Sport-specific shoes can make all the difference to your training. From outdoor running to indoor weights, Stephanie Ayre has found the best kicks to suit your workout.
Outside the gym
A running shoe must have good cushioning to provide shock absorption, stability and ankle support. Memory foam is one of the key technologies said to practically eliminate shock from long, strenuous runs. Look for a shoe that’s light and responsive. The ideal running shoe lets you smoothly transition from heel to toe and doesn’t inhibit your natural running motion or strike.
Hikers should look for a shoe with widespread, deep lugs and an aggressive tread to give you stability and sensitivity, and anti-debris mesh to stop the sticks and stones. Water resistance and sweat-wicking fabrics will keep you cool and dry. Opt for a larger size so your foot can still breathe when it swells after long distances.
A good walking shoe will take you places. Find a shoe that’s flexible at the base of the toes and provides enough heel stability and arch support to protect where the force is heaviest on the foot. Walking shoes wear out fast, try to replace them every six months.
If you like to dabble in many sports, you’ll want a shoe that has it all — something lightweight with a good amount of cushioning and support to push through any type of workout. Shoes with a foam midsole will allow quick cadence and efficient movements
— whether you’re in the gym or not.
In the gym
An all-purpose shoe can take you from cardio to the weights room with ease. Built for explosive routines, these shoes should feature a secure and supportive forefoot, an average heel-to-toe drop to prevent ankle twists and a multi-surface outsole to help stabilise you when you’re on the move.
Noticeably different to your running kicks, weight training shoes will have a reasonably flat and solid sole designed to help you drive through the floor when you’re powering out deadlifts and squats. A sole that is too soft will only hinder your performance, provide poor ankle stability and will prevent you from gaining maximum force through your muscles.
There are shoes designed specifically for spin classes that will have you power-pedaling in no time. Investing in a pair that clips to your pedals will give you a more powerful and efficient workout by allowing you to transfer increased energy from your pedal stroke to the bike. A properly fitted cycling shoe will also help prevent ankle injuries and keep your body in proper alignment. Find a pair with a rubber sole with enough traction so you don’t slip from the change rooms to the studio and the right cleats to be compatible with your pedals.
If you’re serious about CrossFit, you’ll need a pair of kicks that are as tough as the workouts. A shoe with rock-solid support and stability is going to transition you through your workout without injury. A minimal drop will put you closer to the ground, but with enough lateral and medial support to take you from cardio to lifting.
To stay agile and get the most out of your HIIT workout, you really need the right shoe. Look for sneakers that are light, flexible and will accommodate multidirectional movements (hello split squats and burpees). For this you need complete support from front to back and enough traction to get you climbing ropes and hopping small hurdles with minimal fuss. Look for an option with a firm outsole, a low heel lift and rubber in the forefoot, to help you burst through quick movements without slipping.