How to Choose the Best Workout Shoes
What's the most important part of your workout kit? The gym bottle? Your Ipod? A head band? Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. The only vital piece of gear without which you can’t think of performing any of your exercises – running, tennis, cycling, aerobics, kickboxing - is a well fitted pair of shoes. A good pair of exercise shoes or trainers, if you will, can make or break your daily workout routine. But it is fairly simple to go wrong with them! Here’s how to choose the best workout shoes.
Don’t go for whatever is handy, go for a sport specific shoe. The biggest blunder people make when they get going on their running, jogging, or any other exercise routine, is grabbing ay old pair of sneakers and taking off. Stop, right there! Understand the difference between each routine's specific demands on your body. Workout shoes are tailor-made for different kinds of workouts and exercises. A shoe made for running is quite different from a shoe made for tennis or basketball.
For instance, experts suggest that running shoes are devoid of in-built lateral stability, because you don’t move your feet cross-ways or side-ways when you run. You are simply going forward and running shoes are specifically designed to give you that kind of support and stability. On the other hand, basketball and tennis shoes need to be stabilized laterally, as you move your feet side to side.
Then again, foot surgeons and podiatrists opine that runners land more on their forefoot, whereas when walking you have a considerably heavier heel strike, thus running shoes are different from walking shoes. Thus, for running, you would require a shoe that has more cushioning on the forefoot, whereas for walking shoes you'll need stiffer heel support.
3 must-haves in a good pair of workout shoes:
- Light weight (you don’t want to add a lot of pounds to your feet)
- A fixed or a firm heel
- Good support (you shouldn’t be able to bend the shoe too easily, unless you're picking shoes for a dance workout)
Don't get too attached to your workout shoes. Your workout shoes should be your workout shoes, only, and not your running-around-anywhere shoes. A shoe succumbs to wear and tear quite easily. So, purchase two different pairs - one for casual running around the city and the other for serious workouts.
Another big mistake many of us make is not changing our workout shoes too often. And we're not talking about changin them when they start looking bad. Generally, shoes start to break down even when they’re looking good. And we don’t want you to invite aches and pains because of them! Many experts recommend that runners must swap their shoes every 300-500 miles. Another good measure is to replace them at least once in a year, if you workout regularly.
Of course if you have any special needs, ask your doctor to recommend specific, custom-built inserts designed for specific gait problems.
Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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