If you are looking for a pair of trainers (sneakers), there are so many styles, brands, soles, prices, those that are dull looking and those that are very bright; that choosing a pair can be quite daunting. It really isn’t as simple as it seems. Trainers are made in different ways and styles according to what they are used for – and it is important too to differentiate between a workout/gym shoe and a running shoe. Although both are similar in design and style, the running shoe has been made to support forward movements and are generally more cushioned to absorb the shock from each footfall; the workout shoe/cross trainer is designed for the gym and is sturdy enough to withstand an intense bout of high intensity interval training. There are Workout Shoes for those who want to do weightlifting; some cross-trainers have the capability to accommodate short distance running, weight training, cycling, HIIT; others are more lightweight and have been created for indoor/studio use eg dance, cardio, aerobics. Don’t pick a workout shoe designed for weightlifting if your normal workouts involve jumping jacks and sprints.
The price of the trainers differ greatly. I came across an interesting study conducted by Nick Rizzo, Fitness Research Director at RunRepeat, the largest athletic footwear review company in the world. Nick is an elite level power lifter too, so he knows his stuff! Nick published a new study analysing 323,776 reviews and prices of 336 workout shoes representing 20 different brands. What I was amazed at was that one of the key findings indicated that the cheaper a workout shoe, the higher the ratings and user satisfaction. The top 10 most expensive workout shoes cost 183.05% more and have a 2.3% lower rating on average than the cheapest workout shoes. I was pleased that my favourite brand, Skechers rated highly; my teenage sons and husband wear Nike and Asics, which scored favourably too. To read Nick’s full report: https://RunRepeat.com/affordable-workout-shoes-better
According to Nick’s study:
3 Worst Workout Brands: Merrell; Vivobarefoot; The North Face
3 Best Workout Brands: NoBull; Skechers; Jordan
3 Cheapest Workout Brands: Avia; Skechers; Ryka
3 Most Expensive Workout Brands: Vivobarefoot; NoBull; Inov-8
So having sorted out the brand in the price bracket you’re happy with, what should you look for in a workout shoe?
- Think about your workout/gym routine. Look for a workout shoe designed for the purpose – weightlifting, cross training, aerobics, Pilates….
- Comfort. Workout shoes are supposed to feel comfortable and sturdy as soon as you put them on. Unlike normal shoes, there shouldn’t be a breaking in period …. Firm cushioning rather than soft to provide a stable base.
- Support. The workout shoe should be able to provide a complete foot support – especially solid support in the side panels and heels. A supportive ankle bar is a necessity for during sprints and interval training.
- Fit Well. Too loose can hinder performance and can even cause accidents. The shoe should have a secure lacing system, a padded tongue and collar.
- Sole. A good workout trainer should have a relatively flat sole, especially at the heel where it should also be wide. For indoor/studio use, a smooth rubber outsole with minimal or no treads is ideal.
Your workout shoe should also be durable. How long your shoe lasts does depend on how often you use them, but with a bit of due care and attention you should be looking at least 6 months wear plus. Replace when the support is no longer there and visible signs of wear and tear have set in. Always keep your trainers dry and well ventilated. Avoid wearing them outside of your workout eg walking on pavements.
Finding the right workout shoe is like navigating through a minefield, but with perseverance you’ll find the right shoe. Remember, the best workout/gym shoe should offer improved grip and support so you can workout more safely and with greater effectiveness.
My thanks to Nick Rizzo Of RunRepeat.com for introducing me to his research.