If you’re new to running (or working out in general), you might be wondering what kind of shoes are best for you. The possibilities are limitless! Should you purchase cross-training shoes? What about running shoes? Both?
Don’t be concerned. In this brief article, we’ll discuss the differences between cross trainers and running shoes, as well as when each should be used. Then you can use that knowledge to find the best shoe (or shoes!) for you!
Running Shoes and Training Shoes: Compared
What Exactly Are Running Shoes?
Running has numerous physical and mental health benefits, ranging from anxiety reduction to increased lung capacity. However, the repeated impact of your feet hitting the ground can cause stress on your body and injury if you are not wearing the proper gear. Running shoes are designed to absorb shock and support forward movement while remaining lightweight, allowing you to fly across the road or track. They have more midsole cushioning and arch support than training shoes, which can aid in the prevention of overuse injuries such as stress fractures.
1. When Should You Wear Running Shoes?
Running shoes are specifically designed for running, so you should wear them when you go for a run. The only exception is if you’re running short distances on a treadmill to warm up before weight training — if you’re running less than a mile, you can wear your cross-training shoes. Choose lightweight road-running shoes if you’re running longer distances on the road or treadmill. If you run outside, you should wear trail running shoes, which provide extra protection on rough terrain.
2. What to Look for When Buying Running Shoes
Fit and comfort: Make sure to try on your running shoes in your typical moisture-wicking running socks toward the end of the day. The toe box should allow you to wiggle and stretch, and the heel collar should not rub or slip on your heel. They should feel comfortable right away; don’t rely on a break-in period.
Cushioning and reactivity: If you run long distances, look for a shoe with plenty of midsole cushioning. The innovative Nike Zoom cushioning system, for example, is designed to absorb impact and reduce stress on your body.
- A light feeling: You don’t want your running shoes to slow you down, so look for a pair with a lightweight construction that provides adequate cushioning in key areas.
- Traction and protection: If you’re going trail running, look for shoes with deeper lugs (also known as cleats) and more durable uppers.
- The ideal heel-toe drop: Traditional running shoes have a heel-toe drop of 10mm or more due to additional cushioning in the heel. If you strike aggressively on your heel, you’ll want that, but if you strike more with your mid or forefoot, or if you have chronic knee problems, you’ll want a lower heel-toe drop.
What Exactly Are Cross-Training Shoes?
Training shoes can support a wide range of movements, from lateral plyometric moves to on-the-spot squats to quick direction changes. Training shoes are typically flatter and more flexible, with a lower heel-toe drop. They are also intended to provide greater stability. The Nike Air Zoom SuperRep 2 for men and women, for example, distributes energy across a full-length plate, braces your foot when you move from side to side, and secures your foot with a mesh ribbed upper.
1. When to Wear Training Shoes Training shoes
When to Wear Training Shoes Training shoes are useful for a variety of activities, such as:
- Interval training at high intensity (HIIT)
- Bootcamps for outdoor training
- Strengthening exercises
- Training for agility
- Tennis, basketball, and volleyball
- Aerobics lessons
- Zumba and CrossFit classes
- Several yoga classes (optional)
2. What to Look for in Workout Shoes
The best cross-training shoes will vary depending on your activity, but in general, look for the following:
- Comfort and fit: Check that you can move your toes, that your heel does not slip, and that your foot does not stretch out the upper. Instead of relying on a break-in period, choose the pair with the best initial feel.
- Choose shoes with enough cushioning to support your arch, reducing the likelihood of a sprain.
Stability: Wide, thick outsoles keep your foot in place as you move from side to side.
- Firm heel support: This contributes to ankle stability while weightlifting.
- Uppers that are durable and supportive: Look for materials that provide extra support and protection.
FAQs about cross training shoes vs.running shoes
Okay, fine. You may be wondering when to use which now that we’ve discussed the differences between cross training shoes and running shoes. When (if ever) is mixing and matching acceptable? We’ll respond to those questions below.
To cut a long story short, the answer is “never.” Use running shoes for running and cross trainers for the gym if you want to have the best equipment for the activity at hand. Even the activities mentioned above, such as basketball, have their own specific footwear that you could consider if you don’t mind having a closet full of shoes. Activity-specific footwear significantly reduces discomfort, poor performance, and injuries.
“Wearing the wrong type of shoes can lead to injuries, especially if you have any other foot problems, such as being flat-footed,” according to Dr. Samuel Malloy. It is critical that your foot is properly supported for the exercise you perform.”
In other words, even if you’re thinking of being frugal and only purchasing one pair of shoes despite the fact that you run and cross train, don’t do it. The money you could save on medical expenses would far outweigh the cost of an extra pair of shoes.
Can running shoes be used for cross training?
In theory, you can use running shoes for cross training, but you may endanger yourself. When you lift weights, for example, your running shoes will compress, making you unstable. Obviously, you don’t want to be in that situation.
Similarly, running shoes are made for heel-to-toe movement rather than lateral movement. If you’re in a gym class where you’re expected to move side to side frequently (and quickly! ), your running shoes may feel a little sluggish.
Finally, if you cross-train in your running shoes, they will wear out faster and you will not get the full benefit of 500 miles of running.
Can cross trainers be used for runners?
Again, the theoretical answer is yes. However, this theory requires that you keep your runs short and infrequent. For starters, they are heavier, so cross trainers add extra weight to your run. Second, they lack the necessary cushioning, which may result in injury. When your mileage starts to add up, it’s time to invest in some running shoes.
Cross trainers for runners are especially prone to foot, knee, and back injuries due to insufficient support. And this includes treadmill running!
Should I own two different types of shoes if I run and cross train?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes, which you probably don’t want to hear, especially if you’re on a budget. My mother always stressed the importance of using items as they were intended. People will not be harmed as a result.
That advice is applicable here. A good pair of running shoes is essential if you want to be a fast runner. Cross training requires heavier shoes designed for side-to-side movement that you won’t find in a running shoe if you want to be a boss.
So, while your wallet may not appreciate it, your body will. You’ll be using the appropriate tools for each activity. And, if it’s your birthday soon, or if family and friends have asked how they can help, consider asking for whatever type of shoes you’re missing. You might not even have to buy them!
When it comes to construction, training shoes and running shoes can differ greatly. When looking for training shoes and running shoes, it is critical to understand what to look for based on how you train.
If you frequently lift weights, run short distances, and participate in a variety of activities, you should consider investing in a pair of training shoes.
If you’re a runner who plans to put a lot of miles on your shoes, choose dedicated running shoes based on your needs and running history. See more useful article at my website shoestorenyc.com.