Did you know that selecting the appropriate shoe for your workout can make a major difference in performance, comfort, and preventing injuries?
That’s right. When shopping for workout shoes, one sneaker doesn’t fit all. Choosing the wrong shoe can lead to shin splints, back pain, knee pain, and even numbness in your feet, according to podiatrists (i.e. foot doctors).
Here’s what you should look for based on your workout preferences:
If you’re lacing up your sneakers for a run, be sure they have built-in stability, cushion, and motion control—but in the right areas. When you run, the ball of your foot strikes the ground first. This requires more cushion in this area to absorb shock and prevent injuries.
Look for light-weight running-specific shoes that have stiffer heels and appropriate arch support. Getting a gait analysis from a fitness expert can help you select the best shoe for you.
Depending on your choice of cycling surface—trail, road, or spinning—you’ll require a different shoe. The best shoes for cycling have moderate to hard soles that allow your feet to remain on the pedals. These shoes should also be breathable and decrease any strain on the balls of the feet.
Hiking shoes require heavily-treaded outsoles with good support and stability to prevent falls on rugged terrain. These shoes often have stiff, wider toe boxes that protect toes from impact against rocks. Hiking shoes should also be mid to high-cut in breathable and waterproof materials.
Shoes for weight-lifting typically have thin soles (think Converse) and flat bottoms. However, if you are strength-training in addition to performing other causal sports, a good cross-trainer may be appropriate as well. These provide decent cushion and stability for activities like aerobics, basketball, and light jogging.
Selecting the correct type of shoes is important, but so is choosing the correct fit. Overall, you’re searching for the right comfort level and optimal performance based on your chosen activity. Make sure the next time you purchase workout shoes you speak with a trained fitness professional who can guide you in making the right choice.