By Emily McLaughlin
I have had my mother, father, brother, roommates, etc. ask why I have so many pairs of sneakers. My answer? They all serve a purpose. Agility drills. Linear exercises. Lateral movements. Cardio Exercise. Specialized motions need specialized shoes. If you are looking to get in shape, you must first understand the importance of proper footwear. I’m going to take you all on a journey through my closet to explain my reasoning.
Last week I took Lauren’s Zumba class at Campus Rec wearing sneakers I usually reserve for running, cardio and other gym activities I do at my own leisure (yes, I work out when I am not teaching classes… sometimes). The problem? They made the souls of my feet hurt and my knees ache. When you are taking a dance cardio class, you need a shoe that is going to allow you to twist, turn and slide (especially in a Latin-oriented class like Zumba). Sneakers designed for running or outside activity have more tread than dance shoes. The tread keeps you from sliding and twisting which makes the workout harder to follow and replicate. The extra rubber also causes joint pain pain in the souls of your feet from improper support.
Here are solutions:
- Dance in a pair of sneakers that are worn in-the less tread the better.
- Try my favorite Nikes. The Musique. The Huarache. I have both. The Musique is great for turning and has great arch support. The Huarache is stylish and amazing–they go on like slippers.
- Buy a training sneaker. They tend to have less tread and a significant amount of support.
Okay, in all honesty, I am not much of a runner. However, I have tried to run in a few different pairs of sneakers and ASICS have to be my favorite so far. Generally, running and jogging shoes are built for forward motion—that is, they’re good for heel strike to toe-off. They are also built with thicker cushioning that allows for shock absorption during impact.
Running shoes should be chosen based on your needs: are you looking for support, stability, motion-control or to run far? Fitness Magazine recommends shoes for every running. Check out their suggestions.
This summer I plan to do a lot of hiking (There… It is in writing… I have to go now). Last weekend I took a trip up Mount Sugarloaf in a pair of old Nikes. They were a fine choice, but I wish that I had a sneaker with a little more tread to handle the rough terrain. There was a point where we encountered a slippery slope, and my sneakers were just sliding over the mud.
The best option is to own some hiking boots—but that is if you are a regular hiker. For us occasional hikers, an old pair of sneakers that have retained some tread for traction will do.
Check out some of the photos from our hike!
I have a pair of training sneakers that I use for work (walking around the gym) and for training exercises. Training exercises take advantage of repeated movements to condition specific parts of the body. This technically pertains to anything from lateral moves in an aerobics class to high-impact cardio kick to conditioning and weightlifting.
These shoes are flexible and allow me to move around easily with still providing me with the flexibility, cushion and support I need. This combination allows me to move easily from weight lifting exercises like squats along to more flexible movements like lunges, while accommodating linear movements for warm-up such as a brief walk or light jog. The soles of training shoes usually have a very supportive heel and slight treads since they’re not intended for running on the road.
Sneakers for Leisure
You need to have sneakers to accommodate your every day activities, including leisure. I have a few other pairs of sneakers to compliment any outfit from a pair of jeans and a tee to a summer skirt. In my eyes,everyone needs a pair of Keds and Chucks.