How To Choose The Best Workout Shoes

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November 1, 2019

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How often do you evaluate whether your sneakers are right for you? Sometimes just making time for fitness can be a struggle, let alone worrying about the state of your workout shoes.

Choosing a pair can sometimes come down based on style or price, without much thought as to what the shoes can do for your body while you're working out. And over time, your shoes can become worn and offer less traction, support and cushioning.

So how do you know if you need a new pair of shoes, and what should you be looking for if you do? Choosing the right workout shoes doesn’t have to be difficult — but it pays to have an understanding of the advantages of training shoe features, how to get the most longevity out of them and how they can benefit your workouts.

What to look for in workout shoes 

With a huge range of workout shoes on the market, it’s easy to be overwhelmed when selecting the right pair. 

For each different style of exercise, there's a type of shoe that gives the best stability.

Here are some key factors to consider to ensure you get the right fit every time.

Find the right style for your training

You might wear the same pair of shoes for cardio and weight training, but selecting a training shoe specific to your training style can actually help you to get more out of your workouts.

Owning a pair of gym training shoes can extend the life of your running shoes because you use the latter less often. They're often designed differently too — for instance, shoes for weight training can have a raised heel, which assists with body positioning at the bottom of a squat

A pair of shoes designed for gym-based training can provide you with more support for your joints and muscles, as well as greater stability. 

Gym training shoes may also be flatter than a pair of running shoes. This allows your feet to be closer to the ground and covering more surface area which assists with better balance. 

When selecting a running shoe, you will find these sneakers are often designed to provide more arch and ankle support for the high impact movements of a long-distance run or a HIIT workout

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Choosing the perfect fit

The right training shoe comes down to more than just selecting your typical shoe size. 

When considering a running shoe you should ensure there is some “wiggle room” when the shoe is on and that your feet have enough room to move back and forth — this is known as “toe splay”. If you don’t allow for extra room you may find discomfort in your feet when running, especially during long-distance runs. 

When selecting a gym training shoe, you should find a pair that fits as well as possible, with little “wiggle room”. As weight training requires as much support in your base as possible, the need for a tightly supportive shoe is necessary. 

If you can’t find a perfectly fitting sneaker, ensure your laces are tight and your foot doesn’t feel like it is unstable. 

Get to know the specifics

While style and fit are really important when selecting the right workout shoes, there are other factors that are important to consider. 

These specific features are different with every shoe and will vary in importance depending on your feet and the type of training.

It is important to know what these terms mean when selecting a shoe: 

  • Traction:This feature allows for grip in a workout shoe, which is great for sports that are stop/start and require you to come to a stop quickly and without injury. Traction is essential for running shoes, especially when running in the weather. This is not as essential for weight training shoes, as many exercises are stationary. 

  • Cushioning:An essential feature of a running shoe, cushioning ensures the feet are comfortable while performing high-impact exercises. Having this support while training can assist with muscle recovery, ensuring less injury throughout the workout. 

  • Stability:This feature is an all-round essential in a workout shoe. With greater stability comes a lowered risk for injury. When running, stability is required to prevent injury while moving at pace. For weight training, this stability ensures more security when performing movements like deadlifts and squats. 

  • Shock absorbency:This feature is designed to dissipate the high volume of kinetic energy that enters your body with every step. Dissipating this energy reduces the impact felt in our muscles and joints — this is particularly important for running shoes. 

Knowing more about these features will ensure you’re an educated shopper when you select your new pair of workout shoes. 

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Try before you buy 

Taking the time in-store to try on sneakers and discuss their features with shop assistants will allow you to decide whether the shoe is right for you. Be sure to pick a pair that suits the style of your Sweat program

Don’t be afraid to do your research and ask around before you make the commitment to a new pair! 

What are your tips for picking the right workout shoe? Comment below!

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A more empowered you starts with Sweat, and our editorial team is here to bring you the latest fitness tips, trainer recommendations, wellbeing news, nutritional advice, nourishing recipes and free workouts.

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.


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