5 Reasons Why Gym Shoes Matter

5 Reasons Why Gym Shoes Matter

There are plenty of different types of tennis shoes, and it can be difficult to tell which ones you should be using for your workout. However, it’s important to spend the time and pick out the right pair of gym shoes for you.

Here are 5 reasons why gym shoes matter:

  1. Wearing the correct shoes improves the results of your workout.
  2. The correct gym shoes make your workout more enjoyable.
  3. Wearing the wrong shoes can cause injuries.
  4. The correct gym shoes make your workout easier.
  5. Working out with the wrong shoes can cause serious issues for the rest of your life.

Your gym shoes do more for you than meet the requirements to enter a building. If you’re ready to take your workout to the next level, then find the right pair of gym shoes for your body and your workout. It’s easier and more important than a lot of people realize.

Why You Should Invest in the Correct Gym Shoes

Everyone likes going into a workout prepared—no one walks into the gym with jeans on ready to go. This same idea applies to the gym shoes that you wear; they shouldn’t be the old pair you’ve had in your closet for years.

Before you can actually invest in the correct gym shoes, you have to understand why gym shoes are important. Understanding why they’re important makes it much easier to understand which shoe is best for you!

1. Wearing the correct shoes improves the results of your workout.

The gym shoes you wear have a direct impact on how efficient your workout is, no matter what kind of workout you’re doing. If you want to get the most out of your sweat time, then find the right gym shoes.

Gyms, and even home workout plans, have everything down to an exact science. We know what muscles we’re working out and what areas of our body to warm up before starting. Gym shoes are meant to help your workout have the optimal effect on your body.

There are plenty of exercises that are hard on our body: running, cycling, lifting weights, etc. Our workouts can be negatively impacted by the stress put on our joints and other parts of our bodies. A good pair of workout shoes should be absorbing as much of this negative stress as possible.

For example, the correct running shoes should absorb the shock from the ground as you run, letting your legs and heart work instead of knees. A good pair of weightlifting shoes are flat and grip to the ground well, keeping your body balanced and steady so your back is protected. 

While your form can drastically improve the efficiency of your exercises, it’s not an easy thing to constantly focus on. If you have long workouts, then it’s definitely a little harder to constantly maintain a 100% perfect posture.

The right gym shoes will help you keep your posture while alleviating as many of the negative impacts as possible. Keeping your motivation up while you’re working out isn’t the easiest thing for a lot of people, so having the right shoes can help you get the most out of your workout.

Your gym shoes are also helping you work out; many gym shoes will make it easier on your body to complete your exercises while still employing the correct muscles. You’ll see more of a benefit from working out because you’ll be able to do more, workout for longer, and work out correctly during your entire workout. 

2. The correct gym shoes make your workouts more enjoyable.

correct gym shoes make your workouts more enjoyable

Wearing the wrong gym shoes can make your workout frustrating or harder, and no one wants their workout to be annoying. Some people go to the gym because it keeps their moods up—what’s the point in going just to get frustrated because you’re uncomfortable?

The correct gym shoes will keep you comfortable while you’re working out without you even realizing it. You’d be surprised how much a pair of running shoes can make you feel better while you’re hustling on the treadmill.

Every exercise needs something different; if you’re sweating a lot with cardio exercises then you want to make sure your feet have room to breathe and that air can get through. However, if you’re running cross-country, you don’t want shoes that let in dirt or mud. 

You may not even realize that your shoes are making you uncomfortable, but nine times out of ten, you can improve your happiness while working out by getting a pair of shoes that fit your workout.

Plus, you can’t be frustrated at the gym every time you go. The gym is meant to be somewhere that signifies progress, self-improvement, and empowerment. Once the gym becomes a negative place, you’ll potentially stop going, which stops your weight loss or fitness progress. 

3. Wearing the wrong shoes can cause injuries.

wrong shoes can cause injuries

The wrong gym shoes can prevent you from keeping the correct posture while you’re working out. Imagine trying to run in shoes that have zero arch support.

