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Sports shoes & footwear

Before you get yourself a personal trainer, before you sign up at a gym and even before you start your very first workout, the first thing that you need to get is appropriate footwear. Wearing the wrong training shoes can prevent you meeting your targets now and leave you with serious injuries later in life. 

It is completely true that you can start work on an effective training regime without even setting foot in a gym. And there are plenty of people out there who are choosing to do all the work at home by getting rid of all the equipment they deem to be unnecessary. Even if you choose to do that, the one piece of equipment that you will never be able to do without is your footwear. This is what makes your choice of shoe arguably the most important equipment decision that you will make.

Sports shoes vary massively and provide all different types of support for all different types of sport. Twenty or thirty years ago you might have been able to buy one shoe that did everything but now there is so much research that goes into crafting these trainers that each one is designed for a specific purpose.

So before we talk about what different shoes offer, we should discuss why it is so important to get this decision right. Well firstly we want to see the best results possible right now. When we put work in at the gym you want to see the results on your body and you certainly don’t want those results jeopardised by a poor choice in footwear. The other thing is that you don’t want to risk getting serious injuries in later life. The usage of incorrect training shoes has been linked to a number of lower body condition ranging from shin splints to blisters.

The truth is a lot of are wearing the wrong shoe. Some of us might have just picked up the cheapest one we could find, while others might have the right shoe but the wrong workout. Having the perfect tennis shoe is great but if you haven’t played tennis since you were a teenager and you spend every Saturday morning running then they are of little use.

One of the key things that we need a training shoe to offer is flexibility. Whatever the sport that you play is, you are going to need the freedom that a flexible shoe provides. However,  if you need a shoe to run in then you are going to need a much more flexible trainer than someone who plays tennis. You need to know that if you are running long distances that you have that ability to bend your foot in every single step.

At the same time, you also need to consider stability. Using the same example as before, if you are playing tennis you are going to be moving, forwards, backwards and sideways a lot more than someone who is running straight ahead. So you need footwear that is stable enough to support this sort of movement.

Sports shoes are also varied in the amount of cushioning that they provide. If you play a high impact sport like basketball then you are obviously going to need a cushioned sole that is designed to absorb the impact each and every time that you land. If, on the other hand, you have a pair of fitness shoes for aerobic exercises in the gym then it is unlikely that quite as much cushioning will be required.

Unfortunately there is little place for sentiment when it comes to your training. Keeping an old pair of trainers because you have trained in them since 1997 might make a great gym story but it will be doing next to nothing to help you achieve even more. If you are going to invest in just one piece of equipment then footwear is where you should be spending your money. Ensuring that the shoe you are wearing is the right one could be the difference between you meeting your fitness goals and falling disappointingly short.

Ollie Lawrence