There is no “one perfect fitness shoe” for all types of exercises. Primarily you should check the size, arch support, firmness of the front part, and heel of the shoe. But your main focus should be on the kind of exercise that you will be performing. And then look for the shoe containing the features to conduct that exercise properly and safely.
What Should You Look for When Purchasing a Pair of Fitness Shoes?
Different types of shoes are created for different categories of exercises. Shoes that are best for running might turn out to be the worst for weight lifting. Therefore, the shoes that you will purchase should rely on your preferred exercises.
However, there are some common things that you should look for before buying a pair of fitness shoes. So let us go through those properties first.
The comfort of your shoes depends on choosing the correct size. Buying the wrong size of shoes may lead to various problems like pain in the feet, imbalance, and foot deformities like calluses, hammertoe, etc. If you are not sure about the size of your shoes you should measure the shoe size before making a purchase.
You should have additional room inside the shoe so that you can move your toe easily. Moreover, one thing that you should check before purchasing is the space between your longest toe and the edge of the shoe. The gap should not be more than the width of your thumb.
Arch support is inserted inside the shoe to protect the arch of your foot from pain and discomfort. It is really important for keeping your balance. So, you should look for shoes that contain the proper arch support for your arch type. This helps reduce the pressure on your toe.
Additionally, it will also give extra support to your body by maintaining balance and stability. Arch support helps decrease the pain caused during exercise. There are different arch supports for different types of arches like a low arch, medium arch, high arch, etc. You have to carefully determine yours.
You should check out the flexibility of the front before purchasing the shoes. The front should be firm and non-flexible to give you support while exercising. If you try to bend the front, then only the part to where your toes go should bend. If it bends till the middle then your shoe will not be able to give you the support.
The heels of your shoes should be firm so that it gives you a better grip. What you can do to test the stiffness of your heel is to push the heel forward. Now, see if the end bends inwards or not. If it does then the heel is not firm enough to give you a strong grip.
Also, the heel should have a tight fit. And your heel should not slip while walking.
Fitness shoes are not like boots, they do not require break-in periods. Hence, as soon as you put them on you should feel comfortable and at ease. If you face discomfort or stiffness then you probably have the wrong size of shoes.
Fitness Shoes for Different Types of Exercise
Now let us get down to the most important step for purchasing fitness shoes. And that is determining your type of exercise. Every category of exercise requires specific characteristics for the shoes with which the exercises will be performed. If you fail to choose the proper shoe, it may lead to severe injuries.
Thus, have a look at the attributes for buying the perfect kind of shoe for your workout.
The cushion is the most important part of running shoes. Without the cushion, the shoes will be unable to give your toe proper protection. As you are hitting the ground while running, you are putting immense force on your toes. Without a thick cushion, the force or shock will hit your toe directly which can cause injuries.
In addition, running shoes must include traction soles. Normally traction soles in running shoes provide a unidirectional resistance. As the traction sole provides a firm grip and resistance, it prevents slipping and falling. Running shoes also rely on your running gait, so choose shoes with patterns according to your pronation.
Strength training shoes should generally consist of the opposite properties of running shoes. There should not be a cushion in the shoe. The shoe should not possess shock-absorbing features. Because this feature can lead to instability and imbalance during weight-lifting as the toe will have more room to wiggle.
Some strength training shoes come with mid-foot straps that contribute to more stability. The soles should be comparatively harder and denser with raised heels possessing high density.
Cross-training shoes are supposed to be firm and strong. They might have a little cushioning as these shoes should be more shock-absorbing than strength training shoes.
Furthermore, the traction sole of cross-training shoes should provide resistance in multi-directions. There should be resistance on the lateral sides well, as cross-training involves movements in multi-directions.
Court sports like tennis, badminton, volleyball, etc. may require different kinds of shoes. However, all of them share some basic properties. The major feature is to be able to move in lateral directions easily. Because these sports include a lot of side-to-side movements.
Also, these shoes should have non-marking soles. This is done to prevent any mess that can be caused to the field.
Best Shoe Brands for Different Types of Exercises
Considering the different requirements for different exercises, some of the best fitness shoe brands for different exercises are listed below.
- Running: HOKA, Brooks, Saucony
- Strength Training: Reebok, Adidas, Nike
- Cross Training: Under Armour, Reebok, Altra
- Court Sports: Asics, Nike, K-Swiss
Q: What is the difference between running and training shoes?
Ans: The main difference is that running shoes provide heel-to-toe motion. Whereas, training shoes require movement in lateral directions as well. So they are built to move in multi-direction.
Q: Are running or training shoes better for walking?
Ans: Training shoes are not a good option for walking. A wiser decision would be choosing a more flexible and lightweight shoe. However, running shoes can be considered a viable option.
Q: What shoe brands have the best arch support?
Ans: There are many brands out there providing good arch support. For instance, Sovella, Aetrex, HOKA, Brooks, etc.
Make sure to wear proper socks for the chosen shoe while purchasing fitness shoes. A pair of socks can affect the performance of a pair of fitness shoes. You should ask for help from an experienced person if you are a beginner. Because choosing the right shoe for your exercise is a very crucial and sensitive matter.