5 Ways your footwear affects your workout

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Two people running on an outdoor trail

Remember that famous 1989 Nike commercial with Michael Jordan and Spike Lee? Lee, who is playing one of his movie characters Mars Blackmon, is trying to figure out what makes Michael Jordan “the best player in the universe.” Blackmon is convinced that, “its gotta be the shoes.” Jordan repeatedly says, “No Mars.” At the end of the commercial Nike makes it known that, “Mr. Jordan’s opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Nike. Inc.” It was one of the genius marketing ploys that Nike has perfected over the years. In the case of working out, the shoes will not make you the greatest player in a sport by themselves, but they can certainly affect the success of a workout. Here are five ways it can do so and why it is important to choose the right shoes for each activity.

5) Different Shoes for Different Workouts

Before a workout, you need to decide what exercises you will be doing. Will you be running, walking, lifting or playing a sport? Some of those workouts will require different shoes than others and it all depends on how you decide to exercise that day. If you plan on running at the gym or in your neighborhood, then a running shoe that fits and is comfortable would be perfect. When it comes to walking, you are not putting as much stress on the body compared to running so wear what is comfortable to you and will not lead to injury.

With sports, it is a little bit different. In most cases, each sport has specific shoes that you wear while playing. Football, baseball and soccer have cleats that are built to wear on the field outside. Basketball has its own set of shoes that are designed to play on hardwood, blacktop and other types of surfaces. That does not mean you should go out and buy all of these shoes, but if you play the sport frequently, it might be a good idea to buy a pair of those cleats or sneakers so you feel comfortable while playing your sport.


4) Indoor vs. Outdoor

Many people like to get their exercise in the great outdoors. Climbing, repelling and hiking are great ways to get in exercise. People can go to indoor climbing and repelling gyms that are specifically built for those workouts. Those facilities will even provide you with the equipment for a reasonable fee.

Hiking is also fun and something the whole family can do together. Hiking boots will definitely be needed if you are going into the woods. Depending on the distance you plan on hiking, it might be smart to buy waterproof boots so you can walk through puddles without worrying about getting wet. Also, before setting out on your five mile hike make sure to break your boots in beforehand so you don’t get a blister half way through!

3) Worn Out Shoes

After a while, your shoes will become worn out and the time will come to purchase a new pair of them. If you continue to exercise with ripped, worn out shoes that can no longer provide the right amount of protection for your body, you are setting yourself up for injury. A study done by the Michigan State University Extension said that most running shoes are worn out after about 350 to 500 miles. That means that people that run 20 miles in a week would have to get new shoes every 20 to 25 weeks. The mid-sole of your shoe is a good indicator as to when it might be time to change. If that is starting to wear down, it is more than likely time to buy new shoes.

2) Comfort Over Style

Commercials from the major shoe companies are trying to make their shoes the most desirable and you may like what they are selling, but make sure they are comfortable before you buy them. It is not smart to buy a shoe solely based on the appearance. The shoes must be comfortable, durable and reliable so that you will feel good while wearing them. They also must be the right shoe for your activity, because picking the wrong pair can lead to injury; so be smart about what shoes you are buy for exercising.

1) Preventing Injuries

Investing in a quality shoe for any workout you are doing is a smart choice because it can prevent injuries. People who are trying to get back into shape can be stalled by injuring an ankle or knee because they did not wear the right pair of shoes. If you are unsure about what type of shoe you should be wearing, consult with a professional at sporting good or sport specialty store  because when you are working out the last thing that should be on your mind is whether or not your shoes are comfortable or appropriate.

Many shoes are designed to prevent these injuries. Running shoes have shock absorbers built in that cushion your feet. Some prefer aerobic shoes because they are also shock absorbent and put less pressure on the balls of your feet. Tennis players wear shoes that are built to handle the constant movement from side-to-side during a match and basketball shoes have thick soles in addition to high tops to prevent ankle injuries. If you plan on doing multiple sports, then cross-training shoes might be a good fit because they are made to handle numerous activities. There is a shoe out there for everyone. It is just about finding the one that is the perfect fit for your workout.

Contact JAG-ONE Physical Therapy today to learn more about our services designed specifically for athlete care.