Gym shoes are cushioned and provide support in specific areas to keep your body strong while you’re working out. However, different areas of your foot need different support for whatever kind of exercise you’re doing.

The foot has 26 bones in it; check it out on this WebMD graphic. When you combine these different parts of your foot with the endless amounts of exercises that exist, then you can see how you could easily hurt your foot without the correct support.

Let’s use running as an example. There are two main things you’re looking for in a pair of running shoes:

  • Arch Support. You want to keep the main structural bones of your feet protected and supported since your body weight is being propelled quickly by one foot at a time.
  • Ankle Support. Your ankles are the point of contact for your entire body; you want to make sure that your ankle doesn’t have much room to twist.

Without arch support, you run the risk of causing pain while you’re working out, along with more serious issues down the road. If you lack ankle support, then you’re likely to roll, sprain, or twist your ankle or your knee. 

These are two of the biggest things you need when you’re looking for running shoes. However, consider the fact that people walk on different parts of their feet. If you’ve ever seen shoe insert commercials, you know what I’m talking about.

How you walk can start to impact where your running shoes should support. Serious runners go through a shoe fitting to find the exact kind of support they need and where that support needs to go.

This isn’t exactly a realistic thing for the average gym membership owner to do, it helps us realize how important your feet actually are. Without the correct support, you can cause injury to yourself. It’s similar to how your form is an important part of your workouts.

Form and posture are an important part of working out for good reason; we do workouts that are meant to help our muscles, but doing them wrong can put stress on the wrong areas of our body, like our back.

We’ve already learned about how the correct gym shoes can help your posture by supporting the best areas of your foot to support your body for the exercise you’re doing. Without this support, you can do more injury to yourself through your form, causing a plethora of problems. 

4. The correct gym shoes make your workout easier.

correct shoes make it an easier workout

No one has ever said working out is easy, and if you’re someone who exercises frequently, then you know just how difficult it can be. Our bodies start sweating for a reason—working out is hard!

Exercises can be a lot more difficult without the correct gym shoes. If you’re wearing the appropriate gym shoes, then you’ll be a lot better at doing whatever you’re doing. That confidence boost is also a plus!

For example, running shoes are typically pretty bouncy. It’ll be easier to propel yourself forward because your shoes are doing some of the work for you. While your body is still doing the work, the shoes help you go just a little further.

If you’re someone who plays a sport, such as basketball or tennis, then having shoes that have a good grip on the bottom is important. You’ll be able to stop, turn, and play the game much easier if you’re working with your shoes rather than working against them.

The best part? When your workout is easier, then you tend to get more accomplished. Whether you finish strong or you go just a little farther than you planned to, your workout is better because of it. 

This also helps you feel more motivated while you’re working out. The more you push yourself, the better results you’ll see, but sometimes it can leave you feeling burned out. If the workout is a little easier, and you finish even stronger, then you’ll be much more motivated to exercise the next time.

5. Working out with the wrong shoes can cause serious issues for the rest of your life.

wrong shoes can cause serious issues

We’ve already discussed how you can hurt yourself while you’re exercising, such as a sprained ankle or foot pain in general, but it’s time to discuss the serious aftereffects of wearing the wrong gym shoes.

If you’ve ever experienced foot pain, then you know how crippling it can be. Your feet carry you everywhere, so when they start hurting or you encounter serious problems, then it can have a huge impact on your daily life.

Here are a few of the most common foot problems you can create/worsen by wearing the wrong gym shoes:

  • Arthritis. Arthritis comes from the wear and tear of everyday life on your joints, and exercising is known for being harsh on the joints throughout your body. The correct gym shoes will make sure to support the areas and joints in your feet that are most used in whatever exercise you’re doing, which will slow down the onset of arthritis.
  • Plantar Fasciitis. This is a ligament issue that runs along the heel and arch of your foot. It’s a painful condition that can cause your feet to be in extreme pain, especially when you wake up. Things like stress can cause plantar fasciitis, which can be caused by working out without the proper support. The correct pair of gym shoes will make sure that your feet aren’t feeling the stress of your workout.
  • Athlete’s Foot. The name of this says it all. While athlete’s foot is more widely known for its presence in gym showers, your gym shoes play a role as well. Depending on the exercises you’re doing, you’ll want your feet to have a certain amount of breathability depending on how much time you’re working out. 

