When ever I go to a gym, studio, sports performance facility or conduct a workshop, I see people wearing running shoes. These soft and squishy sneakers may feel good to wear, but to do a workout in where you strength train or do change of direction drills, they are the wrong choice.
I am not saying don't wear them to run in, that is a whole different debate. Minimalist running shoes vs traditional running shoes has its own arguments. I am saying to not wear them to the gym to workout in.
A running shoe is made to go in one direction, straight ahead. They are not meant to do change of direction drills, especially lateral movements. They are not made to do strength training in. Running shoes have such a large cushion to them it's' like having marshmallows on your feet, heels especially, which do not allow your feet for feel the ground properly. The cushioning in the soles of the shoe compress way too much when strength training and can cause exaggerated pronation (under or over) in the feet. This inward or outward lean of the feet can directly lead to foot and ankle issues. These issues can lead to knee, hip, back and IT Band issues.
When strength training, running shoes raise the heel and can push the knee forward during exercises like squats or KB swings. This forward movement during a hip dominate exercise could very easily contribute to a knee injury. Also when you squat, dead lift or do anything ground based with running shoes on, your ankle will role in or out to an exaggerated degree causing shearing forces in the lower body. Shearing forces are not good for the body. These forces actually pull bones in different directions. When this happens, opposing muscle groups are not activated when they should be. Again, this can cause issues in the: foot, achilles, arch, shin, ankle, knee, hip, IT Band and even lead to back pain!
So how can you avoid these issues or even correct some of the problems you may be already dealing with?
Simple, train in flat soled shoes or even go barefoot, you will be more stable and actually feel the ground with your feet.
Also, if you have a lifestyle that causes you to round your shoulders, like sitting at a desk for long periods of time, using the computer all the time, texting, slouching, driving for extended periods of time or other things like this, you should also work on correcting your posture. A great article in Men's Health can give you some solutions.
Proper foot wear examples include Chuck Taylor's ($30-$50), NB Minimus ($85-100), Vibram 5 Fingers ($100-$110) and other similar brands. Get foot wear that has a minimal heel raise and no squishy cushion to it.
So in conclusion, to get a better workout, reduce your risk of injuries and to minimize everyday aches and pains I suggest buying proper footwear for your workouts.
Think about it:
You wouldn't wear soccer cleats on a basketball court would you?
You wouldn't wear high heels to run a 5K would you?
You wouldn't wear your heavy winter coat to the beach in the summer would you?
So WHY are you wearing running shoes to the gym?
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