Different types of athletic shoes are designed and constructed for specific activities. The advantage of cross trainers is that they are versatile, which makes them invaluable for circuit training or workout programs that switch things up from day to day. Cross trainers are not the best choice for running a marathon, but if you choose the right pair and use them as they are intended to be used, they’ll do just fine on a treadmill.
The main difference between cross trainers and running shoes is that cross trainers have a thinner sole and heel. Good running shoes have an elevated heel and are cushioned to keep as much padding between your foot and your running surface as possible. If you are using the treadmill as a warmup for cross-training, then running shoes are a bad idea because they aren’t built for side-to-side movements or twisting where the higher heel can lead to a turned ankle. A good treadmill show will also have a more rounded heel, like the ones on cross trainers.
Proper fit is essential to avoiding blisters and other injuries. Press down on the tip of your cross training sneakers with your thumb, exactly the way your mother did when you were little. There should be at least the length of your thumbnail between the tip of your big toe and the end of the shoe. Do this with both feet, because most people have one foot that is slightly larger than the other. The middle part of the shoe should not bind your foot or be so loose that even tightening the laces lets you arch your foot without touching the underside of the tongue. Your heel should move a little but not slip up and down the back of the shoe when you walk or run, because this friction can cause blisters.
Cross trainer sneakers, as their name implies, are excellent for training sessions that incorporate many different types of movements and activities. But when it comes to running, they don’t offer the support and cushioning that running shoes do. So if your treadmill workout involves running more than one mile at a time, it is better for your feet to wear running shoes. For walking on a treadmill or running one mile or less, cross-training shoes should give you the support and cushioning you need.
Treadmills can be slippery, so it is crucial that the soles of your cross trainers are not worn to the point that they offer no traction. Replace laces as soon as they break. Air your shoes out and wipe them down with antibacterial wipes once a week or so. If you are working out every day, you should either switch between two pairs of cross trainers or purchase a new pair every three to five months.
Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.