Getting regular exercise is a central part of any wellness routine, but make sure you aren’t sacrificing your foot health in the process. Having the right pair of shoes for any workout is essential; some provide necessary support and cushioning, while others add stability so that you can move quickly and safely. From yoga to marathoning, here’s everything you need to know about the best shoes for any workout!
Yoga and Stretching
Ideally, you’d be able to practice yoga and complete your stretching routines barefoot. But, not all surfaces make that possible. The best shoes for these workouts are ones that protect without adding bulk. A flexible, thin shoe will allow you to move appropriately and feel the ground. A grippy sole can be a bonus to enhance your practice. The Vifuur Water Sports Quick-Dry shoe is a great inexpensive option – although initially designed for water use, their material and grip make them ideal for yoga! If you’d like more support (perhaps for hot yoga where you tend to slide around!), then try these Minimalist Training Shoes.
If you love the high-energy fun of a dance workout (think Jazzercise and Zumba), then make sure to find a shoe that will help you turn, bounce, and stay cool. For dance workouts, it’s important to remember that the floor is usually slick, so grip is paramount; however, you’ll be turning and sliding a lot, so shoes with pivot points on the soles are a good investment. Also, look for something with breathable mesh uppers so that you don’t overheat, and be sure to test out the level of cushioning so that your repeated relevés and jumps don’t take a toll on your feet. The Ryka Devotion XT has all the bells and whistles for a reasonable price.
A running shoe is designed to do two things: support your footbed and be lightweight. You’ll often find that running shoes don’t have a lot of extra support around the sides or on top, and that’s for good reason; the extra material in those spots would add unnecessary weight to the shoe, making it harder to run at your top speed. When running, your pronation style is an important part of determining your best-fit shoe – ideally, your foot will turn slightly inward to balance pressure and push off for your next stride, so shoes that help you match that pattern will minimize injury and feel best.
If you’re new to running, consider a more cushioned shoe to help with impact as you build muscle strength. The Saucony Kinvara 11 is a great, versatile running shoe that will get you through your weekly training sessions. If you run on trails or uneven surfaces frequently, try the Merrell Antora 2; with waterproof options and good grip, you’ll feel stable in various outdoor conditions.
If your workouts tend to be dynamic and change day-to-day, or if you prefer HIIT or Crossfit-style exercise, then a “cross-trainer” is the best sneaker for you. Designed to provide support for all parts of your foot, a cross-trainer is often bulkier than a running shoe – with cross-training, you need to be able to move forward, backward, and laterally with ease. Look for a shoe that provides solid structure around your entire foot, extra cushioning on the heel, and a flexible midsole for jumping.
Ideally, you’ll want to test these out by moving quickly side-to-side, jumping, and doing a few quick sprints. You’ll know you’ve found the right shoe when you can complete these movements without your foot shifting around inside. For a good budget option, the FuelCore Nergize from New Balance gets rave reviews. If you can spend a bit more, these Nike Metcon 6 versions are a great alternative.
The best walking shoes are ones that provide ample support and cushioning for your particular feet. Look for shoes with a wide enough toe box if you suffer from bunions and/or plenty of arch support if you get heel or shin pain. Running shoes and cross-trainers can double as walking shoes, but if you’re looking for something specific for those daily treks, try these Sorel Kinetic Lace Sneakers – they’re a stylish option, and the EVA insole provides extra comfort while the molded heel bed helps keep your feet in the right position while reducing shock. For something budget-friendly and more casual, try the Tiosebon Mesh Sneakers in a variety of colors.
Finding the best shoes for any workout can be a challenge if you don’t know where to beginning. No matter your workout choices this year, make sure that you choose the right sneakers to help you feel your best and take care of your feet!
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