Many of us include crosstraining into our weekly routine, with exercises such as strength workouts, HIIT sessions and weightlifting. It is important when taking part in these different activities, to have the right shoes for the job.
Crosstraining is recommended by top athletes to supplement your main sporting activity because it is an important tool in injury prevention. Gym type workouts allow you to train hard all year round. They also help you to avoid injury in your sport because the muscles activated are used in a different way than usual, with different impacts or angles.
The right shoe helps you to get the most from your workout and at the same time reduces your risk of injury, which is half the reason you're in the gym in the first place.
Here is everything you need to know about choosing the right shoes for your workout.
Can I wear any shoes to the gym?
If you're heading to the gym for a workout and you're not sure what shoes to wear, your best bet is to wear a pair of laced shoes that has a flat sole and low heel to toe drop.
When at the gym or at fitness classes, your movements will be different to when you are running or walking such as changing direction quickly, jumping, bending and balancing. Getting a dedicated pair of training shoes will enable you to do multiple movements without hurting yourself.
Can I use running shoes for gym training?
Running shoes are different from training shoes mainly because of the structure of the sole, the heel drop and the support. Running shoes are made for forwards and backwards motions and often have a rocker to help propel you forward. They therefore may not be ideal for when you need to hold your balance with weights or move side to side.
The soles on gym shoes will also be less shock absorbing compared to running shoes. Running shoes absorb the impact of the ground with each stride using, cushioning and support, to avoid causing damage to the bones and joints. Gym shoes need a firmer less bouncy cushioning so you can stay balanced and allow multi-directional movement.
Are gym shoes different?
Running shoes, casual trainers and gym shoes may look similar but they all have specific features. As mentioned above running shoes tend to be plusher and encourage your feet to follow a forward and backwards motion. If HIIT classes are your thing, a gym shoe is the way to go because you'll be moving in all directions during your activity, doing plyometric exercises.
Weight lifting and strength training require a flat sole and plenty of heel support so you can go lower into squats and get back up. Typically gym shoes have extra space in the forefoot of the shoe too which lets your toes splay out to help you further with balance.
When to Wear Training Shoes
We recommend a pair of training gym shoes for the following activities:
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Strength training
- Zumba or dance class
Over time, wearing the wrong shoes will lead to discomfort or even injury, let alone hinder your gains.
Common injuries associated with wearing the wrong shoes:
- Sprains and strains
- Plantar fasciitis
- Stress fractures
How should a gym shoe fit?
With running shoes, it is usually advisable to go up half or one full size compared to the size of your feet. This will allow for your feet to swell during the exercise and help you to avoid black toenails (check the description and reviews to see whether the brand is true to size first!). When it comes to gym shoes, properly fitting training shoes will allow you to wiggle your toes without them grazing the end of the shoe, but also not leave a gap around your heel. Let them feel snug around the midfoot as you will also experience less wobbly movements.