Selecting The Right Footwear For Your Workout

Shoes guide trainers

An effective training plan consists of a varied range of exercise styles. But is one pair of trainers enough for all? Find out in our free sport-shoe matching guide.

One For All?

Athletic shoes in general tend to be grouped into 3 basic categories: outdoor sports, indoor sports and multi-discipline. Within each of the first two categories are a number of subcategories while the Crossfit arena, as we’ll see below, is a unique situation. If you plan to develop a comprehensive training regime you’ll likely be including more than one sport. So how does that affect your footwear choices? Let’s take a look.

Outdoor Sports

If you plan on doing a variety of outdoor sports as part of your training package, you’ll likely need more than one pair of athletic shoes. That’s because the different outdoor sports put different demands on the feet.

  • Court Sports – Tennis, basketball and other sports that take place on a court tend to be very hard on footwear. The constant jamming of the foot into the toe as well as side to side stresses mean these shoes need to be built to last and have extraordinary grip.
  • Jogging/Running – Running shoes are the most popular type of athletic footwear because almost anyone in reasonable health is capable of jogging. Jogging shoes put a premium on shock absorption. If they didn’t the majority of joggers would develop serious knee issues.

Stretch 5

Indoor Sports

Basketball and tennis are both indoor and outdoor sports but whether you play them inside or outside the requirements of the footwear don’t change a lot. On the other hand there are some sporting activities that are almost always done indoors such as…

  • Aerobics – The vast majority of aerobics classes take place indoors, typically at a gym or health club. Aerobics shoes need to be lightweight since there is typically a lot of foot lifting involved in this type of activity. Aerobics shoes should also have plenty of shock absorption capability.
  • Volleyball – Volleyball and tennis put similar stresses on the feet. Both require quick reactions and sharp movements. Volleyball shoes need to have the lateral support and grip of a tennis shoe with the spring of a basketball shoe.

The bottom line is that if you plan to include a variety of traditional indoor sports in your training regime, 1 pair of athletic footwear isn’t going to cut it either. Which brings us to…

Jim Shelby, a U.S. civilian contractor, completes one of his 30 “clean and jerks”, the one movement which comprises “Amazing Grace,” an intense CrossFit workout which Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Task Force Bronco and soldiers and civilians from across Forward Operating Base Fenty participated in to raise money and awareness for breast cancer as part of the Mammograms in Action program Oct. 17.


Just the name is enough to send shudders down the spine of the most hardened gym rat. Still, it’s the one workout regime that you can practice without having to change shoes. A big reason for that is the approach footwear manufacturers took to Crossfit. They decided from the outset to make their Crossfit footwear multidisciplinary so you wouldn’t have to take time out to swap shoes when you should be working and you wouldn’t have to drop a ton of cash on a bunch of different shoes.

Choosing the Right Crossfit Shoes

  • The Challenge – Since Crossfit involves aerobics, weightlifting, gymnastics, running and more the challenge posed to both athletes and shoe manufacturers is formidable. The Crossfit athlete needs a single pair of shoes that will safely shift gears when they shift gears. No buts.
  • The Requirements – If you are serious about Crossfit, you’ll want to invest in top of the line footwear like the Reebok Nano or the Nike Metcon. These shoes provide the rock solid stability you need for a variety of floor-based activities, the grip you need to climb ropes and walls, and the anchor that makes for effective weightlifting.
  • Your Goals – If you’re going to hit the box twice a week you may want to spend a little less for something that is still a quality shoe like the Reebok Crossfit TR 1. If you’re going to take up residence in the box you’ll want to splurge on the Nike Metcon or the Reebok Nano.
  • Your Tastes – Crossfit shoes are some of the most attractive non-formal footwear on the market, period. From the sports car like Metcon 2 to the hybrid appeal of the Nano 5 and the controlled chaos of the Asics Gel Nimbus 15, there’s something to satisfy all tastes.
  • Fit – It’s impossible to quantify how your feet will experience a particular pair of Crossfit shoes. You’ll just have to try some on. Remember when you do that, you’re looking for lateral support, ventilation and stability above all else. Also remember to wear the socks you intend to wear in the box when you’re trying on your shoes.

Did we miss anything? If you play a specific sport – what type of footwear have you found to perform the best? Please share your experiences in the comments!

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