Before you head to the casual shoe aisle, check out these top shoe tips for optimum performance.
If you don’t plan to run in them, consider something all-purpose, such as a cross-trainer, physiotherapist Jennifer Dodge advises. Your feet don’t take too much stress in the weights room, but you do need them to be protected in case you drop a dumbbell (heaven forbid).
Sport podiatrist Paul Dowie from Foot & Leg Pain Clinics says, a stable cross-training shoe provides a wide stable foundation, so look for a firm leather upper.
RUNNING (middle distance)
Terrain is key. Road running shoes are light and flexible and made to cushion feet during repetitive strides on hard surfaces while trail running shoes have aggressive outsoles for solid traction and have structures for underfoot protection. If you’re running distance, prioritise stability and support.
Dowie: Grip is also a key consideration as too much or too little can cause injury.
For speed, look for a lightweight shoe with a low heel, Dodge says. Dowie says a mesh upper and cushioned midsole will reduce oxygen consumption and fatigue. Comfort is important. If you’re serious about racing, consider racing flats, which are raised at the front to encourage mid and forefoot running to increase speed.
Dowie: Dowie votes for comfort, a mesh upper and cushioned midsole to reduce oxygen consumption and fatigue.
Dodge: Walking calls for cross-trainers or general-purpose running shoes. “Look for a low, supportive heel that rounds (or bevels) in,” Dodge advises. Avoid thick heels and heels that flair as they cause the foot to slap rather than roll, increasing injury risk. Dowie recommends looking for a flexible toe box and low shear materials in the forefoot midsole to maximise big toe joint function during push-off.
OBSTACLE COURSES/SOCIAL TENNIS/SOY LATTE MARATHON
Dodge: Cross-trainers are Dodge’s multi-taskers of choice. “A good cross trainer should have the flexibility in the forefoot you need for running combined with the lateral control necessary for other activities such as aerobics or tennis,” she says. A cross-trainer is characterised by basic cushioning, stability and durability. For all their perks, they’re not ideal for speed since they tend to be rigid and heavy. To decide whether you need sport-specific shoes or whether you can get by with a cross-trainer, count your training sessions. “You should wear sport-specific shoes for sports you play more than three times a week,” Dodge says.
Now that you know the importance of using the right shoe for specific training, here are six ways to strengthen your running.