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How To Choose A Workout Shoe

How to choose a workout shoe

Choosing the ideal footwear for your workout varies greatly depending on the activity, frequency and competition level. When possible, it is always best to have your shoes fitted to your individual needs and activity requirements. What works for one gym goer won’t necessary work for you.

Whilst there are shoes that are better suited to different exercise activities; it is important to remember that when exercising at a recreational level – you can afford to have some flexibility and overlap in your shoe choices.

Many of us are not exercising at a professional or competitive level - so it makes sense to have a shoe that can meet your specific activity level yet still give you bang for your buck. It is common to use the one running shoe for all activities, and this is okay!

However - It is important to note that this will diminish the lifespan of the shoe and you will miss out on some of the benefits features of activity specific shoes (as detailed below).

Alternatively, the best outcome is to have the right shoe for the specific activity; to increase the lifespan, performance, enjoyment and success of your shoe. And most importantly - your activity!

Below we break down what to look for in an exercise shoe, based on activity, and our model recommendations.

 Weight lifting shoes

Weight lifting

When lifting weights the goal is to be as connected to the ground as possible. The aim of the game is stability. A typical cushioned running shoe can be unsuitable as the extra height creates instability through the higher centre of gravity. You should look for a shoe that has a flat, stable base and will not compress as much as a running shoe.

Features

Low is key. Low heel height. Flat stable outsole/ base. Minimal cushioning.

 

Shoe Recommendation: Nike Metcon 4

 Class specific shoes

Classes

Classes vary greatly from gym to gym, but the requirements and basics are essentially the same. You should look for a light weight shoe that won’t restrict movement. Some cushioning is good, but try to aim for less than a running shoe. Again, this is for stability and to lower your centre of gravity.

Depending on the class style you might need a shoe with increased lateral stability to avoid risk of rolling your ankle eg. Body attack, boxing.

Features

Lightweight, lower centre of gravity, lateral stability.

 

REMEMBER:

There is no one shoe that will be perfect for all classes and there is some flexibility with shoe choices. If in doubt, come in and talk to us about your exercise routine and activity level and we can ensure it is tailored to you.

 

Shoe Recommendation: Mizuno Synchro, New Balance Zante, Asics 800 XTR

 Sport Specific shoes

Sport specific

It is important to ensure you are wearing activity specific shoes to improve performance, minimise fatigue and the risk of injury. Therefore increasing level of performance, enjoyment and success.

 

Each sport will, in most cases, have a specific style of shoe designed to cater to the movements and demands of the sport.

 

Netball

Netball shoe is a ‘court specific’ shoe that is designed to withstand side-to-side and stop start movements. As opposed to a running shoe, which is designed for straight-line high impact, repetitious activities such as walking and running. Netball shoes feature a structured upper to provide lateral stability. Lower heel pitch/ stack heights. Lowers the centre of gravity, keeps us closer to the ground thus reducing the risk of injury. A wrapped outsole that is more durable and a grip sole, often with pivot points to withstand the high impact, friction and wear.

 

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Football

Football boots are generally broken down into two categories and often it comes down to personal preference.

 

Supportive/ cushioning: If you want your boot to feel more like a runner, with cushioning and stability.

 

Performance/lightweight: if you want it to feel like you’re wearing nothing at all – fast and lightweight.

 

AFL boots feature studs of varying length and positioning to allow grip and traction for ground conditions, from dry to wet surfaces.

 

At Active Feet, we stock Asics football boots as they feature a 10mm heel gradient to decrease the strain on the lower extremities.

 

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 Event training

Event training

We encourage the 80/20 rule when training for an event to ensure you are not relying on the one pair. This rule requires two pairs of shoes; one worn 80% of the time and the other 20%. This rule ensures you are not wearing out your shoes and potentially causing injury by wearing shoes that are no longer supportive and responsive enough.

It is important to wear your event day shoes 20% of the time to condition your body to the lighter weight. And for the more obvious reason, that if you don’t wear your shoes before an event you open yourself up to the risk of blisters and pain.

Employing the 80/20 rule gives you the best chances of performing at your best.

Features 

Highly cushioned and supportive. Important to ensure this shoe is fitted specifically to your activity level, biomechanics and injury history (this is where we come in).

 

Shoe Recommendation: Asics Kayano, Brooks Adrenaline, Mizuno inspire

 Race Tempo training shoes

Race/ tempo

This would be a supplementary shoe to your everyday runner. Again, employ the 80/20 rule. Cushioned running shoe for 80% and race/ tempo shoe for 20% of the time.

Wear the race shoe when racing, doing speed work, track work, and for events. For individuals of slighter build this shoe could be suitable as an everyday runner.

Features

Lighter weight. Due to less cushioning, lower stack heights and less rigid uppers.

 

Shoe Recommendation: Mizuno Shadow, Asics DS Trainer, Saucony Kinvara

 Recovery products

Recovery

It’s important to stretch and help your body warm down after exercise. We encourage the use massage devices; these act as soft tissue massage to improve blood flow, reduce lactic acid build up and reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

 

After exercise, be sure to replenish your electrolytes by drinking lots of water and (when needed) hydration supplements.

 

Shop Recovery and Massage, Shop Hydration

Compression

Compression clothing can be extremely beneficial for both during and after exercise.

 

During: Compression wear is worn to reduce muscle vibration, thus reducing the amount of muscle tears. They are moisture wicking and work to improve blood flow from the extremities.

 

Recovery

Similar to the use of massage devices; wearing compression clothing during recovery works to remove lactic acid, reduce DOMS and improve blood flow for a shorter recovery time.

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