I asked Tom (who wrote last week’s blog on nutrition) to explain a little more about what should we consider when we’re buying trainers.
You can also follow Tom on Instagram. (Edge of the Herd)

Are you wearing running shoes to workout in?

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

I would say I’m a minimalist. I am conscious of how many items I collect and have a spartan attitude to possessions. With that said, you may be surprised to hear that the same guy that only owns 50 items of clothing, (including under crackers) also has a few different pairs of trainers (the minimalists will revoke my membership for this I’m sure!). 

So how don’t I just have one pair? Well because weirdly owning a few different pairs for different activities is MORE cost effective and minimalist than just having one pair and here’s why: 

The sensible person’s guide to putting stuff on your feet to exercise.

I’m not generally a fan of specialisation, this ethos extends to my attitude towards my physical health, I like running, cycling, swimming, climbing, lifting weights, mobility and yoga. I’d definitely class myself as a jack of all trades. Now it would be easy to get caught up into thinking you NEED a ton of different stuff to do all these things (pesky marketing companies!) but the reality is you actually don’t. THAT said, I will happily invest in a pair of running shoes and gym trainers. 

“Running shoes AND Gym trainers” – Huh? Aren’t they the same thing? No dear reader, they are not.

Gym Trainers: Durability and simplicity are what you should look for here. They don’t need to be fancy, they just need to last. (that’s the quick answer).

A simple flat sole (without a heel and no fancy bubbles or foam) helps keep your foot stable on the floor whilst moving weights and sturdy sides keep your foot from wiggling around inside your shoe.

Bonus points if you can find a trainer that has a wide ‘toe box’ as well, letting your toes spread naturally which will further help your stability. 

As for mesh and breathability…..when was the last time you ever saw your feet dripping with sweat… No me neither, so don’t get sucked into paying more for a feature that will provide little to no benefit and shorten the lifespan of your shoe. 

Running shoes: Now a lot has been said in recent times about the benefit of bare foot style, super low profile running shoes BUT (and it’s a big but) there’s a caveat to these benefits. Low profile trainers can be great for your joint health but they come as part of a wider lifestyle change, there’s no point suffering through the discomfort of adapting to wearing low profile trainers if you are going to walk around in normal (slight healed) shoes, the rest of the time. I’ve been there, I’ve done it, it’s just not worth it. So if you are going to take up running, my advice would be to invest in a decent pair of running trainers. There are plenty of places now that can take a look at your feet and advise you on what pair will suit you best. Good running trainers will all have a few things in common though;

  1. They will have a soft, cushioning sole
  2. They’ll be lightweight trainers…maybe they’ll even have some mesh!… You know, for the ‘breathability’!?
  3. They have a certain number of ‘advised miles’. This is the distance that they will ‘last’ giving you the support they are designed for. 

And this last point, my good reader, brings us to the crux of the matter. If you are going to spend money on a particular pair of trainers that have NONE of the beneficial features of a good gym trainer, why would you shorten the lifespan of that shoe by wearing it in the gym? By buying a cheap pair of basic gym trainers, I can extend the life of my fancy running trainers. 

And that good reader, is the end of my tale…now I’m off to clean said running shoes, after all, they are the only pair I have!