Not all shoes are created equal. You know how important it is to wear supportive athletic shoes, but it’s equally important to find shoes suitable for your specific activities. According to WebMD, one of the biggest mistakes people make when choosing athletic shoes is finding the right shoe for the wrong workout. These tips can help you determine if you need a walking shoe, a running shoe, or a cross trainer.
Walking shoes are best for low-impact exercises like walking. These shoes are lightweight, flexible, and offer more support toward the ball of the foot than a running shoe does. When you try to bend a walking shoe, the toe should easily bend toward the heel. You can also easily supplement walking shoes with inserts or heel cups for extra support if you need it. Check out our article about choosing walking shoes for more details.
Running shoes are designed to support the higher impact and heel-strike of a runner’s gait. They are also more firm than a walking shoe and do not bend much. Running shoes also have extra rubber built into the sole, so you can have a smoother gait. Walking shoes have less cushioning so they aren’t appropriate for the higher impact of jogging or running.
Cross trainers are best suited for activities such as aerobics, kickboxing, Zumba, or sports that use a side to side movement on a hard surface, such as tennis, basketball, or racquetball. The flexible soles of a cross trainer allow you to make pivots without straining your knees and support your body through a range of motions. A good cross trainer should have a firm heel, good support, and not weigh much. When you try to bend the shoe, it shouldn’t give as easily as a walking shoe will.
Know Your Foot
It’s also helpful to know if you’re a pronator or a supinator or if you have high arches or flat feet. These quirks in your foot shape can require extra types of support or a different fit. For example, if you overpronate when you walk you’ll want a wider toe box in your cross trainers to allow for a better range of lateral movement. If you have high arches, an arch support worn inside your shoe can help prevent arch pain. It’s also important that you check your shoes regularly for damage or wear. The way your shoe wears out can tell you a lot about your gait or feet. For example, if the outer edge of your shoe wears out first, it means you probably tend to oversupinate.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s important to replace your shoes when they start to show signs of wear. Even if your shoes are comfortable, they may no longer offer the support you need to prevent injury.