Having trained hundreds of people in my career as a trainer, I have seen a lot of different shoes on my clients’ feet. The goofiest shoes I saw were by a certain company claiming to “help tone your calves and glutes” by simply walking in them. That statement was then retracted and the company had to pay millions to consumers for their fraudulent statement. Throwing out gimmick shoes, there are two basic types of shoes when it comes to fitness; running shoes and training shoes. Which type is best depends on the activity.
Running shoes have a wedge-shaped sole, tilting you forward, designed to help aid in the heel strike of your running gait. They also are thicker, providing more cushioning to absorb the forces your body takes from the ground when running. When you take a client who already tends to supinate (bear weight on the outside of the foot) or pronate (bear weight on the inside of the foot) when doing a squat, adding running shoes in the equation can make things more unstable because of extra cushioning and cause changes up the kinetic chain at the knee and hip. This changes how you move and increase risk of injury.
When you are doing resistance training, it is best to wear a training shoe, sometimes called a cross trainer. This type of shoe provides more support in lateral movements and has a more flat sole, better for movements such as squats. You can also run for shorter distances in this type of shoe. To check if your shoes provide the right kind of support for resistance training, perform a squat while looking in a mirror. Pay attention to the knees and see if they stay over, outside or inside your feet. Then take off your shoes to do a squat and see if there is any change in your form. If your shoes change how you move when squatting, get a shoe that doesn’t.