When shopping for workout shoes, are you basing your choice on color or function?  Many of us, me included, will make the choice based on what we find visually appealing without even thinking twice about what we plan to do in them.  If you find that you have nagging injuries after your workouts but are doing everything as prescribed with good form, then maybe it is time to take a look at your shoes.  It is important to understand that shoes serve a function; they protect and provide a solid foundation for our bodies as we move through space.  If we do not have a solid foundation, then we are putting ourselves at risk for unnecessary injury.  You would not want to show up for a track workout in court shoes, such as volleyball or basketball shoes, and expect to run wind sprints.  Likewise, it would make no sense to wear running shoes to play basketball.  You would be surprised at how many people do this very thing and then complain of pain in their feet, joints, or other areas of the body. 

When shopping for workout shoes you must first ask yourself what activity will you be using them for?  If you are an avid runner, then it is imperative that you invest in a good running shoe.   A good running shoe will offer the best support based on your foot shape, running style and wear pattern.  If you are a beginner then I would suggest hitting up a running store where a knowledgeable associate can help you find the right shoe.  The information you learn alone is priceless.  You will leave more educated and know exactly what to look for when it is time to replace those running shoes, which typically have a 300-400 mile lifespan.

If you are not a runner but find yourself doing more interval training or are someone who is involved in different types of activities then a good cross-training shoe would be the best choice.  According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a cross training shoe is a hybrid of several different types of athletic footwear. They may have the heel cushioning of a running shoe, the lateral stability of a tennis shoe or basketball sneaker, and the forefoot cushioning of a volleyball shoe. They may be made of all leather type materials, or may have flexible materials like a running shoe around the toe or sides. The benefit of a cross-training shoe is that the shoe is versatile enough to be utilized for various activities, and for those who participate in different activities, but do not specialize in one.

I know it is tempting to buy the sale shoe or the one that matches your favorite workout pants, but remember that your shoe is not there for just aesthetic purposes.  First and foremost, they are there for protection and support.  With all the different types of athletic shoes out there make sure you are shopping and choosing based on what type of workout you are participating in.  It could mean the difference between being in constant pain and enjoying your workouts pain free.