The Importance of Your Workout Shoe


In my years of working in the fitness injury I’ve had a lot of questions pertaining to plateaus, specific exercises, diet, and questions of the sort. But there is one thing that I have surprisingly been confronted with more times than anything else: proper shoes. No, I haven’t been directly asked shoe questions as much as I have had clients come to me talking about foot, knee, shin, leg, or back pain. Whenever anyone, client or not, talks about some lower body pain they have while working out the first thing I will always ask is “How old are your shoes?”

It’s important to not only have proper shoes tailored to the activity you participate in most, but to also have fresh shoes that aren’t breaking at the seams.

Let’s start with running shoes:

You may or may not have heard before that running shoes should be replaced after so many miles put on them. But how many is up for debate. I’m going to throw out a pretty large range of 300-600 miles here. Yes, it is a big range but it still goes to show that running shoes need to be replaced often. You may be the person that has been running in the same shoes for nearly 3 years and have thought nothing of it, but once you put on a new pair, break them in, and take them for a joy run, you will understand just how worn out the old ones were.

You see, running is hard on the shoes, it breaks apart the different parts of the shoe with every mile you put on. The midsole will start to wear, as will the outsole, your running might start to feel flat, and your shoelaces will be needing tighter and tighter knots due to the stretched out fabric.

Personally? I go about 4-6 months before replacing my shoes but let me be perfectly clear here, that is usually far too long for an avid runner that runs 30+ miles a week. I can only last that long because only about 25% of my weekly training schedule consists of some light running, the rest is lifting or something of the sort.

Speaking of lifting, les go there next:

Lifting shoes, are they for you?

Okay, so there are shoes out there that are advertised to be for the “lifters”, lets take Reebok’s crossfit style shoes for example. A basic answer for the purpose of these shoes have been- to lift more weight. These weightlifting shoes (and Reebok isn’t the only brand) were created with the idea of olympic lifting in mind. Whereas running shoes have cushioned support to absorb every step you take, these lifting shoes have a lifted heel and no cushion to help you maximize your power with your lift.

Now I think these are great for those who are actually doing olympic lifts on a regular basis- you know the snatch, clean, deadlift, squat. But for the rest of “us” who lift weights regularly but stick for towards the dumbbells, kettlebells, lower weight higher reps, or just plain circuit training- we might not benefit as much from olympic shoes- simply because they aren’t designed for what “we” do.

So for the rest of you who might not be runners, or olympic weightlifters but stay active in a variety of ways maybe- what shoe do you need?

I’m not expert in shoes, but when it comes to needing a shoe that will suite you in your multiple daily activities I would say 1 of 2 options- a cross training shoe, or simply a shoe that makes you feel the most supported and comfortable.

Cross training shoes are basically a mix of all other types of shoe. Providing equal heel cushion support, lateral stability, and lighterweight feel- they are designed for the people who might add running, lifting, and kickboxing into one workout.

But when it all comes down to it, just get a shoe that works for you. Get your foot professionally examined for a shoe if that’s what you feel you need to do. Whatever shoe you choose is up to you, the important thing to remember is to replace them often and get a pair that is good. When it comes to workout shoes for the active population, it usually isn’t the place to go cheap on, it is just one of those things that you have to splurge on because it will benefit you, your performance, and your joints in the long run

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