Choose The Best Trainer For Your Workout 2020 Guide
Updated: Dec 14, 2019
How many trainers have I got? Less than Carrie Bradshaw but more than I can store in my closet. Do I need them all? Probably not. Do they all serve a purpose in my training routine? Most definitely.
The perfect workout shoe is like your best friend. It gives you comfort without asking and provides you support when everything goes down. Because everything will go down.
Thanks to advanced fitness technology, we are able to create perfectly cushioned shoes with the feeling of walking on clouds, but no one asked, what is this going to cost us? Well, a decent trainer is around £100 and upwards, but that’s not what I meant.
Wearing a running shoe with a foam midsole and elevated heel will throw off your running mechanics. Most people will run with a heel strike after putting on a running shoe, but go and try the same barefoot. Your heel will hurt as much as my little toe after accidentally kicking the bed frame this morning. Ouch!
We’re not designed to move in foamy trainers
There is a tribe in the Mexican Copper Canyons who run ultra distances (over 100 miles) at incredible speeds, in thin sandals or barefoot, without getting the routine injuries of most runners.
Does this mean you shouldn’t wear anything for your workouts? Well, it depends on the exercise.
In sports like powerlifting, bodybuilding or moving weights in the gym with the most efficiency, I highly recommend a totally flat trainer. This can be a Converse or anything close to that. Just make sure the colour of the shoe matches your accessories.
When we want to generate the most force possible, we have to hold our ground. Doing deadlifts in a cushioned shoe is like jumping off from a canoe. -- Why would you jump off of a canoe, I don’t know, but surely it’s difficult.-- The base would sink into the water and the energy would be lost before your foot leaves the boat.
Client Hannah: https://www.instagram.com/hancakekhan/
If you’ve trained with me before and you turn up in a running shoe on a leg day, you know the deal: “Kick your trainers off!”
No Chuck Taylor, No Problem
Probably the best thing you can do is to train barefoot any time you have to create force from the ground up. This means deadlift, squats, lunges, even the shoulder press, my friend. You can even take your socks off and look like a total badass. Or a hobo. That depends on your gym environment.
Total Badass: https://www.instagram.com/gusohlsonfitness/
Vegan Skating Sneaker:
Front Squat/Olympic Lifting
Let me start with Olympic Lifting and with my poor ankle mobility. So I started Olympic Weightlifting last year with a real lack of mobility and couldn’t even get into a snatch position. Then I tried an elevated foot setup and suddenly everything was better. Now, I’m not saying that with an oly shoe you’ll end up on the Olympics, but it’s a good start.
These shoes are very sturdy, the sole is often made of solid wood. They usually come with a strap to lock the foot and an elevated heel to keep the torso upright.
The heel-to-toe drop varies from 0.6 inches to 1 inch. If you’re not sure you can go with a 0.75” which is the standard. It’s somewhere in the middle, but you can test this in the gym, just stand on a 2.5kg plate and then a 5kg plate. See which one is more comfortable, and which one allows you to get into a full snatch/clean position.
Of course, you don’t have to do Olympic lifting to enjoy the benefits of this shoe. It’s excellent for front squats, hack squats and leg press, and in some cases for walking lunges.
Vegan Inov-8 335:
(Nike couldn't approve that the glue they use for the sole is vegan)
This topic could have its own article, but I’ll try to make it simple. As I mentioned at the start of this blog post, there’s a tribe who run barefoot in the hills, but I’d like to give some advice for safety and longevity.
To find the perfect shoe you need to know your feet. You can be a toe-runner, a heel-to-toe or somewhere between (where you should be), but sure you are going to land on either side of your foot.
In the case of a neutral runner, you will land on the outer side of your foot. Get a well-cushioned Neutral shoe.
If you have a dropped arch, then you will need a stability trainer that stops the over-pronation and makes you run neutral. Get a Stability shoe.
Side note: you can be a high or neutral arch, but because of a weak ankle or previous injury, your feet will collapse. In this case, you still need a supporter shoe.
There are different midsole materials like rubber, foam and gel. Get the foam for grass/track, the rubber for treadmill/outside, and the gel for streets as gel has the most bounce/protection against hard surfaces.
But I can’t express this enough: Learn To Run Correctly First. And learn to run barefoot. If you can run without shoes, you will run easier with shoes; and because you’ve become strong from “shoeless running”, it’s less likely that you’ll get injured.
If you’re a hybrid athlete and you train different aspects, but you don’t want to end up like me, you can invest into a cross-surface trainer. It doesn’t mean cross country running shoe, more like a cross-platform, multifunctional trainer.
These models try to combine all specifications in one.
They have an elevated heel, but not too high so you can’t walk in them.
They have arch support, but not too much so it hurts your feet if you’re neutral.
They have a stiff toe box, but not too solid so you can’t jump/run in them.
Nike MetCon is a perfect example of this:
Although it’s not the best in any particular movement style, it’s a great option if you start your workout with a deadlift, then follow it with front squats, superset it with box jumps and finish your session with some incline sprints.
Didn’t find the best fit for your training style? Then you need something very specific. Obviously, if you play basketball, get a basketball shoe. If your sport is football, then you’ll need something with studs.
If you’re new to the sport and don’t know what to buy, just get the cheapest one until you figure out what you want, or want you don’t want. Anyhow, I highly recommend that you be as specific as possible depending on how you intend to train. A trainer that has been made for a purpose will always be better than anything else. Even the cheapest one.
Something else that is worth considering. Let’s say you’re a basketball player -- I am, it’s easier to relate, don’t judge me -- and you already have a sick LeBron or Kyrie, but you want to get stronger legs and build some strength to avoid injuries. You can still use your trainer in the gym for lunges, jumps and even for squats. It’s wise to work out in the trainer that you’ll use for competition. For football, you can use an indoor version of the boots etc.
I hope this guide helps you to train hard and smart in 2020.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to message me.