Do you need different kinds of workout shoes for different kinds of workouts? You run. You strength train. You take Zumba classes and do yoga. Athletic shoes are expensive. Can you use the same pair for all your fitness activities?
Grabbing any pair of shoes off the rack, or from the back of your closet for that matter, is not a good idea. There are specialized types of shoes for almost every kind of workout designed for the needs of that type of activity. For example, the extra cushioning and support in a running shoe would break down faster and become ineffective if you also wore them for strength training. While you don’t have to buy out the shoe department you should invest in a few different pairs if your fitness routine includes a variety of activities. If one activity is your go-to workout most of the time, you definitely need shoes specific for that activity.
Here are some shoe guidelines for common activities:
Walking – Your foot-strike during walking is different then when running. Walking shoes are designed with more heel support. If walking is your primary form of exercise, a good walking shoe is a good investment.
Running – If you plan on running more than just a warm-up you need running-specific shoes. There are dozens of different running shoe features that provide support based on how you run and what kind of running you do. Have your running form evaluated at a specialty running shoe store to get the most effective fit and shoe type.
Strength training – There are specific shoes for lifting but you probably won’t find them in a typical sporting goods store. Unless you are a very serious lifter, specialized strength training shoes are probably not necessary. A good cross trainer will do the job.
Court Sports – Shoes made for sports like basketball or tennis have built in lateral and ankle support for motion in a variety of directions. If these kinds of activities are your primary exercise then these shoes are a must.
Group classes – a cross trainer shoe has a multi-purpose outsole and a moderate amount of cushioning. These shoes are general purpose shoes. They are good for a variety of activities done in moderation. They are excellent for group classes, cardio machines like an elliptical or stair climber and strength training.
No matter what type of shoes you wear, take care of them and replace them when they wear out. If your shoes get muddy or dirty during a workout, clean them and let them air dry completely before wearing them again. Over time shoes lose cushioning and structural stability. This can lead to aches, pains and injuries. Shoes should be replaced at least once a year and possibly more often depending on how much you work out.
If you’re anything like me and exercise regularly, you have multiple pairs of shoes. I have a bit of an athletic shoe obsession! Let me know what kinds of exercise shoes are in YOUR closet!