Did you know that 40 per cent of Singaporeans increased their exercise activities during COVID-19? If you are one of these people who have been working hard during the COVID-19 pandemic but have developed some knee or ankle injuries, you might be wondering if it is due to improper footwear. Or if you are new to exercise and are wondering what shoes to choose, fret not! Here at FITLUC, our personal trainers have put together a simple guide on how to choose the best pair of shoes for your workout or to even Fit your Look!
Importance of Footwear
Due to different shoe designs, some are definitely better than others for different types of exercises based on your training goals in areas such as strength training, plyometrics, circuit training, cardio or even a combination of them! Here are some benefits of choosing the right shoes:
Reduction of risk for long-term knee and ankle injuries: Appropriate shoes can reduce the impact of the exercise and cushion your joints from force incurred during exercise. Eg., A common foot injury “Plantar Fasciitis” may be made worse by improper footwear due to unnecessary pressure on your foot.
Increase performance: Shoes can actually improve your technique when exercising, changing aspects like feet position, posture, depth, and most importantly safety, jall of which actually affect how you exercise.
Improve proprioception (Perception of your own body’s location, movement and actions): Proper shoes may allow you to have better control when executing the exercise, enabling you to have a better workout! Think standing on a foam mattress vs. the bare floor while squatting, which will enable you to control your movements better?
Types of commonly used shoes in the gym
1. Running Shoes
Activity: Cardio such as walking, running on the treadmill or the VersaClimber
Key Features: Soft, cushioned sole for absorbing impact, heel-to-toe movement, higher heel drop, upturned toebox (front of the shoes point upwards)
Running shoes protect your feet from the repetitive impact of landing during a run. Each time your feet lands on the ground, the force produced can be equivalent to 3-4 times your bodyweight! Over a single run, this force can be a lot for your joints! Running shoes help to improve your movement forward and provide more cushioning and support. This improves comfort over long distance runs by absorbing the impact force.
Check out our recent collaboration with Lane Eight (@laneeightsg) which blends performance and style in our FITLUC colour in Icy Mint! Check out some of their other colour ways they have! Bonus is that you can minimize the impact on the planet through their eco-friendly materials: considering that the recycled polyester knits utilize 11 single-use plastic bottles worth of material or their high-quality vegan microfiber suede which replaces traditional animal products, while maintaining performance and comfort!
2. Squat/ Weightlifting Shoes
Activity: Strength training
Key Features: Firm soles, minimal cushioning, more efficient force transfer, higher heel drop
Squat/ weightlifting shoes are designed to improve how your body moves during the squat and performance in the gym. An increased heel drop reduces the need for your ankles to travel forward as much, which allows you to have a more vertical torso and be able to hit a full range of motion more easily. It helps people with tighter ankles and hips (from sitting too long when working from home) to be able to go lower without as many restrictions in exercises that involve squatting.
The soles are often made of wood or hard plastic which allows a much more efficient transfer of force from your body into the ground and prevents your feet from shifting forwards and backwards which allows you to push into the equipment such as barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells and improve balance, resulting in a faster, stronger, and safer lift!
3. Flat sole shoes/ Sneakers
Activity: Strength training
Key Features: Zero heel drop, grippy rubber soles
In this category, it is likely you already have a pair of these shoes lying around at home. These shoes can grip the ground effectively due to their flat design. For example, when deadlifting, you want to be as close to the ground as possible to reduce the total distance (range of motion) needed to lift the weight. A flat sole shoe would help maximize your deadlift performance. If your training goals or programme have days only for strength training or lifting, you could head to the gym in any plimsole with brands such as Converse or Vans!
4. Barefoot shoes*
Activity: Strength training
Key Features: Zero heel drop, natural foot shape, minimal support
Like the aforementioned flat shoes, barefoot shoes also have a zero heel with even less cushioning and support which may potentially improve feeling how your body moves by allowing you to "feel" the ground and create force through specific areas of the feet. If you have been wearing traditional shoes your whole life, it allows you to strengthen certain foot muscles to help stability in dynamic movements such as lunges, split squats or single leg balances.
*However, due to our reliance on traditional shoes, this may take a period of time to let your feet acclimatize to using barefoot shoes, without this period of acclimatization, training in them may be dangerous or even increase the risks of injury.
5. Cross-Training Shoes
Activity: Multipurpose - a combination of lifting weights and short distance running or indoors cardio
Key Features: Firm sole for lifting weights, slight heel drop, slight upturned toebox (front of the shoes point upwards)
The popularity of Crossfit has encouraged many of the large fitness companies to develop cross-training shoes such as the Reebok Nano series or the Nike Metcon series. Cross trainers are designed to combine the benefits of each of the shoes mentioned above to give you a “one size fits all” solution for convenience, with the downside of not being the best in any one particular exercise.
Also, cross trainers often have softer foam with an upturned toebox (front of the shoes point upwards) to help running but at the same time have a hard raised heel like in weightlifting shoes to give stability in your strength training endeavours. If you have multiple training goals, these shoes will be great for anything you do in the gym.
There is no one shoe fits all solution (Pun intended), chosen types of shoes should be determined by the goals and purpose in the gym, and of course, style is important! No matter your goals, it is important for your trainers to include exercises to increase foot and ankle awareness, strength, mobility and flexibility. Our Celebrity Personal Trainers at FITLUC always provide advice to their clients during the PT session on some recommended footwear that they can use in their training sessions based on their fitness goals. They are professionally trained and certified to guide you on your fitness journey to help you #GetThatFITLook!!! So what are you waiting for? Drop us a WhatsApp message at +65 8812 0110 or book a Personal Training trial with one of our dedicated trainers to explore if personal training is the best choice for you!
Just a heads-up, it will probably be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.
Looking for a Personal Trainer in Singapore? Look no further! At FITLUC, we specialise in In-Person and Online Personal Training, and we also offer house-call PT with a small additional fee. We currently base our Personal Training clients at a well-equipped gym just a stone's throw away from Outram Park MRT.
We are recognized as one of the Top 12 Best PT in Singapore and were featured on Mothership, The Straits Times, YES 93.3FM, Yahoo News, etc. Our Personal Trainers have worked with clients aged 13 – 84, from Celebrities to CEOs, working professionals and homemakers, with goals ranging from fat loss, weight loss, muscle gain to athletic performance and elderly training. Our celebrity clientele includes Tay Ping Hui, Maxi Lim, Hazelle Teo, Tayying, Lee Teng, Ze Tong, Benjamin Tan, Jaspers Lai and more.
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