As with most any subject, it is always best to start at the beginning. The issue at hand is actually on your feet. Having the right footwear can either get you that second date or ensure that you are training your body the way that it has evolved to move. It is no secret that our shoes are often worn to make a statement. There is no other explanation for paying >$100.00 for a pair of shoes that were made somewhere in Latin America for <$10.00 just because they have the right kind of “swooshie” insignia along the side. I’ll admit that some shoes are worth their salt however, if you don’t do your homework, you may end up with a hundred dollar pair of flair rather than function.
The ultimate issue is application. I have a passion for physical activity so no matter where I am, I lock on to anybody I see in motion. I note their attire, form, facial expression, etc. I try and connect with them even though they don’t know it. As if to be a momentary coach passing along my energy so that they may go a little further. I have noticed that it is hard to find a runner in the wrong type of shoes. Running shoes are probably the most common type of shoe used for exercise. The main characteristics a running shoe should have are cushion, support and flexibility. Cushion in the heel (either one single coefficient of restitution or split longitudinally to correct for overpronation), rigid support in the middle of the shoe (to act as a lever for propulsion while not stressing the foot) and flexibility in the toe box. These shoes should be reserved for running only. If you chose to wear your running shoes every day, they will only last you a couple months. The foam loses its integrity and function. I have learned through my own experience that Saucony makes a soft “walking-on-air” shoe but doesn’t last as long as others. Asics, Brooks, Mizuno, Saucony, New Balance, Nike and Addidas are my preferences in order from best to worst.
One sign of a quality running shoe is if you grab the heel in one hand and the toe in the other hand and try and bend it in half, it should be rigid and hard to bend. I advise that you only wear your running shoes while running. They are made to cushion your feet and does the work that many of the little muscles in your foot do so as not to cause fatigue during a run. If you wear such shoes all the time, you will de-train your feet and they will fatigue and hurt easily.
By far, the most popular footwear no-no is wearing cross-trainers or running shoes in the gym. If you like to do cardio before or after you lift, you should take two pairs of shoes to the gym. Lifting weights in “high-heels” will do nothing but cause back problems and muscle imbalance in the legs. A good weightlifting shoe should have as little a heel as possible so as to mimic being barefoot. My favorite part about working out in my home gym is being able to lift barefoot.
I have two favorite pairs of gym shoes that mimic this barefoot dynamic. The Asics Tiger Onitzuka Ultimate 81 is actually an old-school running shoe. It is the best shoe for engaging my lateral stabilizers and allowing my toes to dig in to the floor during lifts and agility drills. My second favorite gym shoe is the Addidas Samba soccer shoe. It has a big tongue (for protecting the shin from the soccer ball) that I personally don’t mind up but can be tucked under the laces if need be. Both these shoes are ideal for the gym. I have yet to workout in my pair of Iron Maiden Vans ; but I have a good feeling about them. The added up-side is that all these shoes are stylish enough to sport around town.
To see my favorite “gym” shoes, click the Amazon link below: