How important are shoes, REALLY?

I’ll go ahead and cut to the chase by telling you that your shoes actually serve as part of your structural foundation in ANY form of physical activity. From going on a walk to lifting heavy weights, shoes are indeed EVERYTHING. Most personal trainers will tell you, it’s impossible to be your best if your skeletal frame isn’t aligned. That includes the neck, spine, hips, knees, and feet. You want your bones, tendons and ligaments to be in good shape for any physical activity and one way to control that is with the right pair of shoes.

So what do you need to know? Well, it depends on the activity you’re doing so, let me it break it down in those terms.

CARDIO: By cardio, I mean any steady state cardio that includes walking and/or running. Most runners are aware of what type of shoes they need, but some beginners don’t. The most important thing to know about footwear in terms of cardio is the arch support is very important, and gait should be supported as well. Do you have a high or low arch? Do you overpronate or underpronate? Are you neutral on all fronts? Most athletic shoe stores and departments have specialists that can help you determine these factors.

Keep in mind: running and walking shoes are expensive in comparison to other shoes. But due to the high impact nature of cardio, it’s well worth the money you’ll spend. Some reliable brands include ASIC, Brooks, Hoka (my current shoe of choice), Mizuno, and Nike.
WEIGHT LIFTING: Weight lifting is the complete opposite from cardio in terms of shoe standards. Here, the flatter, the better. Typically these shoes are lightweight, they have thin soles, and the rubber on the bottom is extremely flat with “grips” to ensure an extremely steady foot. They’re great if you do a lot of squats, deadlifts, cable exercises and so on.

Keep in mind: These shoes should NOT be used during cross training. They’re very helpful in the case of lifting, but not for any high impact movement. Some reliable brands include, Adidas, Nike (my shoe of choice), and Reebok.
CROSS TRAINING: Cross training includes anything from crossfit, to HIIT, to bootcamp, to anything Les Mills related, and very often is how I train myself and my clients in the gym. In this case, you want a happy medium between supportive and steady. Think of it as cardio shoe and weight lifting shoe hybrid. You want your high impact movement (jumping, running) to be supported, but you also want your weight training (squats, dead lifts, lunges) to be steady.

Keep in mind: Sometimes, old running shoes can serve this purpose well, especially if you’re on a budget (like me!). Reliable brands include Adidas, Nike, New Balance, and Reebok.

CASUAL SHOES: Listen, I get it. You want to look good! But your Adidas Tubulars and Nike Roshees are only meant to do just that; look cute. They aren’t meant for stability or impact. So keep them looking fresh and don’t take them for a run or a lift. You might end up hurting yourself and it just isn’t worth it!
That’s it! If you have ny shoes questions, please feel free to ask 😄

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