DO YOUR FEET HURT WHEN YOU WORKOUT? YOU MIGHT BE WEARING THE WRONG SHOES

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WHAT DO TRACK RUNNERS, OLYMPIC LIFTERS, GOLFERS, BASEBALL PLAYERS, DANCERS & BALLERINAS ALL HAVE IN COMMON? THEY ALL WEAR SPECIFIC SHOES FOR THEIR SPORT/ACTIVITY AND THE SAME IS GOING TO BE TRUE FOR YOUR TRAINING.

Along with their skill set, the folks I listed above are all required to have the proper footwear not just for aesthetic reasons but instead to perform at their highest potential.

If you're serious about your training and seeing results, you're going to need to invest in the right shoes. Having the right shoes is a non-debatable because your shoes directly affect and impact your form.

There is no point in becoming better at a workout with shitty form.

One of my most FAQ is about foot pain. Here's a question I received on Twitter last week. She wrote: "When I squat in sneakers, my arch tends to hurt later on. But when I squat in just my socks...I'm okay. What am I doing wrong?" 

Sometimes we feel pain, and because we think it's normal and we often ignore it. But I'm here to tell you that pain in your body is not normal.

If you're having pain in your foot during or after your workout it's probably attributed to one of these 3 things:

  1. You're wearing the wrong shoe for the activity type
  2. Your shoes have too many miles on them and you need new ones
  3. They are not the right shoe for your foot type

I can relate to this sentiment because it happened to me when I first started getting serious about my training. When I first got into the fitness game, I was doing a lot of running and the bottom center of my feet (& shins) were killing me and I couldn't figure out why.

My colleague Laura Menucci (an avid runner), suggested I try a running specialty shoe store called Marathon Sports in MA.

I'd been used to using the same sneakers I bought 5 years before from Finish line and wasn't sure what the difference was or if going to this store would help me but GIRL I dead wrong.

10 minutes after going to the running specialty store and having them do their thing I realized that they knew what they were doing.

The first thing that happened at the store was that it was SUPER SMALL.

They did a visual gait analysis, where they watching me walk without shoes to determine how the foot bears weight during the gait cycle.

Then they select a shoe as a starting point and tell you to go outside and start walking.

They'll educate you about your foot structure, what they see when they watch you run, and why they selected this shoe for you.

 Once they've narrowed you down to a particular fit and support category, then it's all on you (or your feet, to be more precise).

Then they bring out a few similar options and let your feet tell you which ones are the best.

After reading this post, you'll:

  • Learn that the best shoe for you has less to do with the brand and more to do with  your individual foot mechanics
  • Understand why you shouldn't use your running shoes to dance or your flat lifting shoes to run
  • Know why you should skip the mall to get your workout kicks
  • There's definitely a difference between shoe's for fashion and shoes for training.

 

Let me break down some important foot terminology for you:

  • Your Pronation is the way your foot rolls inward when you walk or run. It's part of the natural movement that helps the lower leg deal with the shock of your feet hitting the pavement. Some people pronate more (overpronation) or less (under pronation) than others.
  • Your Stride is the length of your step, from heel to heel. Stride is the distance you travel with each step you take. It varies from person to person but can also vary from the same person when walking or running at different speeds.

How you pronate affects the way you walk, run and jog and may increase the likelihood of injury. This is why your pronation pattern is an important factor when choosing the right training shoes.

4 Pronation patterns:

  1. Basic (neutral) pronation helps absorb impact, relieving pressure on your knees and joints. A neutral pronation has little or few biomechanical problems.

  2. Overpronation: is identified by wear patterns along the inside edge of your shoe, and is an exaggerated form of the foot's natural inward roll. It's a common trait that affects the majority of runners, leaving them at risk of knee pain and injury. Overpronators need stability or motion control shoes.
  3. Flat Foot or severe overpronation: The severe overpronator has poor shock absorbers, disrupted foot function and can cause back or leg pain.
  4. Supination: (also called under-pronation) is marked by wear along the outer edge of your shoe. It's an outward rolling of the foot resulting in insufficient impact reduction at landing. 

Once you understand what your foot mechanics are and what kind of sneakers you should be purchasing, you'll then want to start thinking about getting activity-specific shoes.

Depending on the activity your feet will need to be able to have specific movement patterns.

 

  1. Walk/Run/ Jog: You want to get a running shoe that’s a half size up to 1 and a half size than your street shoes or heels. You don't want your shoes to fit perfectly because you'll want extra room to allow your foot to flex and your toes to move forward with each stride. Shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles. Keep track of the date that you bought them in your training log.  
  2. Hip-hop or Zumba© invest in dancing shoes that allow you to swivel and go side to side with little issues. Remember that running shoes were created for you to easily move forward and backward - not to dance.
  3. Barbell training/CrossFit: When it comes to weight training or barbell squatting, you need different shoes because lifting with running shoes would be like squatting on a pillow vs squatting on hard stable surface. Shoes with minimal cushioning will help you strengthen your muscles and stabilize the body appropriately. I would highly recommend buying cross-training shoes like Metcons. 
  4. Weightlifting: Even the slightest hint of instability can throw off your squat or deadlift. If you're getting more advanced in your weighting (squatting, cleaning, jerking and snatching) invest in weightlifting shoes with a raised heel.  

You should ALWAYS try on your shoe in the store and perform some of the activities you'll be doing in them. So for example, walk, run, jog and squat to determine whether it feels right for you. It's like being in a relationship - it's all about how it feels. The chemistry between your foot and this new shoe. :)

When you first get started, you're going to be so tempted to just use the old sneakers in the back of your closet but it's not a good idea. Worn-out shoes are one of the leading causes of injury. And wear and tear are not always apparent to the naked eye. If you want to stay healthy, fit, and injury-free, invest in a good pair of shoes.

It may feel like a lot to spend up to $150 on a pair of running shoes, but the investment is worth it. Consider this: Whatever your new shoes cost, it is likely less than the money and time you’d spend seeing the doctor because you got hurt.

Here's the bottom line, You either pay for it now upfront or pay for it later. Not wearing the right shoes can cause your hips, knees or back to get injured. If you can prevent it now - I highly recommend it! 

You can't go harder, get better, faster or stronger if your shoes are trash.

When it comes to your workout shoes, it's very individual the bottom line is to choose FEEL over popularity.

You're on your feet most of your life, wouldn't you want the best quality for both? Happy shoe shopping!

The comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there! Much love and respect 💖 — Masiel Encarnación

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