Choosing the right workout shoes is important if you exercise regularly, since the right shoes will protect you from injury and improve the effectiveness of your workout. The key to finding the right workout shoes is looking beyond the basics to find a shoe that supports the shape of your foot as well as the movement patterns of your regular exercise routine.
Multipurpose Workout Shoes
If you’re aerobicizing one day and walking your block the next, you need a shoe that can adapt to different workouts. Cross trainers are your best bet because they provide support in all directions. Choose a shoe that’s comfortable for your foot, and then test its support by twisting it and trying to fold it in half. A good cross trainer will be too sturdy to bend.
Workout Shoes for Problem Arches
High arches may make wearing heels easier, but they can make choosing workout shoes tricky. Look for a shoe that has extra padding throughout to support your arch and cushion impact on your feet. Shoes labeled for supinators, or people who roll their feet out when they run, are a good bet since supination and high arches often go together. If you have low arches, you need a shoe with supportive midsole cushioning to stabilize your stride. Look for shoes for overpronators, or people who put more weight on the inside of their feet when they run.
Workout Shoes for Off-Roaders
If you get most of your exercise off paved streets and trails, you’ll need a workout shoe that can handle uneven terrain. Look for one that has treads on the outsole, or bottom of the shoe, to prevent slips and skids, and extra cushioning for your heel and front of your foot to absorb shock. Try on several pairs to find the one that gives you the best support in your midsole — depending on your arches, you may need more or less padding there, but your foot should feel stable and supported.
Workout Shoes for Newbies
If you’re just starting an exercise program, you can get a good, basic shoe for less than $50. Look for shoes labeled “neutral,” which should work for moderate fitness with any foot type, and choose the one that gives your foot the best support. Opt for a shoe that bends a little when you fold it in half, indicating that it’s flexible, and choose one made with moisture-wicking fabric to reduce foot odor and let your feet breathe during your workout.