Get it wrong and they could harm your fitness routine and your body. To avoid lying on the sofa nursing shin splints, runner’s knee or early-onset arthritis it’s important to choose the right shoes for you.
Decide what you need the trainers for, and try to be specific. Don't make shoes multitask!
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If you like to hit the road, then it’s essential you get a pair of running shoes. They are lightweight and flexible, designed for prolonged or regular running on hard, even surfaces. They provide more cushioning and flexibility than regular training shoes, which aids with shock absorption, especially during impact against the ground. Designed for forward movements, they often feature a thicker heel with an arched sole. Plus, they usually have intricate threads, which help propel you forward.
Try: ASICS MetaRun (from $250), Saucony Hurricane ISO 2 (From $160) or Saucony Kinvara 7 by (from $110).
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Now, if you prefer to run off-road, you need trail-running shoes, which are designed for routes with rocks, mud, hills and other obstacles. They are enhanced with aggressive tread for solid traction and fortified for stability, support and underfoot protection.
Try: The North Face Ultra Cardiac (from $110) or Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3 (from $125).
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If you love the gym and enjoy a variety of athletic activities, from aerobics to kickboxing and weight lifting to CrossFit, then a cross-trainer may be just what you need. While other shoes are created for specific activities, a cross-training shoe is versatile: perfect if you like to mix it up.
The soles of cross-trainers are strong and stable, with enough traction to provide lateral and side-to-side support. The soles are thick and durable enough to perform well on hard gym floors, court surfaces, and even asphalt. They also need to have moderate cushioning throughout, which also adds stability. Most cross-trainers are made with leather or synthetic uppers, giving some ankle support. Others use breathable mesh to dissipate heat while you’re working out.
Try: Puma Ignite XT VT (from $80) or Nike Flyknit Zoom Agility (from $150)
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Walking is a brilliant way to increase activity levels, and we all aim to hit that 10,000 mark whenever we can. That being said, if you’re walking long distances on a regular basis, you need to invest in some comfortable walking shoes. A walker's foot hits the ground heel first and then rolls gradually from heel-to-toe, so walking shoes have a flexible sole with lots of bend. Make sure the shoe supports the natural arch of your foot and ankle with sufficient cushioning under the ball. If you can, walk up and down an incline when you try shoes on, to make sure they stay snug all over. Waterproof materials are also a bonus for walkers from wetter climes.
Try: Salomon X ULTRA 2 GTX W (from $180) or Mammut Comfort Tour Low GTX Surround (from $179).
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Whether you play basketball, netball, racquetball or tennis, it’s important you get a pair of shoes designed specifically for your court sport. Court trainers are heavier and stiffer than running shoes, and their toes are built for stop-and-go action. Unlike running shoes, they are designed for lateral movement and provide a lot of lateral support. In addition, they feature mid-foot support, durability and traction on court surfaces.
Try: New Balance 996v2 (from $120) for tennis, Adidas D Lillard 2.0 (from $105) for basketball
Feet come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and so knowing your foot is the key to selecting the right training shoes. The easiest way to determine your foot’s shape is to wet the bottom of one foot and place it on a piece of brown paper. You can even trace the wet image with a pencil to reveal the shape.
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If your footprint shows the whole sole with little or no curve, it means you've got low arches or flat feet and have a tendency towards over-pronation, meaning your feet roll inward.
You need: Motion-control or high-stability sneakers with maximum support to keep your feet better aligned with your legs.
Try: Asics Gel-Kayano 22 (from $160) or Saucony Hurricane ISO 2 (from $160).
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If the footprint shows only a small portion of your foot and heel with a narrow connection between, then you have high arches and a tendency to under-pronate or supinate, meaning your feet roll outward.
You need: Cushioning with a soft mid sole for shock absorption.
Try: Mizuno Wave Prophecy 5 (from $220) or Brooks Glycerin 14 (from $150)
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You have a neutral arch and your footprint has a distinct curve along the inside.
You need: Stability or moderate-stability shoes with a mix of cushioning and support.
Try: Saucony Triumph ISO 2 (from $160).
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