, especially in the pinky toes.

4. The outsole is completely flat

Another reason why Chucks are not ideal for running is because of the flat midsole/outsole.

According to Dr. Monara Dini, doctor of podiatric medicine and associate clinical professor at UC San Francisco, flat shoes like Chuck Taylors are a bad choice for running and jumping because the outsoles are completely flat and do not provide extra support.

That being said, she did mention that Converse shoes can be ideal for weightlifting exercises because the flat surface mimics the posture of being barefoot.

This forces you to use both of your feet to “grip the ground” and remain planted.

5. Lack of heel security

The final reason why Converse is not good for running is because of the lack of heel security.

Running shoes often have a curved, snug fit at the back of the heels to prevent the runner’s heels from sliding out of the shoes while running.

Converse shoes have a completely flat (vertical) heel, which is not optimal for running.

In fact, some of the most advanced running shoes, like the New Balance 880 and 890, have designated heel cups designed to “hug the back of your feet” and secure your feet in place.

With those running shoes, you wouldn’t have to worry about your feet slipping while running.

How bad is it to run in Converse?

To be completely honest, the jury is still out on how bad it is to run in Converse’s shoes.

Everyone has different body types and different foot shapes. Heck, even your left and right foot can be different from each other.

Some may find comfort while running in Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars.

Some will find it excruciating to run in Converse, while some would find solid comfort running in a pair of Converse All-Stars.

In fact, Mark Remy of Runner’s World tried running in Converse shoes back in 2011 and lived to tell the tale. Granted, he only ran about 4 miles, but the run itself was fine.

The Chucks were fine and so were his feet, even the next day.

Given all the attention spent towards “running barefoot”, he commented that Converse shoes are nothing more than a simple and cheap version of minimalist running shoes.

That just goes to show that you can survive running in Converse shoes.

But personally, we would recommend investing in a high-quality pair of running shoes if you are planning to run long-term. Or better yet, we would suggest trying minimalist running shoes.

New Balance Minimus (buy on Amazon) are great minimalist running shoes:

Shoes like the one above, are designed to provide some protection for your feet while offering some of the desirable aspects of barefoot running. Try them out instead of Chucks!

Chucks in other sports:

Final Words

And there you have it, the answer to the question: can you run in Converse shoes or not?

Whether Converse is good for running or not depends on your body type and what type of exercise you do. However, if you are planning to start a running habit, it’s a good idea to invest in a high-quality and well-cushioned pair of running shoes to save your feet from pain.

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