Picking the Right Shoe for Your Workouts
With the holidays coming up, training footwear is often on the list of exercise enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for something for a friend or family member, or just want to treat yourself to some new training shoes, the next few weeks are AWESOME for great deals. But what shoe should you get for how you train?
Well-fitting shoes give you the support and comfort you need while you’re working out and can be a huge factor in eliminating unnecessary impact on your ankles and knees. While standard sneakers are certainly great and get the job done, I am going to dive into why different types of shoes for different types of exercise can take your workouts to the next level. You may even be surprised by the wide variety of what the footwear world has to offer! For each shoe style I discuss, the other SST coaches and I have included links to some of our favorite brands and models (some of which already offering Black Friday deals!)
If you enjoy running, investing in running shoes can improve performance by offering foot stability and cushion in the right places. These types of shoes are designed to work with your gait and how your foot naturally strikes the ground on each stride. In general, these shoes tend to be a little squishier than cross trainers or lifters (We’ll talk about those in a bit!) This allows the shoe to absorb more of the shock from the high impact and ground force production that comes with longer distance running. Some examples of these types of shoes include Brooks, Asics, Mizunos, and New Balances. Due to the nature of the activity, running shoes do tend to wear down fast. However, I used to train a client that was an avid runner, and she had a great system to mitigate fast wear and tear. In order to preserve her shoes longer, she invested in several high quality pairs and wore them on rotation. This helped preserve the life of her shoes longer and prevented her from purchasing them as frequently.
Here are our favorite running shoes:
When it comes to any form of lifting weights, particularly with a barbell where you will be placed under heavy load, lifters are your best friend. This is really just a colloquial catch all term that I use for my weightlifting shoes because saying “weightlifting shoes” gets tedious quickly and I love a good shortcut. Anyways, these shoes work well for strength athletes of all types, from the Olympic Weightlifter to the Strongman to the Powerlifter. Even if you do not compete in any of those sports, if you incorporate exercises such as a barbell squat consistently, you can benefit from these shoes. Lifters have an elevated heel wedge built into the shoe that allows for extra connection to the ground and a higher degree of ankle dorsiflexion. If you are performing something such as a heavy squat, having both of those features will allow you to really get some extra stability and more of an upright posture as you push through the movement. The bottoms are completely flat and inflexible by design, so please don’t try running in them! Examples of lifting shoes include Reebok Legacy Lifters, Adidas Powerlifts, Velaasas, and Pendlays. If anyone is curious I personally use Velaasas after entering and winning a giveaway for child’s size Weightlifting shoes (yes they fit, yes I love them, no I will never give them up). Although typically very expensive, these shoes will last a very very long time if cared for properly.
Same as Delaney, Adidas Powerlifts! (I’ve had them for YEARS and love them)
For those of you that are interested in a more broad training approach that pulls elements from cardiovascular training, weight lifting, plyometric training, and everything in between (you know, kinda like STRAIGHT SHOT!), cross trainers are your friend. These kinds of shoes are a bit more rigid than a running shoe, but more flexible than a lifting shoe (plus little to no raised-heel), hence the name! This is what most people think of when they picture exercise shoes. They are great for a huge variety of exercises and offer great support while keeping some flexibility in various directions. If you are one of my clients and you are reading this, chances are very good you fall into this category here! Nike, Reebok, and Adidas are all examples of companies that make a wide variety of cross training shoes. If you’re doing a mix of heavier strength work and circuit conditioning, NoBull, Nike Metcons, and Inov8 make great shoes specifically for this type of training, however they can be pricey. Cross training shoes generally last about the normal time a standard sneaker would, so roughly a year depending on how much use you get out of them.
As this week goes on, new deals are popping up and certain sites are going out of stock or adding new stock of certain sizes, so your best bet is to Google each of our recommendations along with “Black Friday deal” or “sale” and find what site has your favorite style in your size and has the best day. Make sure you find a site that has a good return policy (especially if buying for someone else), as shoes can range in the actual fit for each brand, style, and size.
Finally, much like your favorite Thanksgiving side (shout out mac & cheese!...yes, it’s a Thanksgiving side!), shoe preference is completely individual. Use this blog as a general guide, but you need to find what works best for your body, your workouts, and even your budget. Hopefully the holiday deals can take care of that last part though, so you can get training with your new footwear, and maybe even set a few PR’s thanks to wearing the right shoe!
Be sure to share this article with your family and friends and maybe subtly hint at which shoe might be on your wishlist ;)