If you hit your workouts hard, and are determined to get the most out of every sweat fest, you might want to rethink your shoes.
No, this isn't a marketing ploy. Think about it. What your foot is doing during workouts, is crazy different based on the exercise. In fact, for the majority of exercises your feet are the only thing that consistently hits the ground. Whether it's a long run, air squats, or box jumps—shoes matter.
Yes, You Really Need Different Shoes for Each Workout
The perfect shoe gave Cinderella a one-up on life and for fitness addicts, choosing the right shoes may be just what you need to get more out of your workout. But why does it matter? Would you train for a marathon in stilettos or hike in flip flops (please say no)? Of course not.
Unfortunately, the importance of different shoes for each workout is often overlooked, even by seasoned gym goers. But the truth is, you need a shoe that's going to support whatever is happening at the foot level during each activity.
Choosing the Correct Shoe for Your Workout
While each person is different, here are a few baselines for choosing the correct shoe for your workout.
- Running. If there was ever a time to hand over the credit card, it's for running sneaks. Running shoes are heavy on both support and cushioning, critical for correcting overpronation (rolling your foot inward when landing) and reducing the amount of impact on your joints.
A large price point isn't always indicative of the right shoe for you. When I decided to run my first half marathon I bought Saucony Kinvaras because they were all the rage in the running world. After 20 miles of pain I ditched them. It wasn't until I went to a pro shoe shop and had my gait analyzed that I realized that while the Kinvara is an awesome shoe, it was the worst possible shoe for me. The lesson? Don't assume, have a pro weigh in.
What do I run in these days? The Asics GT-3000. In fact, it's what I've relied on for the past ten years and thousands of miles.
- Cross Training. If you're into HIIT, group fitness classes, and a trip to the gym that includes a mix of the elliptical and throwing around a few dumbbells, a cross training shoe is likely the perfect fit for you. Cross-trainers offer a little bit of everything. They provide medium stability when moving in all directions and since they're not as soft as running shoes, you can lift in them. Asics makes a great little trainer for around $80 bucks.
- CrossFit & Olympic Weight Lifting. Weight lifting shoes offer the most amount of stability and support on the market. These shoes are designed to keep you as close to the floor as possible, helping you transfer all your muscle force through the ground. If you're wearing soft shoes, like runners, while squatting, the padding will absorb some of the force you are trying to put into the ground to complete the movement. No bueno. Crossfitters swear by Reebok's Nano. It might be the just the shoe you've been looking for.
Whatever shoe you choose just remember it's not a one size fits all. Just because a style is popular or everyone at your box or gym is wearing it, doesn't mean it's the shoe for you. Research, utilize a pro, and be willing to invest in your treads. Shoes are a necessary tool for reaching new gains and preventing injury.
Want the 411 on fitness products I swear by? Check out this post!
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