Shoes, some would say I have a few. The above is just a sample of my collection. It represents some of my “athletic” footwear. Gone are the days spent in high heels and shoes to make a fashion statement. Living in Collingwood has definitely helped me simplify my shoe shopping desires, in part due to the simpler and more practical lifestyle. Winter boots and ski boots in the winter and shoes to bike, hike, and run in the summer and of course workout shoes. The lack of fashion footwear stores also helps curb my desire for a pretty little pair of heels, not to mention how brutally uncomfortable they are on my feet!
Working is a gym setting most of my shoe purchases are now “gym” shoes and some of you have asked what shoes are good and where to buy them. Myrna and Jane both shared a great little article from the Globe and Mail on Monday, May 13 about what shoes are good for working out.
You can read the full article here:
I have sported the cushioned heeled “running” shoe back when I was logging weekly mileage 60km-80km/week (I don’t do that anymore). I have gone the minimal “barefoot” route for running too and even had some “barefoot” running shoes. I had shoes for step aerobics and water aerobics classes as well.
As I travelled down the strength and conditioning path I experimented with “Old School” Chuck Taylors and liked the connection I felt to the floor. Every once and awhile I will lift in bare feet, but with extreme caution. Dropping a weight plate on an unprotected foot does not always end well (just ask my husband). Both of these methods are not my usual go to, but my “sometimes”. They are useful in working the small muscles and tendons in the foot, that help with our connection to the floor. Our feet are the foundation for our body and they are rich with nerve endings that connect to other nerves up the legs and throughout the entire body. Putting our feet to work could theoretically “turn on” extra muscle fibers throughout the body to help move more weight and reap better muscle-building benefits.
When you squat barefoot, you are loading your entire body and moving in a way that is slightly different than you would if you were wearing shoes. And changing things up slightly in the gym is how you constantly keep your body guessing, adapting, and yes, getting stronger. Therefore it is my “sometimes”.
So what should you look for in a shoe for the gym …. Well, Crossfit shoes generally work well. They are a shoe that has been designed to have a low heel profile and flat or minimal sole. The sole should be flexible and not too stiff. The toe box should be wide to allow the ball of the foot and toes to work properly. Stuffing our feet into shoes that are too narrow does not allow them to work efficiently. They also have a bit more cushioning and support than the old school “Chuck Taylors” and will be more comfortable for some of the dynamic movements we do in class.
I have tried both Reebok and Nike Metcon and personally I prefer the Nike Metcon. I am on my second pair. I have a narrow foot and felt better supported in the Nike than the Reebok.
Finding the right shoes for you is a personal journey and may require some research and some time spent with a good salesperson who understands feet and what you are doing with your feet. Shop around and try them on. In town we have a few options. I love a certain boot fitter at Sporting Life – he helped my dad find some great shoes that were perfect for his VERY wide feet! Sport Check can be a bit hit and miss with salespeople, but they may have a different selection of shoes to try. You may have to travel outside of Collingwood. Cookstown has both a Reebok store and a Nike store for comparison purposes.
Be patient when shopping for workout shoes – remember they are not fashion shoes and are not supposed to make your feet look cute! They are supposed to make your feet work properly.