Different types of workout shoes, explained

The new year is the perfect time to refresh your workout routine. Maybe you're heading to the gym more to smash that New Year's Resolution. Or perhaps you just want to be more active outdoors. No matter the case, you can't get to burning calories without a good pair of shoes. But a trip to the sporting goods store might be a little overwhelming. With so many shoes to chose from, how do you know which ones are best? Should you go for trainers or running shoes? And what's the difference between tennis shoes and sneakers?

It's important to choose the right type of footwear for your physical activities to avoid injury. We're breaking down all the different types of athletic shoes so you can look *and* feel fabulous during your workout.

Running shoes

Running shoes are best for—you guessed it—running. They have a lot of support and cushioning for high impact pounding on the pavement or the treadmill. The perfect running shoes should fit snug in the heel and midfoot but have a little room near the toes. To make your running shoes last longer, only use them for running. If you're heading out to the mall or taking your dog for a stroll, opt for a simple pair of walking shoes instead.

Training shoes

If you're lifting weights or doing a HIIT circuit, opt for a pair of training shoes instead. They are designed to support lateral motion and have extra support in the heel and ankle. This makes them a great choice for moves like squats and deadlifts. Training shoes are a good all-in-one option for most indoor gym workouts.

Tennis shoes

You might think of the term "tennis shoes" as a catch-all for any type of sneaker, but real tennis shoes should only be worn on the tennis court. They are flatter than traditional athletic shoes and have special soles to control traction on different court surfaces. Tennis shoes are also built for side-to-side motions, so they're not great for forward-focused workouts like running.

Track and field shoes

Track and field shoes are basically running shoes with a twist. They have spikes to improve traction on the track, which helps to increase speed in sprints and races. Like tennis shoes, this type of footwear should only be worn on the track.

Lifestyle sneakers

Vans, Converse and Air Force 1s are certainly stylish, but they should *never* be worn during a workout. They aren't designed to support athletic movements, and you will probably find yourself with sore feet or legs afterward. Although they're called sneakers, save these shoes for the streets.

What's your favorite kind of athletic shoe? Send us a tweet and let us know @girlslifemag!


by Kathleen O'Neill | 1/10/2021