With the growing development of interest in exercising among the general public, footwear and types of workout shoes has advanced tremendously over the past two decades. Depending on your favorite type of exercise, there is likely a workout shoe which will make a huge difference for you and your feet.
Your workout shoes should provide excellent support for your feet, as well as allow you to make the movements necessary in the given activity. Just because Nike shoes are the most popular shoe brand in the world, it does not mean it will work best and be most comfortable for you.
My friend Mike Brosseau is a strong example. At 6’3, he stands tall with flat feet, requiring additional support. This impacts his brand and style choice.
Even for myself, it took me years into my athletic career to figure out which type of workouts shoes were best for me and how I was previously harming my body with improper shoes.
Keep reading below to find out what type of workout shoes are available, and my suggestions on the best workout shoes for each type of exercise.
What Happens When You Use the Wrong Workout Shoes?
If you don’t choose the best workout shoes for the type of workout you are going to be doing, not only will you perform under your maximum ability, but you risk several types of injuries. A few of the common injuries you can sustain from wearing the wrong workout shoes include:
- Tendinitis or Inflammation of the Achilles Tendon
- Muscle Overload
- Muscle Strains
- Athletes Foot
Types of Workout Shoes to Choose From
There are many different types of workout shoes to choose from, depending on the type of exercise you are going to be doing.
Choosing the right workout shoes can have a significant impact on your feet and your entire body. For starters, the proper workout shoes will provide enough cushion between the ground and the foot. Since some activities require a large amount of cushion, and some very little, it is important you choose the proper style.
Along with that, the right workout shoes will reduce the impact of landing on all of your muscles, joints, and tendons. You’d be surprised how much choosing the right pair of workout shoes can effect issues such as jumpers knee.
Lastly, choosing the right pair of workout shoes will provide the right type of grip on different floor surfaces, depending on the sport or activity.
A few of the most common types of workout shoes are:
The Best Training Shoes
Training shoes are great because you can use them for a variety of different workouts. For example, the best cross-fit shoes for women or men can also be used as shoes for Insanity workouts, strength training workouts or Olympic weightlifting.
According to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine,
“No longer called “cross trainers” or “aerobics shoes,” training shoes are a category of footwear designed to provide protection for a variety of fitness activities. This class of footwear is suitable for weightlifting, a variety fitness classes, some racquet sports and overall use at the health club. Training shoes provide cushioning as well as varying levels of stability devices to protect the feet and ankles. Training shoes are the jack-of-all-trades so they work well in a variety of activities but if you participate in one particular sport such as running or basketball, more than 2 times per week then you should have a sport-specific shoe for that as well.”
According to Brian Bradshaw of Boot Bomb, training shoes have rigid metatarsal support (side to side support). Secondly, these shoes won’t have a lot of heel cushioning, contrary to running shoes. These shoes are lightweight and are perfect for a variety of exercises.
“Cross trainers sustain pressure when you run and provide ample cushioning to the entire foot to keep you comfortable regardless of the exercise you’ve chosen,” he adds.
My favorite training shoes are the New Balance Minimus.
The most popular training shoe is the Nike MetCon, however, after using both, I preferred the New Balance Minimus. The biggest difference to me is the Vibram sole of the New Balance Minimus, which was much more comfortable to me. Also, the New Balance Minimus is a more affordable option.
The Best Running Shoes
The best running shoes are the ones that fit your feet perfectly.
For that you need to understand the structure of your foot first. For example, whether you’re flat footed or high arched. To determine that, you can do a wet test on brown paper or analyze the inner sole of a frequently worn pair.
If you’ve got flat feet, the perfect running shoes should have motion control since your foot is more prone to rolling inwards. If however, you’re not flat footed, then your arches would be high – allowing your feet to roll outwards. A shoe with a soft mid-sole and cushioning on the sides will suffice for high arched feet.
When the amplitude of the vibrations caused by hard impacts is reduced by a material, it is considered a cushioning. Good running footwear should be able to provide you with shock absorption for your foot, and also provide you with good heel control. This is necessary to prevent heel pain, stress fractures, and shin splints.
