There are A LOT of types of gym shoes out there. In fact, walking into your nearest Totalsports – or a similar sporting goods shop – can be quite intimidating because of all the different types of shoes on offer. It can be quite challenging to know where to start!
If you’ve ever done some hectic training miles on the treadmill and been in pain or developed shin splints, you might’ve wondered if your shoes were cut out for the job. Reliable shoes are definitely better than others for various types of exercises such as weight-lifting, plyometrics and machine cardio. There are three main types of shoes gym-goers should be aware of and consider wearing. These are:
- Cross-training shoes,
- Weight-lifting shoes, and
- Running shoes.
What are cross training shoes?
Cross training shoes are an amalgamation of a number of different types of athletic footwear. These types of shoes may have the:
- Heel cushioning of a running shoe,
- Lateral stability of a tennis shoe or a shoe used for basketball, and
- Forefoot cushioning of a shoe used for volleyball.
These shoes may be made of all leather-type materials. Alternatively, they be made of flexible materials – like a running shoe – around the toe or sides. The plus factors of a cross-training shoe is that the shoe is versatile enough to be used for various activities and by those who participate in different activities but do not specialise in one.
What are weight-lifting shoes?
Weight-lifting shoes provide the competitive weight-lifter, at any competition level, with added performance in order to assist them be the best they can be.
Weight lifting shoes offer key benefits over running shoes or cross-trainers. As ensuring your footing is stable – and will not slip – is one of the most important things that a weight lifter can do in order to raise the bar.
Weight lifting shoes are made with stability in mind. Usually they use a weight-distribution plate to ensure you keep your balance. Weight lifting shoes should offer secure lock down that keeps the shoe tightly against your foot. A design with increased heel support is ideal when it comes to choosing weight-lifting shoes.
In addition to traditional weight lifting shoes, the minimalist, or barefoot, design training shoes are another option for weight lifters looking to maximise the effects of using the body’s natural ability to support itself.
The sock-like fit of natural weight lifting shoes helps to strengthen feet and legs by using the natural movement from heel to toe by allowing your muscles to move naturally. As with any performance shoe, choosing a design with breathability and moisture management materials is a good choice when it comes to weight-lifting shoes.
What are running shoes?
Running shoes are made to copy with the shock of 2.5 times your body weight which is created by the impact every time your foot strikes the road. While you’re running, you need to have excellent cushioning in both the heel and forefoot of the shoe to handle this impact.
As each runner is different in how much they train, as well as what their running style is, there is no “perfect” running shoe across the board. The best running shoe for you is dependent entirely on:
- The shape of your foot,
- Your bio-mechanics, and
- The amount of running you do.
Running shoes are made in order to protect your feet from the road, provide traction on different surfaces, cushion the landing shock as well as support your feet. If you experiment with picking the right running shoe, you’re not alone. Selecting the correct shoes for running is more of an art as opposed to a science. Many runners experiment with various brands as well as models of shoes until they find just the right fit, feel in addition to functionality.
Whatever you do at gym – be it weight-lifting, running on the treadmill or spinning – you need to wear a closed shoe as this will protect your feet. Don’t be afraid of shelling out a bit of money on getting the right shoes for you as you’re going to be putting these shoes through their paces so they need to last and be of good quality. Getting the right shoes for your chosen exercise is the first step. The next to get to the gym and start practising it!
To learn more about the art and science of exercise, follow this link.