Running shoes and cross trainers (known merely as training shoes) can be hard to differentiate just by looking at them. Although they both look similar, the key differences between the two come in the form of sole flexibility and heel drop (distance from the heel height to the toe height).
Running shoes all have a higher heel drop, meaning they are primarily made for heel-to-toe movement. You can feel the elevated heel drop from the extra cushioning and support that running shoes offer. Try running with these shoes on a track.
Training shoes are built for lateral movement, that is, side to side movement. Cross strainers generally have a flatter sole. This enables movement flexibility in many directions. These are the sort of shoes you take to the gym.
What Are Running Shoes Used For?
Well, as the name implies, running shoes are best used for running. But how do running shoes facilitate running? You see, while you run, your feet continually pound the pavement. Without the extra cushioning of running shoes, you could injure your foot on a track run or jog. Unlike cross trainers which enable lateral
movement, running shoes are primarily designed for forwarding movements. This means you are generally more comfortable wearing a running shoe for a sprint or a long distance run due to its shock absorption quality.
What are Cross Trainers Good For?
Cross trainers are generally good for activities that involve side to side movements. Unlike running shoes which are limited to running activities, cross trainers are very useful for a long list of high impact training. Here is an overview of how training shoes fit best for the following activities:
- * High-intensity gym classes – provides a cushion for high impact exercises.
- *Outdoor boot camps
- *Strength training – cross trainers, provide extra space in for the forefoot.
- *Weight lifting – heel support helps you squat lower and stand up repeatedly.
- *Agility training – contains outsole patterns and grooves to ease friction during lateral movement.
- *Short distances on a treadmill – although, distances extending beyond 5k go better with running shoes.
How Cross Trainers Should Fit
As opposed to running shoes, cross trainers have a more comfortable upper sole and a flexible midsole. It also has a lower heel drop which keeps you close to the ground enabling you to push off and pivot at will.
Cross trainers are generally lightweight shoes designed for effective and efficient movement in all directions. So, if that cross trainer you won doesn't feel this way, you should consider changing them before they hurt your feet
The Risks of Using the Wrong Footwear to Workout
Many people neglect the effects of using inappropriate footwear to work out. People will wear just about any shoe to the gym and complain about pains in their heel afterward. Don't be one of them, because wearing the wrong shoes to work out could lead to the following:
1. Discomfort: Using a running shoe to exercise or using a cross trainer to run track could cause discomfort in so many different ways. You could experience sore feet, aches, pains and even blisters. The right shoes never get in the way of your workout.
2. Reduced Performance: This is a no brainer. Wearing the wrong shoes will hold you back from achieving your full training potential. Imagine wearing running shoes at the gym; you will be denied the proper grip and flexibility that a cross trainer would otherwise provide. Also, imagine wearing cross trainers on the track, you will find it difficult to up mileage while running.
3. Injuries: The injuries that come from wearing the wrong footwear may occur in different ways. For example, using running shoes for lateral movements could cause ankle sprains. Running in training shoes could get you plantar fasciitis (in other words, inflammation of the underfoot).
Wear appropriate shoes. Choose running shoes for runs. Select cross trainers for high-intensity workouts. Keep in mind also, the size of the shoes. Asides are wearing the wrong shoes; nothing causes injuries more than wearing the wrong size of shoes. If you're still confused about what footwear is best for you, visit your local specialty sports store.