Buying sneakers has become quite a complex activity, with shoes designed for almost any activity or environment, different foot types, and technology that promise everything from a “barefoot” experience to ultra-stable support. And all of this before you decide what color best matches your gear. But can the right shoe really improve performance?
First get your feet to a specialty running store where the staff will help you determine whether you need a motion control, stability, or cushioned shoe. You’ll probably buy most or all of your shoes from this category from now on.
Next, figure out what you’ll be doing once you lace ‘em up.
Runner? Get a running shoe.
Hitting the trails? Get a trail running shoe. They’ll sacrifice a bit of cushioning and flexibility but will improve grip and provide a more stable platform on uneven terrain.
Competing in a race? Most people will be fine training and competing in the same shoe. As you get more competitive, using a lighter shoe, a racing flat, or a minimalist can help shave a little more time off.What’s up with all those shoes that look like gloves for the feet?
This is the minimalist category of shoes, designed to reduce the amount of added stability to give a more barefoot experience and strengthen the muscles of the feet. I asked my go-to-sneaker-guy (Ross Martinson, owner of Philadelphia Runner) his thoughts on the latest lineup to the sneaker world.
“Minimalist shoes are great for short sprints or a fast run once a week, but I don't recommend running in them everyday (unless someone is blessed with perfect biomechanics). That said, I think they are great for cross training and gym work like Fusion. Typically they are lower to the ground and give you a little more stable feel for things like lunges. If you can only get one shoe to do all of your exercises, go with a regular running shoe. If you can afford it a minimal shoe is a great second shoe for lifting weights, exercise classes, or the occasional run.”
Give your feet the right shoes for the job and they’ll gladly go the extra mile for you.