As a fitness instructor and avid lover of my home garage gym workouts, I know the importance of an athletic shoe. I have tried more than I can count over the years, and for a while my decisions on what I bought were solely based off how colorful and flashy they were. I had no idea there were different shoes made for high impact, low impact, cross training, running, hiking, jogging and walking. They are all categorized to meet different needs based upon what you will be using them for. What a concept….and one I was so blind to when I first started my fitness instructor journey.
It’s true…when it comes to fitness, working out and powering through a tough sweat session, you need the right kicks. I have seen so many injuries, ankle issues, knee wear-and-tear and body aches all from the wrong type of shoe worn week after week. Too many people buy something that looks flashy, yet it doesn’t meet the exact need that they will be using the shoe for. We end up wearing our bodies out month after month from the damage we can do to the foot, joints and muscles due to a lack of support, cushion and alignment of the shoe design.
The most common mistakes I see from people who attend my high cardio dance fitness class is wearing shoes that don’t match the need for what we do in class. Is my class fit for all levels of fitness? Yep.
Can you go at your own pace and modify every move we do to meet the needs of your own body? Yep.
Can you still injure your foot, ankle, knee or leg by still going low impact but wearing the wrong type shoe? Definitely YES.
If you are attending a group fitness class at least 2 times a week and there is high cardio, high impact and lots of jumping or moving around the room, you need a shoe with a few specific things:
- Arch support (if you have a high arch)
- High cushion support
- Extra shock absorption in the sole, especially in metatarsal area ( under ball of foot)
- Firm ankle support
- Room for toes to move freely
- Lightweight to prevent foot fatigue
What do I recommend? From personal experience and from teaching for numerous years now, I recommend these brands the most often when I get asked about high impact interval training and high cardio dance fitness classes.
- The Nike Air Zoom Strong is my “best friend” right now. They fit like a glove to my feet and provide amazing ankle support with the adjustable Velcro strap that pulls everything in tighter for more security to the foot.
- The Asics FluidRide Gel-pursue 2 are another favorite of mine when it comes to high-impact workouts. They provide a lot of cushion, support and are great at absorbing the shock of jumps.
So some of you might be asking, “What about heel support as I struggle with plantar fasciitis?” I know there are a lot of you out there who deal with this as about 10% of the population has this pain. There are numerous recommendations for shoes that help support this condition when it comes to a shoe that is helpful during fitness workouts, but I will just suggest two as I personally don’t have plantar fasciitis but feel these would be great options for you.
- New Balance 1080v6 helps provide support to the heel and has motion control to help with use for high impact, cross training and walking as well.
- Nike Air Max 2017 running shoe is also a great option for cross training by providing cushion and flywire cables to help with arch support and comfort.
Remember, the key is to feel like your shoe fits snug like a glove, gives the most spongy-like cushion as you land jumps, and provides support that keeps you moving without discomfort your entire workout week after week.
I believe it’s wise to have several pairs to rotate out to extend the life of your shoe. I would also suggest investing in a new pair every 6-8 months for high wear and tear use, and once a year for lighter and less frequent use.
So, if the shoe fits, you should be able to conquer and dominate every single sweat-dripping workout you tackle ALL without discomfort or pain.