An increasing gym trend is to abandon gym shoes in favor of a simple sock or bare-foot approach. In theory, this might make sense. Our primal ancestors never wore shoes and they managed to lift and carry things just fine. However, we’ve come a long way since then and now, finding the right shoe can make a big difference upon your athletic performance.
- Cross Training Shoes Are Sufficient for Most Gym Activities
Cross-training shoes are built for almost every indoor activity. They’re sort of the ‘jack of all trades’ shoe that will be the best choice for most people. Cross-training shoes have developed in popularity in recent years due to the rise in Cross-fit interest. Featuring a slightly elevated heal, cross-training shoes will have a strong and sturdy grip underneath as well as a specific design to increase stability in the ankles. They’re not as cushioned as a running shoe which can put you off balance when holding weights, but they’re not so minimalist that you can’t run in them. Whether you’re into lifting weights, running on the treadmill, or taking part in fitness classes, these shoes will suit your activity.
- Athletic Shoes Tailored to Your Activity
If you’re serious about a certain sport, then it’s worthwhile investing in a specific shoe to help improve your performance in that area. As a jack of all trades shoe, cross-training shoes are also the master of none. If you know that your exercise habits are going to be dedicated to one activity in particular, then it’s important to buy a shoe that matches. For instance, there’s no point having weightlifting shoes if you’re going to spend all your time running and vice versa.
- Minimalist Shoes for Lifting
Minimalist shoes are designed to give you as little as the possible distance between you and ground with very little support. Think of converses; they don’t feature tight material around the ankle, there’s no heel to elevate your legs, and there’s no rigid end. In weightlifting, these can be fantastic as you don’t want anything pushing you forward when lifting weights off the ground. For example, wearing a heeled shoe when deadlifting can put you off balance and not allow for you to lift the weight as efficiently and effectively. As well as this, running shoes provide too much cushioning which doesn’t allow for you to exert as much force into the ground. Minimalist shoes help to keep your bodily connection to the floor beneath you to lift weights in the most comfortable, smooth way possible.
- Fitness and Toning Shoes for Legs and Glutes
Toning shoes are designed with a specific sole to emphasize the leg muscles and glutes when walking or running. They’re also referred to as ‘rocker’ shoes as instead of the highest point being in the heel, the highest point of the shoe is actually in the middle, so when you tread down you ‘rock’ from the front of your feet to your heel.
As well as this, minimalist shoes can also be a good choice to hear as they allow for your feet to spread out and create their natural shape. Companies like Vivobarefoot and Vibram five fingers specifically design their shoes to compliment the foot’s natural structure as opposed to breaking it down. This can help to strengthen the muscles in your calves, thighs, and glutes as well as their surrounding tendons and ligaments, leading to a reduced risk of injury.
- Benefits of Weightlifting Shoes
Weightlifting shoes are designed for more than just the average gym goer. If you’re just looking to keep fit, stay in shape, lose some fat, or gain some muscle, then the best option will be the cross-training shoes. On the other hand, weightlifting shoes are specifically designed to improve your balance and stability from the bottom up in movements such as the back squat, front squat, snatch, clean, clean and jerk, and other Olympic moves. They feature a hard opposed to cushioned heel as well as a very tight foot to keep everything locked in place. These tend to be the most expensive of the bunch, but they’re definitely worth the price if you’re really looking to excel with your weightlifting or powerlifting.