Smutty Fitness: Shoes for the gym
Hi Hayley! I need some advice on shoes for training in the gym. My typical workout is a cardio warm-up, weights (either weight machines or free weights) or resistance training, followed by an intense cardio session. One day a week I do an hour of cardio alone (sometimes this is a spinning or fitness class).
I am currently wearing Nike trainers (2 years old) which are fine but I'm definitely due for a new pair. I recently went into a big sports chain store and a salesperson highly recommended the Nike Free 5.0 trainer which I tried on and were the exact opposite of what I'm looking for in terms of support and comfort - they were hella cute but had absolutely no support and were not comfortable after a few minutes on the elliptical.
I'm hoping to find something with more support. I've heard great things about Reebok, Under Armour and Asics, but I'm feeling somewhat overwhelmed and want to balance style and function.
Any recommendations on what to look for?
Unless you are certain you know what you are looking for, as in you have been wearing the same shoe for years and just need another pair, go to a specialty store for your sneaks. Find an independent running or training boutique where the staff is well trained, has experience and are paid well for their knowledge. Trust me, I worked in a box store for a few months when I was in high school and as much as I tried, I am sure I was not the best shoe fitter at the time.
Breaking down the brands is easy. All shoe brands are good, so it does not matter which brand you pick. Shoes are created in particular price points and the more you spend the more you'll get out of your shoe. An entry level Adidas is pretty similar to an entry level Asics or Brooks or Nike and same goes for the mid price point shoes and the top end shoes.
Where shoes differ is how they fit your foot, the amount of cushion in a shoe, the amount of stiffness and support, the heel raise, etc. This is when you need the expert to help you and you should try on multiple shoes and brands before you make your decision.
I have always gone with New Balance, for 15 years now, because they work for me and I love their company and their company's philosophy. Nike does not fit my foot, Asics are too cushiony for me and Adidas never seems to make a shoe big enough for me (I have size 11 which makes finding shoes tough). But this doesn't mean these brands will not work for you.
Based on the style of training you are doing I would recommend a lightweight cross trainer, as it will provide you with the lateral support you need, as well as stability for strength training. I just bought these and LOVE them. As Fall for me always means hitting the weights hard for the upcoming running and biking seasons next year, I need a supportive trainer, but something that is cute at the same time. Favourite thing about this shoe is the heel cushion - makes it one of the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. This is New Balance’s take on the Nike Free concept so you may want to give them a try.
And for your spin classes, I highly recommend that you invest in a pair of spinning shoes. They will run you about $80-$100 but will last you 10 years and you will get so much more out of a spin class in correct spinning shoes. Talk to your studio and ask them what kind of spin shoe you need (different studios use different clips) and then head to a bike shop or sports equipment store.
Happy shoe shopping!
Attached - Colin Farrell leaving the gym the other day.