How to Choose High-Intensity Training Shoes
Learn the difference between running and training shoes, and what to wear for cross-training sessions.
Running shoes are a common choice for beginners who go to the gym in running shoes. This is not the best way to go.
One universal rule that applies to all sports, games, and exercise programs is this: Match your shoes to the activity.
It’s a simple question. What if you didn’t have the right footwear or boots to take on a serious hike? You can’t play a field sport with no cleats, or turf shoes. You can’t wrestle without your wrestling shoes. No.
You don’t want to show up at the gym in whatever kicks you have lying around. To get the most out of your workout, you’ll want to look for training shoes made specifically for HIIT and cross-training movements.
ENTER THE HIIT-CROSS-TRAINER
HIIT shoes help you feel connected to the ground. They keep you stable.
This allows you to form a stronger, more stable foundation for weight-lifting activities such as medicine balls, kettle bell swings, clean and jerks, and other exercises. This type of activity has a wide range of exercises, which is what makes it unique. Actually, HIIT training includes everything, from sprints and dynamic cardio to compound movements and box jumps to rope climbing and rope climbing.
These shoes also have other benefits. Butler stated that these shoes are flexible enough to let you run, jump and move quickly.
Due to the wide range of activities, HIIT Cross-Training Shoes often include special features such as a high rubber sole and friction protection across the toe and upper midfoot (sometimes called the cage), to aid rope climbs and a harder, stickier sole for stability and box jumps.
What NOT to Wear
Beginners often wear running shoes to the gym. Running shoes are not made for HIIT. They are not cross-training or running shoes. They force athletes onto their front feet, creating instability, especially for those who lift weights, do kettle bell swings, and have loads above them.
Trust us, the last thing that you want is to be unstable while lifting weights above your head.
This instability is due to what’s known as the “drop”, which measures the difference between the heel height of the heavily padded rear and the front. Running shoe drops typically measure 8 millimeters, or more, with a substantial amount of foam cushioning. This is great for running. This is not the best for high-intensity running.
Running shoes are designed to move in one direction, which is forward. No matter what direction you move, training shoes will keep you in place, no matter how fast or slow you go. When we asked Butler about the most important thing a beginner should look out for in a shoe, her answer was simple: “Stability.”
This is why HIIT shoes are designed to have a minimum drop of 4 millimeters. Although a difference of 4 millimeters may not seem like much, when combined with other features on training shoes, it can make a significant difference. The padding in most running shoes is not strong enough to support serious HIIT sessions.
Beginners should forgo weightlifting-style, cross-training shoes. These shoes usually have a strap that wraps around the foot and is often a zero drop.
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT
The HIIT shoe is the master of all trades in the footwear industry. You’ll be running, jumping and climbing in them. They can be used as a base for weight training, as well as a cushion for running and jumping.
Cross-trainers can feel very different to your feet if you are used to running shoes or shoes with high heels. This is to be expected. It’s okay to be different. However, discomfort is not OK. They should feel comfortable enough to go straight to work. If they feel like you have to break them in, they are not ideal.
If you feel any pinching, rubbing, or hot spots after putting them on, you can try a different size, model, or brand.
This post was written by Darryl Johnson, Co-Owner of Apex performance. At Apex performance we are a community of highly trained experts looking to provide performance enhancement and a permanent lifestyle change for our clients in a fun and interactive environment. Members can take advantage of one-on-one training, small group classes, and specialized courses for a wide variety of athletics, sports training, and body goals! Click Here to learn more!