These are just three common foot problems, but there are plenty of others that can stem from not wearing the correct gym shoes. It’s not worth risking your future health, or your current health, because of shoes that aren’t supporting you correctly.

If you’re feeling pain in your feet when you’re working out, then make sure your gym shoes are adequate for the exercises you’re doing.

How to Pick Gym Shoes that Matter for Your Workouts

Choose the Right gym Shoes

It’s easy to walk into your local shoe store and find the best-looking pair of shoes at the most reasonable price. It’s tempting too, but it’s important to pay attention to a variety of factors that affect your workout. Here are the things you want to check out:

  • Sole of the shoe. Do you want something that’s got a good cushion to it, or do you need something that grips the ground better?
  • Flexibility. Does your exercise call for a strong, supportive shoe, or one that can flex with you as you workout? You can bend the shoe to see how flexible it is; while the shoe will loosen up a bit as you break it in, it’s still something you should check beforehand.
  • Ankle Support. How well will you be able to move your ankle in all directions?
  • Tread. Check the bottom of the shoe. Do you need something that’s going to make sure your feet don’t leave the ground or do you need something that’s not going to get caught on the floor?
  • Breathability. Think about where you’re going to be working out. Do you need something that’s going to let air flow through your shoes or do you need something that’s weatherproof?

Make Your Gym Shoe Shopping Plan Before You Go

Gym Shoe Shopping Plan

Before you head to the store to start testing shoes out for these factors, make sure you have a plan for what you want. It’s important to have a plan before walking into the store; you might be tempted to settle for a shoe that’s not the best, or you could forget everything you need.

Most people don’t just stick to one workout; you probably don’t only run on the treadmill or only lift weights, so it can be difficult to find the perfect blend of what you need in gym shoes and what you like in gym shoes. It’s not ideal to have to buy three different pairs of gym shoes, so finding the right blend is the best idea.

Start by figuring out what you do most. More than likely, you’ll spend a lot more time doing exercises that you like. You’ll want to tailor your shoes for these exercises while making sure the gym shoe isn’t dangerous for the other exercises you do.

While you’re thinking about the different exercises you do most, think about the kinds of directions they take you. For example, running takes you in a straight line; you very rarely have to make quick movements to the side. HIIT workouts typically take you in many different directions quickly, and weightlifting keeps you still. These thoughts will help you decide what kind of tread you’ll need.

From there, make a list of what you need your shoe to do for you. For example, if you need to be able to run, then you want a shoe that cushions your feet and pushes you forward. If you’re lifting weights, then you need a shoe that’s going to grip the floor. This article from Health.com gives you a few different ideas of what you should be looking for in a workout shoe for various workouts.

Before you go to a store, do some research on the different collections of shoes out from major shoe brands. You’ll start to get an idea of what shoes will be best, and you can keep an eye out for those shoes (or similar ones) whenever you do go out.

What to Do At the Gym Shoe Store

At the Shoe Store

Now the time’s come to actually visit the store. When you get there, be picky! If a shoe feels slightly uncomfortable, or if it’s pinching a certain area, don’t settle with the idea that you’ll break them in. 

When you’re trying on your shoes, they shouldn’t fit perfectly. When you work out, your feet swell, so shoes that fit perfectly aren’t going to fit that well when you’re actually working out. You want to make sure your shoes will actually fit correctly when your feet are swollen.

Going during the afternoons or after you eat a large meal is the best idea since your feet swell at these times! You might not think it’s a big deal, but your shoes can’t protect your feet if they don’t fit correctly. Plus, everyone’s feet swell differently, so you can’t just account for a certain amount of space.

