Aerobic exercise develops your cardiovascular system and helps control your body composition. But aerobic exercise can also place a significant amount of stress on your joints. Over time, this stress can cause problems and pain. However, the shoes you put on your feet can help dissipate this stress and keep your lower body joints healthy and pain-free. Choose a shoe that fits your aerobic workout.
Running shoes are made for traveling forward and for handling a high-impact. Road running shoes are made to take on pavement while trail running shoes are constructed to handle unstable surfaces and obstacles. Special shoes are made for pronating runners, whose feet roll inward when they hit the ground, and supinators, whose feet roll outwards during the strike. Severe pronators should use stability shoes, which feature a post at the midsole to prevent the arch from collapsing, while those who supinate are better off with motion control shoes, which are stiffer. Cushioning shoes, which focus on shock absorption, are best for those who only have minor irregularities in their running gait.
Cross Training Shoes
Unlike running shoes, cross training shoes provide you with some lateral stability. This means that they’ll protect your ankle more during side-to-side activities like step aerobics or cardio kickboxing. Their soles feature significantly less cushioning, so they’re not designed to handle high loads and should thus not be worn during longer distance runs. However, if you only run short distances and have a tendency to participate in a variety of aerobic activities, cross trainers are a quality option.
Walking shoes are made to be more flexible to allow the natural movement in the feet that occurs as your feet strike the ground. Because there’s less impact when you’re walking versus running, walking shoes aren’t constructed with as much cushioning. The focus of the shoe is to cushion the balls of the feet rather than the heels. The heel is often low and rounded to help increase support. Like running shoes, walking shoes come in a variety of styles to better support those who pronate or supinate when walking.
Shoes for Sports
Most sports are a combination of both an aerobic and anaerobic activity. Sports like basketball, tennis, soccer, handball and squash require you to accelerate, stop and change directions quickly. Therefore, shoes for most sports will provide more lateral support than walking or running shoes. Because court sports like basketball, tennis, squash and volleyball subject shoes to heavy abuse, the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society recommends picking a shoe with a sturdy sole. Shoes for tennis also vary depending on what type of surface you play on. Soft courts require a shoe with a softer sole so that there's greater traction. Shoes with more tread are used when playing on harder courts. Field sports like soccer will require shoes that have cleats, studs or spikes.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.