Skip to main content

What’s The Right Training Shoe for Me?

By Dan Vogel, YWCA Accounting & Systems Associate
July 28, 2017
Social Share
  • Have you been wearing the exact same shoe for more than a year?
  • What kind of fitness activities do you participate in?
  • Do you have any aches and pains in your feet, ankles, knees or hips?
  • What surfaces have you been walking or running on?
  • Do you have a high, medium or low arch?
  • Do you have a neutral stride or does it need some correction?

These are a few questions to think about when trying to find the perfect shoe that will meet and exceed your workout expectations. Follow the tips and tricks below to help determine the right shoe for you!

Lifespan of Your Shoe

Depending how often you are wearing your shoes and the type of activities they’re being used for, the average lifespan of a shoe is 300 to 500 miles. If you’re using them all day, every day for walking and working out, you’ll need to replace them sooner. As soon as you feel the cushioning and tread on the bottom diminish, you’ll want to start looking for a replacement. If you wait too long, that’s when injuries pop up because your body is taking more of a beating due to the shoes losing their structural integrity. Another thing to keep in mind is where you’re wearing your shoes. If they’re mostly used on asphalt and concrete, they’ll wear out much faster.

Neutral vs. Stability

Thanks to the nature of genetics, no two feet are made the same. Some of us have high arches, some have bunions and some have weak ankles. The first step to make sure you’re in the right shoe is to learn more about your walking gait. Have a friend watch you walk barefoot 15 feet directly away and back. If your friend doesn’t see any unnatural movement in your ankles, then you should be in a neutral shoe. If your ankles rolling in or out excessively, you’ll want to be in a stability shoe, which has a denser material on the sole that helps prevent that issue. Just know that to be in either type of shoe is not a bad thing. It’s just a matter of customizing the fit and feel to your personal walking or running stride.

Shoe Types

Running, Walking, Cross Training – these are the key words to keep in mind when deciding which shoes to wear for specific workouts. These days, shoe companies have figured out ways to make running and walking shoes pretty synonymous with each other. They’re built with the main purpose of going forward with minimal side-to-side motion, whereas cross training shoes are lower to the ground and should have a much more snug fit on your foot to tackle forward, backward, left and right movements. So, if you enjoy mixing your weeks up with running, walking and gym work, you’ll want to have both running/walking and cross training shoes in your arsenal. If you find yourself exclusively in the gym, a pair of cross training shoes should do your feet – and body – good.

Injury Prevention

The best way to keep your feet, your body and, most of all, your mind in tip-top shape is to rotate training shoes. Try mixing up your workouts by running and walking on grass and dirt trails. Do some yoga and light weight training. Make sure your longer runs are at a pace that you can hold a conversation without needing to catch your breath. And, lastly, be sure to take a couple rest days each week. Given all the training you’re putting in this summer, your body and mind will thank you. Heck, give one of our massage services a try!

Learn From the Best

Google can only do so much! Below are a few go-to local specialty running shoe stores who provide complimentary shoe fittings. Many also have partnerships with physicians in the area who can assess any aches and pains you might be experiencing for free or at a discounted cost.

Train Hard, Train Often, Train Smart

YWCA Minneapolis employs top-notch fitness instructors who can help you stay in tip-top shape. There’s no better way to do that than trying out our fitness classes or tackling a weekly plan to improve your health. Be sure to ask your instructor or class leader any questions you might have about training plans, shoes, or aches and pains you’re experiencing. At the end of the day, we’re here to help you become a happier, healthier you!