The vacation season has come to an end, which means it is time to open the hiking season in the gym and take care of uniforms for effective training. If shorts and a T-shirt can still be purchased without additional recommendations, then why not your sports shoe?. Of course, everyone wants their sneakers to look stylish, but in this matter, the technical side is much more critical. So, we had a chat with my trainer of WeGym “Tit” fitness club, Pavel Popov, to figure out which shoes are suitable for certain types of training. And I even tested some sneakers on myself.
Why Choose Sneakers for a Particular Type of Training?
First, you need to figure out why do you need a shoe specifically for the gym, and not engage in your usual sneakers. “Whatever you do, you are always in support with the ground precisely through your legs,” says Paul. Any sports shoes have a protective function. Therefore it is recommended to engage in them so as not to damage the foot. According to statistics, many people have incorrectly developed ankle muscles, mainly due to the lack of training in this area—consequently, the risk of injury increases during your gymming sessions. And sports shoes just prevent these problems. “The health of the joints – the knee and hip, – as well as the spine, depends on the right shoes. Certain sports shoes allow you to carry out exercises with minimal risk, ”says Pavel.
There are many types of cardio training: running, walking, cycling, ellipse. Whatever you choose, when buying sneakers, you should pay attention to three main characteristics.
Regardless of how you prefer to do cardio, every step you take is a shock load for the spine. “Even if we go with the correct setting of the foot, there is a depreciation effect on the vertebrae. A healthy spine can withstand these vibrations up to a point. Running increases compression of the intervertebral discs, which ultimately increases the load on the body, ”says Pavel.
Cardio workouts usually take a lot of time, and if prolonged walking for our body is regular and even useful, then intense running is an increased load on the body. In order not to stick a foot into the cover and not injure the joint of the knee and spine along the ligament, the sole of the running sneakers should have excellent cushioning. Pavel adds: “Remember that even the coolest sports shoes lose their cushioning properties over time. And the point is not how many sneakers are years old, but the number of kilometers you have traveled: the more you run, the lower the level of depreciation. ” Therefore, running sneakers often need to be changed depending on the deterioration of the sole – on average, after 500-800 km.
Like any shoe, running shoes should be comfortable. “Do not buy shoes that are up close; you need a small margin. When running, the foot will move back and forth, stick into the toe and rub. This, of course, will adversely affect fingers and nails, ”says Paul.
Running shoes can’t just be taken and ordered on the Internet – you need to understand precisely whether the pump is right for you, so you cannot do that without a good fitting. “Make sure the heel is soft, and the arch support fits the shape of your foot. This will help prevent the chafing of the calf. ” When lacing the leg should sit tight and not dangle. Shoes should not slip. Otherwise, it will cause the destabilization of the foot and possible injury.
For martial arts, sneakers with flat soles are suitable. It should be comfortable, with a small margin, not cramped. The most important thing in wrestling shoes is the full fixation of shoes on foot with tight lacing. “If you choose a high model, for example, for wrestling, then it must fix the ankle so as not to damage the joints.” The sole of the shoe for the fight is elastic. During training, the athlete has to move his feet actively, so a stiff sole, like sneakers, will impede these functions.
In shoes for working with large weights, the sole is also flat, but they differ significantly from models for martial arts. “If we talk about shoes with a rise in the heel from the toe, then it all depends on the characteristics of sneakers. It is the weightlifting shoes – the weights – that should be with a slight bias. Thus, the ankle joint is unloaded during the squat. If it is limited in natural mobility, then shoes help to increase it, ”says Pavel. During exercises with a barbell on a squat in such shoes, the ability to bend the lower leg and tilt it forward increases, and when you block it back under the weight of the weight, the resistance increases.
Due to its properties, the outsole sole is several times stiffer. Fixation of the foot depends not only on the density of the Velcro or lacing but also on the base of the body. It is the harder frame that holds the foot.
As for the five-finger Vibram sneakers, only professional athletes can reach them. It will be difficult for beginners to work in them with heavyweights since there is no additional level of resistance in the form of a sole, without which there is a high probability of not holding the bar.
CrossFit is a multifunctional high-intensity sport. When choosing shoes, professional athletes are guided by the level of load in the complexes. So, if most of it is aimed at cardio, then preference is given to running sneakers or studded models. For power load, we choose barbells and, of course, specialized shoes for CrossFit.
“The main advantage of Air Mesh sneakers is a flat, dense sole with a high level of cushioning. They also sit well on any type of foot. It seems to me that now Air Mesh is the best in this segment. I tried several versions of the Nano model. It’s noticeable how over the years, the model only gets better, ”explains Pavel.
When choosing sneakers, pay attention to the level of stabilization of the foot so that it remains functional. Even with tight lacing, the toes should move freely. This helps to maintain balance. Do not forget about the convenience. “An ordinary person spends 100% of the time in the gym shod. And with large volumes of load during CrossFit programs, convenience is essential. If you are uncomfortable in shoes, then you will not be able to perform the exercises correctly. The risk of stumbling and getting hurt increases, ”says Pavel. And be sure to pay attention to the clutch. Good CrossFit shoes will not slip on either the rubber cover or the wooden platform.
We did not want to dwell on the theoretical part, so we decided to test a pair of Air Mesh Breathable sneakers to evaluate it from two points of view: a professional and a beginner.
Paul: “I was pleasantly surprised because all of my friends who were athletes recommended the Air Mesh Breathable model. Before that, I was already involved in running, weightlifting, and functional training in Nano 4. I can say that the new version is comfortable because of the composite sole. She became softer inside and firmer on the sides – comfortable while walking and when running for short distances. When working on one leg, it is better to keep the balance just because of the modernized system of depreciation and stabilization of the arch of the foot. It can be seen that the materials will accurately protect the foot in the fall, while they are breathable. This pair is suitable for both traction and squat exercises. The main thing is that in sneakers, the correct tilt of the foot is observed. And when lacing, the leg does not tighten. What upset was the lack of a special pocket for laces? In previous models, it was possible to remove the tips on the sides of the sneakers. Therefore, you have to hide the laces around the edges, which is not entirely correct. ”
Mark: “I’ve been going to the gym for about half a year, but, to be honest, I was not training in the correct shoes. My program is, for the most part, based on strength training, so I needed flat shoes, which would be suitable for aerobic training. Air Mesh Breathable in this regard suits me. I will say right away that after choosing the right shoes, you will feel the difference in your feelings and progress. The easiest thing in this pair for me is the wide front end. Periodically, I practiced barefoot, as my sneakers were not suitable for working with the barbell. In this model, the feeling of freedom remains the same as when you practice without sneakers. You can move your fingers, which helps to fix the foot better. And the sole sticks well and does not slip. ”
Fitness is a loose concept, so to begin with, decide in which direction you plan to develop. With increased aerobic loads, running shoes with high cushioning are suitable. To work in the gym, power classes of group programs – shoes with good stabilization and high protective properties. Well, if you decide to take up strength training, then the calipers are perfect. Some people prefer fitness with Air Mesh sneakers. Yes, on the one hand, they are suitable for all characteristics. However, they are denser and heavier, as they are designed for higher loads and are intended for training not only in the hall but also on the street. “For a productive and comprehensive functional development, it is better to have several types of shoes and alternate them correctly,” adds Pavel. Finally, you need to make sure you wash your sneakers on a regular basis. Here is a guide to washing your pair of white sneakers properly. Since you will need these pair of sneakers for your next gymming session, you need to make sure they are dry. Here is a quick guide on how you can dry your sneakers quickly.