Whether it’s weight training or HIIT, casual sneakers have been the preferred choice of footwear for gym goers.
Casual sneakers are anything from canvas, pumps, boat, slip-on, high and low tops or anything ‘designer’.
When it comes to weight training, you may have heard that squatting in flat-soled shoes gives you better glute and leg gains. The reason behind this approach is because the flat surface allows your foot to stabilize as you squat which enables you to push through your heels.
Flat soled shoes itself isn’t bad. It’s the material and structure of the shoe, and the purpose it is used. What gym goers should know is that wearing casual sneakers can increase your chances of foot-related injury during weight training or workouts that have multi-directional movements such as HIIT.
Weight lifting shoes are different. They have elevated heels to help with posture when lifting. A feature that casual sneakers don’t have.
Quite simply, casual sneakers do not have any arch, ankle, midsole support or cushioning that your feet need during training. Not to mention sneakers are made of very simple materials. When you consider the increased level of force going through your feet while training, it’s no wonder podiatrist are seeing an increase in footwear related injuries.
Quite simply, casual sneakers do not have any arch, ankle, midsole support or cushioning that your feet need during training
Footwear with good arch support is designed to prevent injuries to tendons. This is especially important for people with flat feet, low or high arch.
Do you get sore calves, heels, ankle, achilles or shin splints after a HIIT session? That could be due to the lack of cushioning your feet are receiving. Multi-directional workouts require a good midsole. The midsole acts like shock absorbers which are a feature that sneakers lack.
Another feature found in most sneakers is a narrow toe box. The toe box is where your toes rest. Friction occurs when your toes don’t have enough room for movement, therefore, you risk developing corns, calluses and bunions.
A callus It’s a build-up of hard skin, usually on the bottom of the foot caused by an uneven distribution of weight. Corn is a build-up of hard skin near a bony area of a toe or between toes. A bunion (Hallux Valgus) is a type of foot deformity and it occurs when the bone at the bottom of the big toe moves out of place causing the big toe to point inward.
Those three conditions are normally treated in diabetics or the elderly; however, podiatrists are treating more patients wearing inappropriate footwear such as casual sneakers during physical activity.
When you wear ill-fitting shoes over time, you experience pain in other parts of your body such as lower limbs, hips and back. Long-term damage to your feet can mean the difference in living a pain-free quality of life or undergoing frequent rehabilitation. This is why it’s important to wear appropriate shoes to suit the type of physical activity you wish to perform. It’s the first and foremost advice that podiatrists will tell you.
If you are finding it hard to let go of your beloved sneakers, custom-made orthotics or over the counter insoles can be used to aid in the prevention of injuries. However, this alternative requires an assessment from a podiatrist.
In short, wearing casual sneakers during intense physical activity will increase your chances of a foot injury. Worse, it may affect your mobility in other parts of your body. When in doubt, book a footwear assessment with a podiatrist to have your feet and footwear checked.
Do you wear sneakers during weight training or at a HIIT session? How do your feet feel afterwards? Please leave a comment in the ‘Leave a reply’ text box below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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