Investing in the right type of shoe for your aerobic workout will keep your body happy -- but, not all aerobic shoes are created equal. What's considered a good aerobic shoe for one type of workout isn't going to the best shoe for another. Having the right pair of shoes when you exercise is important to prevent foot, knee and low back pain and long-term injuries.
Dance Aerobic Shoes
In an aerobics class, you'll find yourself moving side-to-side, turning, twisting, skipping and jumping in different directions. A dance aerobic shoe is one that has good cushioning, shock absorption and arch support and allows for lateral movement. Some companies make shoes designed specifically for studio aerobics classes. If you can't find a pair of shoes designed for dance aerobics, a good pair of cross-training shoes is the next best thing. Visit a sporting goods store and ask specifically for aerobic or cross-training shoes.
Water Aerobic Shoes
The shoes you'll wear in a water aerobics class will differ from those you'll wear in a studio class. Like studio shoes, water aerobic shoes need to have good support to protect your knees. They should be lightweight and have a water drainage system built-in. Your water aerobic shoes need to be made with durable EVA foam to give your feet buoyancy in the water, and they should have good rubber traction on the bottom to prevent you from slipping in the pool as you work out.
Running and Walking
While running and power walking are both considered aerobic activities, the type of shoe you'll wear for these activities will be different from those you'll wear for an indoor aerobics class. Running shoes need to have a slight lift in the heel, should lack lateral stability, and be designed specifically for running. Walking shoes need to have a wide heel base for support and stability. The ideal power-walking shoe gives you arch support and shouldn't be too tight for your toes.
The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine recommends that you try on and buy your shoes in the afternoon after you've been on your feet for a while -- this will mimic the conditions your feet will experience during your workout. Wear you shoes only for class, and keep track of the number of hours you have worked out in them. After 60 class hours, the support in your shoes will start to break down. At 100 hours, it's definitely time for a new pair. If you start to experience low back pain, sore knees or aches in your feet or ankles, that's also means it's time to buy new shoes.
- American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine: What is Aerobic Dancing?
- Aerobics-Exercises.com; Water Aerobic Shoes
- American College of Sports Medicine: Selecting and Effectively Using Running Shoes
- Spine-Health.com: Guidelines for Buying Walking Shoes
- American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine: How Do I Know When It Is Time to Replace My Athletic Shoes?
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images