Gym footwear is an often overlooked aspect of fitness. People usually go for the pair that looks good with their gym clothes or wear the same ratty pair for years. Having proper footwear is actually a very important part of fitness. Improper shoes can lead to poor form and needless injuries that can take you out of the gym.
Buying a proper pair of gym shoes can be a little overwhelming. You walk into your local athletic store and see hundreds of shoes all that look different from the other and all claim to be the best shoe for different types of fitness. You can end up leaving with a $200 gym shoe that still doesn’t suit what you need.
That is why I recommend finding a local running store most will do a free fitting for you or ask your trainer most will know where to go for this. They typically watch you walk and squat and ask what kind of fitness you are using your shoes for. They will then let you know what kind of shoes you should be looking for and even recommend a few different options.
The reason you will want to do this is because all of our bodies are built a little different. Personally, I have weak ankles, it is something I can improve on some, but for the most part, I need shoes with more support. This helps me when I’m lifting to avoid rolling my ankle.
Some people also have less of an arch then others and will need shoes with more arch support. None of these are anything to be embarrassed about or really anything you are doing wrong. We are all built different and knowing the right type of shoe will help you perform better in the gym.
Another thing to remember is the type of fitness you do. The cushioning of the shoe will come into play big here. If you are a runner, you will typically want a shoe with more cushioning especially if you do a lot of outdoor running. Running is a sport that puts a lot of pressure and strain on the foot and if you can help relieve some of that it will help you reach your goals.
This tends to be the opposite for lifters, as they typically want less material between their foot and the ground. This helps give them more support for heavy lifts. Too much cushioning in the sole can make it feel like trying to lift in high heels. You have probably even seen people in the gym before at the squat rack that take their shoes off before they squat or deadlift this is because they do not want anything between them and the floor and is also a sign of improper footwear.
Replacing your shoes is another huge thing to do. Remember the guy with the ratty old gym shoes we talked about earlier? His shoes are giving him no support anymore and are leaving him more prone to injury. It is recommended for runners to replace their shoes every 350-500 miles. For lifters, you are going to want to check the inside of your shoes. Since you are not moving around as much as runners, the inside of your shoes will show wear before the outside. Once you start to see the inside start to leave a deep indent of your foot, it’s time for new shoes. This is typically about every 6 months.