The footwear you choose could be impacting you far more than you are already considering, and costing your health!
Even for myself, it took me years into my athletic career to finally figure out which type of training shoes were best for me and how I was previously damaging my body with improper shoes!
What are Training Shoes?
Sneakers or training shoes are fundamental tools in sport since they help to prevent injuries and enhance performance. Yet, sometimes they do the opposite of this! The wrong type of training shoes may seriously endanger you during your different training, and they will take away from your goal of building a healthy lifestyle.
Footwear should provide excellent support for your feet, as well as allow you to make the movements necessary in the given activity. To find the best option you will need to explore various brands and reviews.
Just because the best 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.
Effects of Bad Training Footwear Choices
- Tendinitis or inflammation of the Achilles tendon
- Muscle overload
- Muscle strains
- Athlete’s foot
Benefits of Good Training Shoe Choices
- Help to protect the foot from scratches and abrasions.
- Cushion necessary forces between the ground and the foot, properly. Some activities require a large amount of cushion, some very little.
- Reduce the impact of landing on all muscles, joints, and tendons.
- It provides a good grip on different floor surfaces, depending on the sport.
Choosing the Right Training Shoes – Knowing the Material
The materials used for most training sneakers are nylon and plastic. Among them, there are significant differences in ventilation, flexibility, and endurance. The material you choose will have a substantial impact on the ability of your shoe to last you, as well as protect you from injury.
Shoes are often made of nylon-composite mixes, rubber/plastic, and in some cases animal skins. Lighter, more mobile shoes are necessary for most endurance sports, while Olympic weight lifters need grip and stability (some opting for no shoes at all).
The sole can be made of rubber or similar material, which absorbs impacts and loads during support.
Regardless of the material, the shoe needs to have proper adaptability to different movements, so that it does not throw off the general movement-chain and challenge how your body is working.
Choosing the right training equipment can make, or break, your body!
Criteria For Choosing Good Footwear
- It must have a quality foot protective effect.
- A good anatomical basis to suit each template.
- Good material for its parts, like the fabric and sole.
- Effective buffer between the foot and the ground, especially the heel and pressure zones during the transition of forces.
- They are adapted to the characteristics of each sport.
- Adapt to different floor surfaces depending on the sport.
- Bio-mechanical design.
What Training Shoes are Best for You?
You need to bear in mind that after you run a distance of 300 to 500 miles (or 300 hours of aerobic activity), your footwear will lose a large amount of its cushioning material and you will need to replace it. Some shoes can last longer, but this is the general rule for how long you should train in one particular pair of shoes.
At one point in my life, I was forced to change my basketball sneakers every six weeks due to the instability of my foot!
After my second foot surgery, it was necessary for me to make sure my sneakers were not worn down at all while wearing them, and I had to change more frequently than most people should.
Keep reading below to learn about a few different specific types of training shoes!
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.
When running on softer surfaces such as grass, turf, and sand, many runners are now adopting the practice of running without shoes at all! This can be seen as a sort of “fad” as people began doing it to benefit from the natural running position that running without sneakers allows.
While there are many benefits to running without shoes, precautions do need to be taken before attempting this.
If you are running on any form of unstable surface, or where it is possible that something could be stuck directly into your foot, do not run without shoes on.
It will be a very bad idea.
However, if you are on a soft and clean surface, you certainly can benefit from trying this!
There are a lot of good options for running shoes. I personally choose New Balance shoes myself!
In order to prevent foot fatigue, footwear for aerobic conditioning should be lightweight and provide extra shock absorption for the metatarsal area (it is the most stressed area).
Along with the footwear being light and cushioning, it is also essential to make sure that the shoes support your arches enough. Undo-arch stress can be dangerous to your metatarsals (as I found out) and needs to be carefully monitored.
With cross trainers, you will be able to perform several sports activities because they combine several features that make them flexible and save you the stress of choosing that right kind of footwear for you.
Cross training shoes should effectively be stable enough for forms of running, while also lightweight and breathable. Cross training shoes generally have an even amount of cushion, support, and flexibility. Similar to runners, many athletes are opting to go shoe-less for other anaerobic and aerobic exercises.