Additionally, make sure your heel fits in your shoe correctly. Even if it slips up a little, try to tighten the laces and fix the problem. If it can’t be fixed, then move on to the next pair of shoes.

Not all gym shoes are made for every kind of foot (or every gait) that exists. Sometimes breaking in a pair of shoes just doesn’t work how you think it will. In that case, you either spend more money buying a second pair of shoes or you work out with shoes that aren’t fitting you correctly. Neither of those situations is good to be in.

How to Pick Gym Shoes for Your Gait

Your gait is how you walk, and sometimes this can have a huge impact on how well your shoes fit. For the most part, this isn’t a huge deal unless you’re running or walk very far on either side of your foot.

For the most part, everyone either walks on the inside arches of their feet or the outside arches of their feet. Ideally, you want to walk as close to the center of your foot as possible, and it’s something that you can work on improving using balance board training.

However, when you run, it’s a lot harder to control where you go. In extreme cases, this can lead to constant sprained or twisted ankles, which also affects your knees. 

If you’re looking for running shoes, then there is a distinction between those who walk on each side of their feet. You can find more information here about which shoe is best to pick and how you can tell a difference in each.

Types of Gym Shoes

Cushioning running shoes are good for people who walk on the insides of their feet. These types of running shoes are meant for absorbing as much shock as possible to protect your ankle as you run.

Stability running shoes are for those who walk on the outsides of their feet. These shoes try to correct your running gait instead of absorbing shock because you can do serious damage to the arch of your foot when you run on the outsides of your feet. You risk your arch collapsing, which is a painful and repetitive issue that can last your entire life. 

If you’re not a runner or you’re a runner but you don’t find yourself favoring a particular spot on your feet, then you shouldn’t worry about this. Most gym shoes are built to support as many people as possible, and you’ll be able to tell if a gym shoe works for you once you try it on.

Replacing Your Gym Shoes Matters, Too!

Look for Quality Shoes

Getting the proper gym shoes is important, but it’s also important that you replace them when they start wearing down. Your gym shoes are meant to protect your feet, and they can’t do that whenever they start falling apart.

A good idea is to check your shoes before or while you’re putting them on every time you use them. If you’re making quick movements, this is especially important. Knowing where your shoes are wearing down (and when they start wearing down) will make you aware of your shoes’ condition, and you’ll be able to play safe when need be to prevent injury.

If you don’t know that your shoes are wearing down, then you can actually hurt yourself further. For example, a shoe that’s lost a lot of its tread can cause you to slip around, which can cause a lot of issues if you’re playing basketball. 

If the sole of your shoe has worn down and you’re running outdoors, you could step on something that goes through your shoe to your foot. This can also be very bad, so checking your shoes before you wear them is a smart idea that’s also easy to do.

While most good gym shoes aren’t going to fall apart very quickly, there will always be a time when they’ll need to be replaced. There are a few key parts of the shoe that are more likely to break down quicker than others. Pay attention to these areas:

  • Tread
  • Supportive areas (like around the ankle or the inside sole of your shoe)

Those areas are the most likely to start deteriorating the fastest. Keeping an eye out for spots on your shoes that are wearing down is important, and you should do it regularly. You’ll also feel your shoes start to change, whether they start slipping, become uncomfortable, or cause you pain.

Don’t worry about losing your perfect gym shoes, they’re easy to replace! A lot of shoe companies make the same styles year after year, so you should be able to easily find the same shoe if it worked well for you.

Take Care of Your Gym Shoes, and They’ll Take Care of You

Even if you find a good pair of gym shoes that isn’t made by a name brand like Nike or Adidas, you can still check out what that brand has been and is creating. For example, Walmart’s clothing and shoe line has its own online website that features series and sets. A quick Google search is always helpful!

If you found your shoes not working well for the exercises you do, or if your exercise routine has drastically changed, this is a good time to decide if you need different shoes. It’ll be much easier to find the perfect pair the second time around!

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