As you run, a shock wave is generated by your stride every time your foot comes in contact with the ground, this wave then spreads up to the occiput (back of your head) through the skeleton, therefore it is the opinion of certain doctors and biomechanics that there should be cushioning.
Wearing the right pair of shoes can prevent plantar fasciitis as well as bruises on the padding areas of your feet. For examples of the best types of shoes for reducing the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, click on this link.
My favorite running shoe is the Nike Pegasus. There are now multiple different Nike Pegasus options (34, 35, 36), but I actually prefer the 34 still. The Nike Pegasus 34 is an affordable running shoe for men or women, and I have been happy using them for years. Compared to the other models, the Pegaus 34 is a bit wider, and also it is more affordable now.
The Best Weightlifting Shoes
Weightlifting shoes are different from running shoes in the sense that when one lift weights, one needs to have a flat grip on the ground.
It has been well-documented that shoes that have too much cushioning on the bottom of them can cause you to produce less force during lower body lifts such as the squat and deadlift. If you believe that these two movements, or other “power” movements for the lower body will be important in your training program; it is wise to choose a shoe with a firmer bottom so you do not lose power on your lifts.
Running shoes are equipped with cushioning to absorb the impact incurred with every step, but reliable bodybuilding shoes should have a raised heel allowing you to squat deeper and be in a more upright sitting position.
This is made possible by an increased ankle range of motion.
As stated by a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,
“Wearing weightlifting (WL) shoes seems to be beneficial in reducing the overall trunk lean, because this position is believed to reduce the amount of shear stress in the lower back area. Back squat with WL shoes also increased foot segment angle and possibly contributes to greater muscle excitation in knee extensors. Weightlifting shoes did not help reach thigh segment closer to horizontal as compared with the running shoe condition. It is recommended that WL shoes be used by those who are prone to displaying a forward trunk lean and who aim to increase knee extensor activation.”
Most people also find flat soled shoes perfectly alright for the purpose, but one needs to see what suits them best. If you have a pair of barefoot running styled shoes, they will also work.
Personally, I still prefer the New Balance Minimus for weight lifting. However, the most affordale option is a pair of Chuck Taylor’s. People throughout the country still lift in traditional Converse’s! It is a cheap and effective option.
The Best Cycling Shoes
Cycling shoes can be expensive, but if you’re religiously sticking to your cycling schedule, then investing in a pair of cycling shoes might not be a bad idea.
The most important thing to look for in biking shoes is that they hold your feet in place so that you don’t slip off pedals. Good biking shoes are stiff to the feet in order to prevent cramping.
Some cycling shoes also come with clipless pedals, which allow stream-less transfer of energy and power. This gives you better control of the pedal making you feel like you’ve got every push and pull of the stroke under control.
Although cycling shoes are available in laces and straps, straps are always preferred over laces since they offer quick closure and stay securely tight.
Also, you may need different cycling shoes whether you are going to be using a spin bike, a city bike, or a mountain bike. If you are looking for cycling shoes that are great for spin bikes and city bikes, I suggest these Tommaso Cycling Shoes:
Concluding Thoughts – The Best Workout Shoes for Your Training Sessions
If you follow these tips and purchase the best workout shoes for your type of training, I am confident you will quickly notice an improvement in how your feet and whole body feel.
Whether you enjoy running long distances or you need everyday training shoes, you need to choose the proper sneakers. A good pair of shoes like from the ASICS store in Australia will ensure that you are keeping your feet healthy for years to come.
One last suggestion that I have to offer is that you should buy insoles or custom orthotics for your shoes. I have used custom orthotics since I fractured my 5th metatarsul (Jones Fracure) in my Freshman year of college. All you have to do is take out the original insole and inset an appropriate insole, such as these from Powerstep, in the shoe, and your feet will notice another huge difference. Custom orthotics are better than general ones, but using any premium insole will make a huge difference for your feet!
If you use the advice above to choose your next pair of shoes for working out in, I am confident you will see that the best workout shoes can make a huge difference in your life!