The most important pieces of workout kit are your trainers. Think about it…. if there’s something wrong with your feet you’ll struggle to workout.
Trainers are specialised to activities, so wearing the right shoes for your specific activity will make your workouts safer, easier and more comfortable. Here’s my guide to choosing the right trainers:
Cross trainers have been developed to be worn for a variety of activities – you can wear them at the gym and from fitness classes and weightlifting to jogging.
They should provide cushioning throughout the shoe to absorb shock and support to the arch of your foot where the force is heaviest. The sole of a cross trainer is distinctively wide and stable. It is built to expand beyond the width of the upper part of the shoe. They offer more tread than a running shoe and the width provides support for lateral movement. Cross trainers are also built up around the ankle to provide support for forward and lateral movement. They would be ok for running or using on a court on an occasional basis, but any more than that and you really should buy the shoes intended for your chosen sport.
There’s two main considerations when choosing running shoes – your gait and how much shock absorption you need. Gait describes how you run and how your foot hits the ground.
Run on the inside of your feet – you’re a pronator.
Run on the outside of your feet – you’re a supinator.
If your foot fall is neither – you’re neutral.
Running shoes are designed to counteract over pronation or over supination and make you run using a more neutral foot fall. A good sports shop will be able to identify your foot fall. You’ll also need a cushioning shoe designed to absorb impact. Every step you take shoots a shock load through your foot, so minimising this helps to reduce your risk of suffering problems like sore shins and knee pain. Running shoes are not really suitable for sudden lateral movements as they are meant for forward motion only and do not offer the support that a cross trainer or court shoe does.
Basketball, squash, badminton and tennis are demanding sports which means that a pair of running shoes is not your best choice of footwear. Court sports involve a lot of explosive side-to-side movements which means a running shoe would be unstable. Court sports shoes are supportive and designed to move in all directions. While there are different shoes for each court sport, they have similar properties and you could, for example, wear tennis shoes for other court-based sports.
Walking shoes need to offer a combination of support and cushioning and also a degree of protection for when the going gets rough. While you can get walking shoes, they do not offer any real ankle support or protection. So, if you are going off the beaten track and into the wilds, boots are a better option.
Once you’ve chosen the type of shoe, the key thing to remember is that fit is everything. Too tight and you’ll damage your toenails; too loose and your feet will slip inside the shoe causing blisters. If your choice of shoe does not feel instantly comfortable when you put them on, move on to the next pair.
Katie TomkinsTags: Footwear, Personal training, running, shoes, Trainers