Many people underestimate the importance of shoes when it comes to exercises. They take their time to plan workout regimens, but completely neglect the issue of proper footwear. When it is time to hit the road, most of them just pick whichever sport shoes that captures their eyes. However, what they fail to realize is that all training shoes are not the same. There is a wide variety of training shoes designed for different types of workouts. For instance, there are shoes for weightlifting, running, cycling, and even yoga. Substituting one for the other could negatively impact your performance or even lead to serious injury.

So, should you invest in a closet full of shoes? You can if you don’t mind breaking bank. However, the cheapest and best alternative is to invest in a pair of cross training shoes. Contrary to popular opinion, cross training shoes are not new. They have been here for a while since the 1980s when Reebok and Nike designed multipurpose shoes that could be used in various exercises, such as running, weight lifting and aerobics. Here are the top 10 tips to help you find the best cross training shoes.

Tip 1: Examine your feet

The only feature of the feet that most people are aware of is the size. Most people do not know how to classify their feet in terms of shape. To get the right cross training shoes, you will have to examine the shape of your feet. The simplest way to do this is to wet your foot and then step on a piece of paper to trace the footprint. What is the shape of the footprint?

There are three type of shapes. First, the footprint will be an entire sole with little or no curves on the inner part. This means you have flat feet or your feet have low arches. Secondly, the footprint may show a narrow connection between the forefoot and the heel. This means you have high heels. The last option is a distinct curve along the inner parts of the sole. This is an indicator of the neutral arch. Kindly note that the three foot shapes have different shoe requirements.

Tip 2: Shape of your feet should determine the shoes you buy

If you have flat feet or low arches, then your feet naturally roll inwards. Therefore, the soles of your shoes tend to wear and tear from the inside. You will need shoes with maximum support and motion control features. If you have high arches, then your shoes mostly wear out on the outside edges. Cushioned shoes with soft midsoles would be the most ideal in this case. For the neutral footprint, you will need stability shoes with the right blend of cushioning and support.

Tip 3: Take note of your feet changes

As we grow older, our feet change. To be precise they grow large, due to tissue degeneration and loose ligaments. You should measure your feet at least twice a year to know the right size of your feet. Do not rely on past measurements, as these tend to change over time. Also, feet tend to swell during the day with the peak of the swelling witnessed in the evenings. It is therefore advisable to shop in the evenings at the peak of the swelling to get the right fit. As you exercise, your feet tend to expand, which can be extremely uncomfortable if the shoes are very tight. You will need extra room for the expansion.

Tip 4: Shoe sizes are not equal across all brands

Shoe sizes vary from brand to brand. Therefore, when shopping for training shoes go with what fits right and not by the size of the shoe. Also, when you go shopping go with a pair of socks or skinners you wear during exercises. The shoes have to fit perfectly with the socks on. This also include orthotics, the shoes should fit with them inside. In addition, make sure you do a run or walk test in the store to ensure they feel good.

Tip 5: Use the thumb rule to get the perfect fit

Ensure that there is at least a thumb’s size worth of space (approximately ½ inch) between the front of the largest toe and the front end of the shoe. This is to allow room for expansion of the feet. The space should be large enough to allow the toes to freely wiggle. This will allow easier movement of blood in the feet and also prevent overstraining of the feet. However, the feet should fit tightly on the heels to prevent the shoes from coming off during movements.

Tip 6: Look for the right heel support

Construction of the heel support is a very important aspect of all cross training shoes and it is what separates them from other sneakers. The heel support of most cross training shoes are usually firmer than other sneakers and are usually constructed from the following materials: Eva Foam, High Abrasion Rubber and TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane). The three materials are lightweight, durable and resistant to compression. They are therefore very resistant to whichever rigorous training you put them through, including weightlifting exercises.

It is worth noting that most of your body weight will be concentrated on the heels. The heels therefore need to be strong enough to lift at least two times your body weight. In addition, some brands have additional support for the heel that cups around the balls of the feet. This feature ensures the heel is locked in place during those exercises that exert pressure on the heels, such as rope climbing and pushups.

Tip 7: Midsole flexibility is a priority

Cross training shoes are designed for multi-directional movement. For this to be possible, the midsole has to be very flexible to allow seamless transitions to various positions and movements. Equally important is the size of the midsole. Cross training shoes have a slightly larger midsole than the average sneaker. This allows extra support and also provides extra grip for exercises that require squeezing of the feet, such as med balls and rope climbing.

Tip 8: Durability of the shoes’ upper part is very important

While most people concentrate on the firm construction of the soles, the area that takes the most beating is usually the upper part of the shoes. Since the soles are generally designed to last a long time, the upper construction of the shoes will determine whether the shoes are durable or not. Unfortunately, different brands use various layers of materials for the upper construction and in different degrees. It can be hard therefore to tell which brands are more durable than others.

However, common materials used in most brands include: Flyknit, synthetic mesh, textured rubber, Cordura, Flexweave, Dyneema and Nylon. Aside from durability, comfort should be also a priority. No need of having shoes that will last a lifetime, but make your life a living hell in the process. The upper part should be very flexible to allow all manner of movements. In case your feet tend to sweat a lot, then go for shoes constructed from breathable material to allow proper air movements.

Tip 9: Ensure there is enough traction on the soles

Walking and running shoes generally have less traction because the movements are usually forward. On the other hand, cross training sneakers usually have more tractions than the average sneaker to allow sudden and sharp movements in all directions. Therefore, the treads should be both high in number and impervious to wear and tear. Also, the soles should be heavier and wider than other sneakers and also be able to expand beyond the size of the upper section of the shoe.

Tip 10: Go hi-tech or go home

We are in the age of Interactive Haptic Footwear. Key players in the footwear industry such as Nike, UnderArmour, Altra Running and Adidas are revolutionizing the footwear industry by incorporating smart technology into shoes. Now, there are shoes that can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. Some shoes have the ability to keep records of your exercises, analyze the data and even give you recommendations on how to improve your workouts. Others have self-lacing feature that automatically laces when they sense a foot inside them. There are many great features that you will come across once you make the transition to hi-tech shoes.

Although cross training shoes are designed for a varied fitness regimen, many people including athletes are adopting them because they are more reliable and very durable. There are tons of new and improved cross training shoes with aesthetic designs and durable features. You will definitely find one that works for you perfectly.

Author's Bio: 

Asif Juzar is the co-founder of Prosportsae.com- leading online shopping destination for fitness and sports equipment. Asif is a fitness freak & he loves to help users to discover and choose the right fitness equipment. You can reach him at asif@prosportsae.com