Having great sport shoes can be the difference between achievement and injury. Choose the wrong pair and you could end up lying on the couch nursing an aching knee instead of enjoying your favourite sports. Whether you have a passion for running, cycling, or fitness classes from your local gym, choosing the right shoe for your activity will help you to increase your performance and reduce the risks of injuries. Be ahead of the game and learn what type of shoe is best for you with these tips.
Your move, your shoe
First determine which activity or type training you will be mainly doing. Will you be mostly working out in the gym, cycling, running outdoors or doing a bit of everything? Will you need mobility for high intensity training, or a stable base for weight lifting?
Once you’ve identified what kind of activity you’ll be wearing your trainers the most, you can narrow down your choices.
You’re doing a broad mix of activities
If you’re doing a bit of everything and just need an all-rounder pair that will do all your gym activities, then you’re best to wear a cross trainer shoe with non-marking outsoles. This will provide stability and shock absorption for your HIIT, Body Pump or spinning classes.
You can find good all-rounder cross trainers with Adidas, New Balance or Reebok.
You have a specific training programme
If your programme involves a combination of strength training with weight lifting and regular cardio sessions, then it’s probably worth investing in a shoe specific to both workouts and changing your footwear depending on your workout.
Weight lifting is your priority
If you’re getting serious with Olympic-style lifts, it’s well worth investing in a proper pair of weight lifting shoes for stability and powerful lifts.
Look for shoes with a stable base and a raised heel with hard and dense soles. This will allow better ankle mobility and posture so you can squat deeper and get stronger.
Weight lifting shoes are less mobile and have less shock absorption, therefore it is best not to use them for other gym activities.
You live for cycling or spinning
If you are spending most of your time blazing through the mountains or riding in your local spin class, cycling shoes can be a worthwhile investment. These will give you a more powerful workout by allowing you to transfer more energy from your pedal stroke to the bike.
Cycling and spinning shoes are typically both lightweight and stiff to keep your feet secure. The main difference between them are the types of cleats they use. Most spin bikes use SPD cleats so if you do both activities it may be worth having two pairs or you may have to swap the cleat every time.
You are a regular runner
If your terrain is the flat plain of the streets and city parks, you’ll need a running specific shoe to properly support and protect your feet and your lower body muscles.
The type of running shoe you’ll need will depend on your running style, which can be determined by your level of pronation.
So, it’s helpful to know whether you’re a neutral runner, an overpronator, or an underpronator. You can find this out in this article.
A few things to remember before you buy your new footwear:
- High cost is not a guarantee of performance. Buying expensive and fashionable running shoes may not protect you from injuries better than more affordable ones. If you buy online, do your research, look at reviews and always make sure they suit your foot type and your activity.
- Later is better. By the end of the day, feet tend to get more flattened and swollen. This is the best time to try shoes on and ensure that they are not too small for you.
- Size matters. Improperly sized shoes can cause some painful, not-so-attractive stuff like blisters, bruises and bunions. To avoid this, just check that there is enough room in the front of the shoes so that you can wiggle your toes.
- Everything has an end. Including your sport shoes. Don’t be scared to ditch them after they’ve done their time. Foot experts usually recommend to replace shoes after about 350-400 miles of use. If you’ve lost track of your usage, just check the back of the sole. If it is worn out or your shoe feels less supportive, then it’s time to go shopping.