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If the Shoe Fits... The Activity

Style Feature

Written by Samantha Lund

Photos provided by Brooks

When it comes to creating a healthier lifestyle, choosing the right footwear is critical to creating healthy routines and getting up for those early-morning runs, or late-night lifts.

Regardless of the activity you’re doing, most people throw on the same pair of trainers they’ve had for years or they frequently switch shoes as new trends in color and shape come around. Not that your feet shouldn’t be stylish, but picking the shoe that’s right for your workout is much more important.

If your workout routine mainly consists of equal parts cardio, lifting, sports and classes, then a classic pair of trainers might be just the right fit for you. However, if you’re an athlete focusing on one discpline, you might be wearing the wrong shoes.

“We always recommend choosing sneakers based on the intended activity to ensure you’re properly protected. Running is a great example,” says Bennett Grimes, Footwear Product Line Manager at Brooks Running. “At Brooks, every design and engineering choice we make is intended to improve the runner’s performance and his or her running experience to make the run better, faster, safer, more comfortable and ultimately more rewarding and fun.”

Since 2001, Brooks has focused on creating a culture that revolves around runners and their feet. Every product and decision is made to improve the experience runners have each time they hit the trails.

Everything begins with biomechanics, Grimes explains, and Brooks is focused on understanding how the body moves so they can deliver solutions to meet the needs of all runners.

After five years of research, Brooks’s Run Signature program was developed to pair runners with their ideal shoes by focusing on how that particular person’s body moves. If you walk into a Brooks store looking to buy a new pair of shoes, the sales associates will likely get you on a treadmill to track the way your body moves and suggest the right shoe for you.

That research and attention to running form go into each sale, and both are used when the company determines new products and how they’ll be brought into the market.

“While we’re also looking at things like new materializations and construction technology, ultimately anything we bring to market will be based on feedback and insights directly from the runner,” Grimes says.

There are other companies hyperfocused on a single sport or movement and developing targeted gear beyond running. If your main focus in the New Year is to begin a weight-lifting routine with minimal cardio, you have another set of standards to meet. While running shoes are built to cushion the impact from your feet hitting the ground, weight-lifting shoes emphasis foot-to-ground contact and stability.

For example, when dead lifting, weight-lifting shoes with minimal cushion and height allow for a more stable base and closer contact to the ground, allowing your legs to create more force that isn’t diminished by shock-absorbing running soles.

Determining the type of shoe you’ll need is only step one. Fit is another huge factor in staying healthy while putting your body through the stress of training. For each category of shoe, there’s a different checklist for determining size and fit.

At Brooks, the basic rule to follow is that the space between the tip of the shoe and where the big toe lands should be the width of your thumb. “This gives the optimum amount of space to allow for proper flex and possible swelling that will occur during and after your run,” Grimes says.

As well, the shoe should fit snug on top, but not tight enough where you might feel a tingling sensation or any numbness. Those are just the standards for Brooks, and each category and style of shoe is meant to fit, cushion and move differently.

Crossfit shoes, for example, should be light and are meant to move and contort with your foot as you switch from heavy impact and movement to sturdy weight lifting. They should fit like a sock, and be tight enough that you can’t step on the heel and pull your foot out without unlacing.

The best course of action is to decide which type of shoe will fit your fitness goals, then head into a store and have a professional help you from there, Grimes explains. “It’s important to choose [a shoe] that works best for your unique body.”

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