Cross Trainers vs Running Shoes: They are not interchangeable

June 16, 2010 | Comments: None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Equipment, Exercises & Workouts, Wellness

When I am talking to a new client one of the first things I do is look at their shoes. Are they old? New? Covered in grass stains? Cross trainers or running shoes? Many of my clients buy new shoes before the second session because the shoes they think are the most comfortable shoes ever are really just an injury waiting to happen. If you think it is just fine to run a 10K in your cross trainers or to perform a lateral lunge in a pair of running shoes, think again. There are several differences between cross trainers and running shoes with the main difference being what they are designed for: Running shoes are for running and cross trainers are for most other activities.

 

Running shoes are built with most of the support at the toe and heel, perfectly appropriate for the forward and back motion of your foot while running. They are also pretty cushy to protect your joints from the impact of running on asphalt and cement. What they don’t have much of is lateral (side-to-side) support which is what a cross trainer is all about. Most cross trainers have a wide heel-base for stability and a significant amount of material along the outside edges of the shoe. Lateral support is key to stopping your foot from sliding around in your shoe, or even off the sole, during a lunge to the side, a sit back into a squat or while balancing on a BOSU. Because of all this extra support and stability, cross trainers are much less flexible, less cushioned and heavier than a running shoe. For example, my running shoes together weigh less than a pound, while my cross trainers together weigh about a pound and a half. Who needs that extra weight when trying to shave seconds or minutes off their race time?

 

Using the wrong tool for a job is never a good idea. That analogy extends to shoes. Always wear the right shoe for the activity you are performing, and that may mean you have two pairs of sneakers in your closet. And while you’re at it, don’t wear old shoes. Shoes have their limits and break down over time. If your workout shoes are more than six months old, you probably need a new pair. If you are suffering shin splints, foot pain, numb feet, hip or back pain after or during exercise, take a look at your shoes. Is the sole worn down or sloping? Are there holes? Are there deep creases in the outsole? You need new shoes.

 

Want more information on cross trainers? Dicks’ Sporting Goods has a really nice breakdown of what to look for here.

And here is a great guide, also from Dicks’, onĀ how to fit a running shoe.

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