Do you want to know how to take your performance to the next level, how to move faster, lift more and improve your overall performance, with something as simple as what you put on your feet? Read on to see what type of exercise shoes you should be wearing whenever you work out.
You’re already aware that exercise comes in different forms, whether you’re in the gym, lifting weights or outside on the road going for a run, but just how much do you know about the different types of shoes you can wear? And more importantly do know that when it comes to exercise, one size certainly does not fit all and actually, if you’re using one pair of shoes for everything, you could be causing more harm to your body and leading to potential injury?
Well, rest easy, because in this article we are going to tell you why you need different types of shoes for different forms of exercise.
One of the most hotly debated topics for runners everywhere is whether or not you need specialist running shoes.
The support type, foot type, and the individual brand have all come up in discussion and it’s still common to hear someone quote one over the other when trying to decide on running shoes, but in recent times thinking has moved on, namely that the shoes don’t matter as much as you might think and your running technique deserves more of your attention.
The common theme when discussing running shoes is that people want to protect themselves against injuries, to offer themselves more support and for that reason, people are often told to pick their shoes based on their support structure, foot arch or the actual shape of their feet, but this has proved to be wrong.
However, that doesn’t mean you should completely disregard the type of shoe and just pick up any old pair, instead, when picking running shoes you should opt for the ones that are the most comfortable to run in, which offer you more support for your foots preferred movement pattern and that allow your feet to move how they want to, instead of being forced to move in a set pattern, finally the shoes should offer the right amount of cushioning to support your whole foot.
No particular shoe brand is preferred over another, instead, you should focus on the right type of shoe for your foot and not an old beaten up pair that will ultimately lead to injuries.
Cycling shoes have often been regarded as only something ‘serious cyclists’ should wear, but actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth as a good pair of cycling shoes could be more beneficial for you than you think.
Cycling shoes, which typically ‘clip-in’ to the pedals by their cleats, can be a great workout tool for anyone that rides as little as once a week.
Their main benefit is for improved performance, as clip-in cycling shoes help the rider to maximize efficiency, power optimization, and comfort, whilst also playing a big role in minimizing injuries and helping to reduce inflammation around the heel and Achilles.
The main difference between cycling shoes and standard athletic shoes is the rigidness of the sole which acts as a support base to optimize the rider’s performance.
Whereas athletic shoes are more flexible, cycling shoes are designed to keep the feet stiff and rigid; ensuring no performance or power is lost in each pedal stroke.
When it comes to cycling shoes it is also recommended to pick a size or 2 bigger than your actual shoe size, this prevents the toes from bunching up when standing and pedaling.
You might be forgiven for thinking that all gym shoes are the same but often, it’s the small margins that make the most impact and when lifting weights, the right type of shoes could make all the difference.
For occasional gym goers that stick to machines and don’t spend much time on the bigger lifts, weightlifting shoes probably aren’t needed; however, for lifters that are trying to improve their performance in lifts such as the Deadlift, Squat or Olympic lifts, weightlifting shoes could be a great investment.
The main benefit of weightlifting shoes is the raised heel, which can increase the range of motion around the ankle, having a knock-on effect on the ability to go deeper into a squat and support more hip flexion and extension in the Olympic lifts.
They also offer a more stable base from which the lifter can generate more power in their move, leading to bigger and heavier lifts.
Traditional athletic shoes can be too soft, allowing the feet to sink and move too much in the lift, unlike weightlifting shoes, which offer far more support and stability for the user.
Unfortunately, the best way to pick the right type of weightlifting shoe is often through trial and error.
Exercise Class Shoes
Whether Crossfit, HIIT class or an indoor Bootcamp, the right type of training shoes can be make or break, literally.
Although many shoes are advertised as gym shoes, not all are suitable for an exercise class and wearing the wrong type of shoe can increase the risk of injury.
When performing intense, demanding, and multi-faceted workouts you need something that is up to the job, which is why a good pair of cross-training shoes should be worn.
Stability is essential to protect the foot and ankle against the demanding, high-intensity and changeable workouts, whether jumping, running or moving side to side.
Support and fit are also important to ensure the foot is stable and doesn’t move unnecessarily causing ankle turns or injuries and traction should also be considered as the shoe should be able to hold up against fast movements without slipping losing grip.
Any type of cross-training activity requires adaptable shoes that can aide performance and support the user and it’s also worth considering a shoe that can breathe, as the exercise intensity increases.
With the ability to send shockwaves through your entire body, the feet are surprisingly overlooked in favor of new workout shirts or other fitness accessories when it comes to getting the right gear for a training session, but as you can see, the right type of shoe can have a dramatic impact on the person wearing them, whether that be the ability to protect against injury or in most cases, improve performance.
Picking the right shoe requires trial and error, from actually testing your running shoes on a treadmill in the store to lateral movement when purchasing cross-training shoes for class, but once you finally get it right and you find the right shoe for the job, your performance, effectiveness, and protection from injury will all increase.