Best Shoes For Exercising

Best Shoes to Wear When Exercising

The best shoes to wear when exercising would be closed-toe shoes with adequate cushioning and firm heel support. There are different types of shoes for different activities such as ones meant for running, weightlifting or for a specific sport.

Running Shoes

For running, it’s best to choose a lightweight shoe that still allows you to have normal foot motion. It should also provide you with adequate support depending on the surface that you’re running on.  Whether it’s grass, sand, concrete or a treadmill.  The type of shoe really depends on the type of support your individual foot needs.

JOI Best Shoes for SportsBest Shoes For Exercising

Weightlifting Shoes

For weightlifting shoes, it is recommended that you find flat soled shoes.  This allows for the most stability between your foot and floor. You can also choose to wear a shoe with a raised heel as well. If you have limited motion in your ankle, getting into a deeper squat can be difficult. If you wear a shoe with a raised heel, you can benefit from a deeper squat.  Your ankle is already placed in a slight degree of plantarflexion as opposed to when it remains flat on the ground.

Best Shoe For Weight LiftingWeight Lifting Shoe

Other Sports 

For a specific sport shoe, those are generally easier to find as these shoes are made specifically for the function and surface environment of that sport. For example, basketball shoes tend to be high-tops with outsoles that provide an added grip in the outsoles.  This is to give the athlete more ankle support and stability on the court.  The same is true for a sport like tennis.  There are specific tennis shoes for clay courts and others for hard courts. 

Different Types of Feet

The best shoe to wear when exercising will also depend on the type of foot that you have. This generally falls into 3 categories: pronator, supinator and neutral.

The pronator foot is when your arch rolls too far inward as you place your weight on it while walking or running. These are usually what people refer to as “flat feet” or those with a very low arch. There are shoes with raised insoles that can help prevent pronation of the foot from occurring while exercising.

The supinator foot is just the opposite in which the outside of the foot is impacted with activity. This is typically due to the person having a high or very rigid arch.

A neutral foot type lies between the pronator and supinator types where the foot lands where it needs to during the gait cycle and weight is distributed evenly.

Types of FeetArch Type and Foot Alignment

Anatomy of the Shoe

It’s important to discuss the different parts of an athletic shoe as well so that you can choose the best one that fits for your exact foot. The different parts of the shoe include:

1. Upper – entire part of the shoe that covers the top and sides of the foot

2. Outsole – bottom of the shoe typically created with hard material

3. Midsole – the layer of shoe between the outsole and the insole

4. Insole – layer of material placed inside the shoe that your foot lays on and can be customized based on your type of foot

5. Toe Box – part of the shoe that covers the toes

6. Heel Counter – the stiff part of the shoe that supports the heel

To ensure that you are wearing a shoe that properly fits your foot: there has to a ½ inch of space from the end of the longest toe to the tip of the shoe, ability to extend all toes, and it should have a firm heel grip.  To learn more, please read best insoles for how to fix flat feet. 

The Shoe Tests

There are also 3 tests to determine the shoe’s functional stability to see if it’s the best shoe to wear when exercising:

1. Torsional rigidity

2. Heel Counter Stiffness

3. Flexion Stability

Can You Wear Flip Flops to Work Out?

Wearing flip flops to work out is not a good idea because it does not provide the right amount of support for exercising. It’s also not safe to have your bare feet out in the open in a gym where there are heavy weights around as this can cause a potential injury. Therefore, the best type of shoe to wear when exercising are closed-toed shoes and preferably with laces so that you can adjust the grip around your foot.

Can Wearing the Wrong Shoe Cause Injuries?

Generally, the best types of shoes to wear when exercising are those that provide the most amount of comfort and support to help minimize injuries. Wearing the wrong type of shoe for your foot can cause unwanted stress in the muscles in your foot and lower leg.

What Are Common Exercises Injuries?

Another reason to choose the best type of shoe when exercising is to avoid common injuries such as these listed below:

1. Tendinitis – occurs when there’s inflammation of a tendon and is often the result from an overuse injury. An example would be rotator cuff tendinitis in your shoulder.

2.Shin splints– repetitive stress or overuse of the muscles and connective tissues that are attached to your shin bone. This most commonly occurs for people that are inexperienced runners or suddenly increasing the amount of activity than what you’re used to.

3. Sprain – refers to when a ligament gets overstretched. Most common is an ankle sprain where your ankle rolls inward and can be due to lack of stability and strength.

4. Strains – refers to when a muscle is overstretched or overworked. This can occur if you don’t do an adequate warm-up prior to exercising.

If you want to learn more from JOI Rehab about shoes, please read this article on choosing running shoes.  To schedule an appointment for physical therapy at JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

To schedule an appointment with a JOI Orthopaedic Surgeon, please call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online, or follow the link below.

By: Steve Borkowski, Physical Therapist


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