Specifically, squats and deadlift without training shoes can allow you to feel more comfortable creating a force between you and the ground, allowing you to lift heavier weights. The drawback to this is that if the natural heel-lift of most shoes is taken away, your ankle flexibility may suffer.
However, this also shoes weak-links in how you have been training your body, and is a useful tool for holding yourself accountable!
Should You Use Insoles for Running?
The most sensitive part of an athlete’s body is their feet being as the largest amount of effort is provided by the interface between the feet and the shoes.
Whether you are walking, running or jumping, the feet and ankles provide the propulsion, this causes stresses that due to the vibration shock wave, and the entire body may be impacted.
Changes in certain foot variables are caused by long term running, for example the foot’s arch may become flattened. These changes are probably due to foot stabilizer muscles becoming fatigued, this is why using cushioned and corrective insoles during sports is a good idea, even for feet that in rest and static conditions are considered normal.
Why Should Cushioning Material Be Used in Your Insoles for Running?
According to physics, when the amplitude of the vibrations caused by hard impacts is reduced by a material, it is considered a cushioning.
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.
As a matter of fact, when the heel makes contact with the ground and abrupt deceleration is caused which generates a shock wave.
Your Body’s Natural Cushioning System
- The joint and the joints cartilages.
- Resilient can cushioning properties are combined by the plantar pad.
- The anatomy and architecture of the feet when they switch from supination to pronation, referred to by doctors as varus/valgus.
- Our muscles as well as our proprioceptive muscular system.
- Lack of excessive weight and out overall flexibility.
Were you aware that an essential component of walking as well as running is pronosupination, it has three functions which are:
- To provide an energy recovering action
- To compensate for any disorders in the lower limbs
- To help absorb the shock wave and stabilize your stride
However, be careful, in order to avoid pathological under pronation (supination) or over pronation of the foot proprioceptive balance is required.
Do You Have a Pronator, Supinator, or Neutral Foot?
Look over the wear on a pair of your training shoes that you purchased at least a year ago and have used for over one thousand kilometres of walking and running. If the soles are worn on the inner sides, and the heel sole is worn along the side than what you are dealing with is over pronation.
If however the outer side of the sole is worn, what you are dealing with is under pronation (supination). If you have a centralized wear pattern, then you have a neutral pronation.
What Can Be Done With Over Pronation?
Wear on the distorted shoe stiffener and a pattern along the inner edge of your sole. This is common amongst many runners so there’s no need to panic, however a technical solution could be provided with a podiatric examination that includes stride analysis.
Our recommendation is that you purchase running shoes, remove the original sole and inset an appropriate insole, such as these from Powerstep, in the shoe; this would not be recommended however in the case of a pathological over pronation that a sports podiatrist has confirmed.
The risk here would be a condition that is known as “runner’s tendinopathy,” for example tendinitis or periostitis. You could also run the risk of experiencing a stress fracture.
What Can Be Done With Under Pronation (Supination)?
When the wear of the stiffener is toward the outer side as well as toward the outer side of the forefoot.
This is less common, only ten percent of runners suffer from this; it is seen more in football players. It is recommended that you wear neutral shoes with comfort insoles that are removable, this way you can switch them with podiatrist made heat molded insoles.
It is possible to experience tendinopathies, for example lateral peroneal tendonitis, however what is experienced mots is knee pains and there is a risk of developing osteoarthritis.
When running, the foot/shoe interface is used extensively.
After you seek verified technical advice or the advice of a podiatrist, the use of insoles will reduce the risk of being injured as well as most chronic conditions such as periostitis or tendonitis by optimizing the capacity of the muscles for reduced fatigue and increased performance.
Concluding Thoughts – Choosing a Good Pair of Training Shoes
The quality of your training and comfort of your footwear dramatically contributes to your performance in any sports activity.
I personally needed to go through two-foot surgeries before I understood what I can, and cannot train in.
Following my second surgery, I have been far more careful about which types of shoes I will allow myself even to walk in!
After finally finding the right style and feel of training shoe, I have become healthy and pain-free in my feet! Following these rules will without-a-doubt help you determine which training shoes are right for you, and keep your feet happy and healthy!