Over the years, the human race has evolved, and so has its preference in fitness footwear. Gone are the days when they simply used to be referred to as “aerobics shoes” or “cross trainers”; training shoes are a kind of fitness footwear designed to deliver comfort for multi-directional motion and protection so you can perform various fitness activities.
You can take these shoes to the gym as they’re great for weightlifting, a few racquet sports, and multiple fitness activities. Training shoes were created to provide stability and cushioning to protect the feet and ankles when you’re busy with some strenuous physical activity.
If you engage in any specific sport like basketball or running more than twice a week, you should designate a pair of shoes for that. This makes training more effective.
Running Shoes vs. Training Shoes: Don’t Confuse Them
Many people make the mistake of mixing up running shoes with training shoes as they look somewhat similar, but the uses are quite different:
Running Shoes: Running shoes are created to support heel-to-toe movement. The added cushioning and support give it the higher heel drop. In addition to that, running shoes are typically lightweight so runners can be more agile and lighter on their feet. Ideal for runs and tracks.
Training Shoes: As mentioned before, these shoes specialize in multi-directional movement, particular side-to-side (lateral) movement. The soles on these are flatter, giving it added flexibility to support a wider range of motions. When talking about weight, training shoes are on the bulkier side because they need to be more durable and resist multiple lateral movements. They’re heavier and extra “rugged.” these shoes are your ideal gym buddies.
So if someone ever says that you could substitute running shoes for training shoes, just know that they’re very wrong – the difference lies in the heel drop and flexibility.
What Are Training Shoes Used For?
Training shoes are good for and support a variety of movements, including jumping, breaking, stopping, cutting, and altering direction quickly. This is what makes them so incredibly versatile and suitable for a wide range of workouts. If we had to put in a phrase, we’d say these shoes are the perfect all-in-one shoes to hit the gym in.
The easiest way to identify a training shoe is by observing how flat it is. “Heel drop” is the technical term here, which means the distance from the toe height to the heel height.
Let’s look at some general uses of training shoes:
- Weight lifting – Training shoes feature heel support to accommodate your body as you squat down and then stand up.
- High-intensity sessions at the gym – The cushioning inside these shoes has been designed for run and high-impact training.
- Strength training – With the training-specific lasts, you’ll find that training shoes come with additional space in the forefoot region.
- Agility exercises – Outsole patterns and grooves build better traction during multi-directional and plyometric movement.
You also do brief runs on the treadmill. However, running shoes are better for anything more than a 5k – for shock absorption.
How Should Training Shoes Fit?
Your primary concern while buying a shoe should always be comfort, and it’s no different with training shoes. This factor is especially important when the shoes are selected for exercise.
A few other things to keep in mind include:
- If you play court sports, non-marking outsoles will be an important determining factor in the choosing.
- In comparison to synthetics, leather uppers last longer. But mess uppers provide improved breathability and air circulation.
- Some models come with removable sock liners (also termed as footbeds) which allow you to add custom orthotics or a more supportive insole.
- A few brands have wider sizes.
Why You Can’t Alternate Running Shoes for Training Shoes
There’s a reason running and training shoes have been differentiated and it’s important to know which you’re getting to reduce injuries. This is why you can’t afford mismatching shoes:
Plyometric workouts: This is where the additional support and cushioning from running shoes can stop you from making that perfect landing, also increasing chances of ankle or knee injuries.
Lateral movement: Running shoes come with higher heel drops, increasing the probability of ankle sprains while doing lateral movement.
Weight lifting: Lifting weights is done best in shoes that have little cushioning.
Using training shoes instead of running shoes: Without the support and cushioning of running shoes, running in training shoes rises the chances of ending up with plantar fasciitis. Not only that, but you can also be a victim of stress fractures due to lack of support during running.
Why the Right Kinds of Shoes Are Important
Wearing the wrong kinds of training shoes can lead to some pretty serious injuries, as mentioned by doctors. If you have some other foot problems, for instance, being flat-footed, it can be a big issue. When performing exercises, your feet need to be supported in the right way.
For example, plantar fasciitis is a condition when the connective tissues located in your sole swell up. This may happen if you keep wearing the wrong type of shoes for an extended period, thus putting more stress of the delicate parts of the feet. It can take almost a year to recover from this, so it’s best you take some time to browse through some shoes and find the one the suits your needs the best.
Apart from that, the wrong shoes can actually mess up the coordination of your entire body, leaving you vulnerable to injuries in the legs, shins, and ankles. Twisting your knee, turning an ankle, developing annoying blisters, and these injuries can disrupt your otherwise smooth going workout plan. Plus, your training, reps, and sets won’t be as effective.
If you have realized there’s a need for training shoes in your life, we suggest you purchase a pair of good ones right away. They are an investment and will definitely improve your overall results from a workout.