Are you planning on improving your fitness? Joining a fitness class, an outdoor bootcamp simply starting to run, or even just beginning to walk more.
Have you thought about the shoes that you wear for these types of activities?
Do you know the differences between running shoes and cross trainers?
There are a variety of different shoes available so it can be hard to tell which is the right shoe for you. However, there is a simple answer for this – running shoes and cross trainers are built for specific activities and can support you to be at your very best BUT only for those specific activities.
The main difference between these 2 types of shoes is that running shoes are usually designed to provide support and cushioning from repetitive movement and stress placed by your body in a forward motion, whereas cross trainers are usually designed to stabilise the feet and allow a wide range of movements, especially from side-to-side.
What is the difference between runners and cross trainers?
There are a few key design variations between running shoes and cross trainers.
Cross trainers usually provide more support for the feet to accommodate multidirectional loads with a rounded edge that prevents the ankle from rolling, a flatter sole (lower heel to toe drop) which makes the shoe flexible and provide multi-directional movements. The outer shell is typically made from a more durable material.
Why we wear specific shoes for specific activities:
The purpose of running shoes is in its name – they are designed for running. Good quality running shoes can make a world of difference to your running performance. We all have different biomechanical issues in our feet. Some of us pronate, others supinate, some have flat feet, some have high arches. It vitally important to make sure you choose the correct running shoe for your foot style. Not just the shoe from the company that does the most and best advertising. LOL. A great way to work out what is the best running shoe for your foot is to visit your local Podiatrist, where they will recommend the correct shoe for you, with no bias on selling a specific brand. Running shoes can be used for other exercises such as walking, gym or spin classes etc. However, they will not provide the same level of support. As a trainer I watch with interest my client’s feet and ankles when they are performing moves such as lunges and squats. The amount of foot and ankle movement the running shoes allow, due to the high amount of in-built cushioning for running, really makes for a very unstable platform for these moves. but it will definitely make a difference with running as it makes longer distances more comfortable since it has lots of shock absorption, which is necessary to reduce the likelihood of pain and injuries.
Cross trainers is a broad umbrella term that includes a variety of shoes specific to an activity. This includes lifting weights at the gym, outdoor bootcamp sessions, F45 or CrossFit classes, strength or agility training, and even sports such as netball and basketball, which all have shoes, designed specifically for them. These styles of shoes usually have a comfortable, yet supportive upper and flexible midsole to assist with all facets of movement. Having said that, a good all-round cross trainer will deliver some support for most of the above activities. If you plan to take up a specific sport, you would be best advised use the foot wear specific to that sport. Not just rely on your cross trainers.
Issues with wearing the wrong shoes:
There are a few issues when it comes to wearing the incorrect shoes. The most common issues include:
Discomfort – can lead to bruises, blisters, pain and soreness
Reduced performance – running in the wrong shoes such as cross trainers can make it harder to run longer distances and can potentially slow you down or lead to injuries, whereas wearing running shoes for cross training or specific activities will prevent you from moving sideways quickly as you will have less stability, grip, traction and flexibility in the shoe sole.
Injuries – Depending on the shoes you wear and activities you perform, wearing the incorrect shoes can increase the risk of you rolling your ankles or getting foot injuries including plantar fasciitis, stress fractures and even shin splints.
Should I buy different shoes for different activities?
The answer is simply yes! Wearing the right shoes for different activities can make a big difference in comfort, performance and reducing risk of injuries.
Whether you decide to go for a run, lift some weights, or even both, wearing the correct shoes for whichever activity you are involved with will help put you in the right direction.
If you are interested in getting you current footwear assessed, want advice on buying new shoes or whether the pain in your feet and legs are caused by the shoes you are wearing, feel free to book an appointment at our clinic and get support from our podiatrists today!
Thanks to the team at South East Sports Podiatry for the above content.