10 Best Workout Shoes for Challenging Summer Activities

best workout shoes for challenging summer activities

If you’re an active person, then you’re probably aware that there’s just something about summer that really makes you want to get up, get out, and get moving. After all, there’s no better feeling than the sun on your skin and the wind in your hair while you work out or spend time on the move! However, it’s essential to have the right footwear in your corner if you’re serious about reaping the rewards of your summer workouts.

If you think any well-made workout shoe will do for any summer activity, you really need to think again for a number of good reasons. For instance, features that make a certain shoe perfect for tennis can make it a terrible choice for basketball or hiking. A good pair of cross trainers is terrific for many summer activities, but they’re not really made to stand up to the outside elements. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the best type of shoe for each of your favorite warm weather workouts. You’ll be noticing the difference they make in no time.

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Standard Running and Jogging

gray running shoe isolated on whitePerhaps one of the most popular ways to fulfill that daily exercise quota is to lace up a favorite pair of athletic shoes and go for a run. This is especially the case during the summer when the gorgeous weather gives you a great excuse not to stay cooped up in the gym all day. However, it’s vitally important to make sure your running shoe is designed with that activity in mind.

Shoes that are designed for running come equipped with motion control features, as well as shock absorption technology to guard joints and bones against the jarring effects of repeated impact. This helps prevent you from sustaining or worsening an injury. You’re less likely to suffer from achy feet after you’ve been working out as well.

Think options like the 560 model from New Balance. Compression molded EVA outsoles provide unbeatable comfort, traction, and support. Special cushioning technology guards your body against impact-related damage. Breathable mesh uppers help keep your feet cool and dry during even the toughest, most grueling running sessions.

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Trail Running

While some people definitely don’t mind running on the roads, it’s not for everyone. Some people prefer the primal experience of running out in nature on trails and over various terrains. Not only is trail running a great way to treat yourself to some truly therapeutic views, but adding changeable terrain to the mix helps make your workouts more challenging.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking the same shoes you wear to jog around the block will be the proper choice if you’re serious about trail running. Shoes designed for trail running feature thicker, sturdier soles capable of protecting your feet from rocks, unexpected debris, and just about anything else Mother Nature might send your way.

Ultra-traction soles are also seriously important when you’re a trail runner. Keep in mind that dirt, gravel, and loose soil don’t offer the same consistency as a sidewalk or city street, so your shoes’ soles need to be designed to handle the variants. This is especially the case when running uphill or downhill.

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Barefoot Workouts

Have you ever been at the gym and caught sight of a guy walking around or even working out completely barefoot (or maybe just in his socks)? While it may not be the most hygienic choice, we assure you he hasn’t completely lost his mind. He’s probably into barefoot workouts—which is trending right now.

man running barefoot on asphaltExperts who swear by barefoot workouts feel that the best way to get the most out of your exercise sessions is to stick to the tools Mother Nature gave you. By exercising barefoot, you can work on strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your feet. This, in turn, can minimize the risk of sustaining an injury, according to this line of thought.

If you’d like to try your own hand at this type of workout, consider investing in a good pair of minimalist shoes. Minimalist shoes are lightweight, feature a low heel drop, and allow your feet to enjoy the highest degree of freedom while remaining safe and supportive.

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Weight Training

These days, weight lifting isn’t just for body builders like Arnold Schwarzenegger anymore. Strength training is considered an important part of any comprehensive fitness regimen. It’s the best way to build lean muscle mass, improve your posture, strengthen your skeletal system, and so much more.

strength training infographic

It’s also a common misconception that, because logging time in the weight room doesn’t require a lot of walking or running, the shoes you wear isn’t as important as other activities. Footwear that’s appropriate for weight lifting features a flat sole and a raised heel. This set-up helps you maximize the range of motion for your ankles and makes it easier to maintain a proper lifting form—which is essential if you’re serious about seeing results and avoiding injury.

Good weight training shoes also tend to be stiffer and more stable to keep your feet from shifting during difficult moves like overhead presses, snatches, and jerks. Surprisingly, a trusty pair of Chuck Taylors is actually perfect for this activity.

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Biking and Cycling

Whether you’re sticking with your favorite spin class or have been tempted back on a traditional bike by the fresh air and sunshine, the benefits of cycling can’t be denied. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up, build endurance, and make short work of excess calories. Plus, it’s loads of fun, especially if you like to go bike riding with friends and family through beautiful natural areas.

Shoes that are ideal for biking and cycling are typically nice and stiff to provide your feet with the support they need to pedal without cramping. Good cycling shoes help you get more out of your workout by providing constant contact with the pedal and superior control over each rotation. Making sure to wear the right shoes helps reduce the likelihood of slipping off the pedals or otherwise losing control of the bike, which can result in injury.

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Mountain Biking

mountain biking shoes quoteThe rigors of mountain biking differ from cycling on paved ground. Shoes that are ideal for this sport are going to have a lot of similarities to trail running shoes because they factor in the inconsistent terrain. Think soles that feature extra traction for trekking up rough trails and maintaining control of a bike if things get unpredictable! Mountain biking shoes are also generally heavier and less aerodynamic than other types of athletic shoes—the better to protect your feet from the elements or any possible hazards.

Last, but not least, mountain biking can sometimes require you to think fast and act quickly. For that reason, you’ll also want to look for shoes that can be easily disengaged from the pedals just in case. You’ll be better equipped to handle it if you need to stop suddenly or if you happen to take a tumble.

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Walking

Since walking is something you can do every single day, it’s easy to assume any old pair of shoes will do, so long as they’re comfortable. However, walking for long periods or for exercise purposes is pretty serious business. A flimsy pair of basic canvas tennis shoes may be fine for walking around grocery store, but they may not be the best choice for a day trip to Disney Land or a long journey on your favorite hiking trail.

Look for options with features capable of supporting your body during long periods of standing or walking. Look for solid arch support, relatively flexible soles, and plenty of cushioning to help absorb shock. While it’s true that walking isn’t as high impact as running or jogging, your feet and joints will still appreciate the protection.

Try a walking shoe that doesn’t necessarily look like a walking shoe—like the You Walk from Skechers. It’s perfect for everything from window shopping at the mall to daily strolls around the neighborhood with your family.

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Hiking and Exploring

Hiking shoes are designed to handle the challenges of the trail. The more challenging the terrain, the more important it is to have a good, reliable hiking shoe.

family holding hands walking

If you’re the type who sticks to low-key recreational trails, you might be able to get away with wearing your trail running shoes. However, hikers who like to challenge themselves will want to look for something with a little added support. Mid- or high-cut tops are a good idea for supporting your ankles and maintaining stability. Just understand that hiking boots and shoes are generally made with ruggedness in mind, so they’ll be a lot heavier than standard shoes.

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Beach Workouts

If you’re lucky enough to live by the ocean, a river, a lake, or any other large body of water, it’s totally understandable if it’s your workout spot of choice during the warmer summer months. However, while it’s probably tempting to perform your beach workouts barefoot, it’s really much better to choose the right footwear, just like every other type of exercise.

Don’t risk ruining your expensive running shoes or walking shoes by subjecting them to the salt, sand, and moisture down by the water. Invest in a good pair of water shoes instead. Water shoes provide the same amazing support and stability you’d expect from any other type of workout shoe, but they’re made to withstand exposure to water and moisture.

If you absolutely hate the idea of wearing enclosed shoes on the beach, try a pair of hiking sandals from a brand like Chaco or Birkenstock instead. They’ll let you enjoy the feeling of the beach, while providing the support you need.

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Crossfit or Multi-Activity Workouts

Are you one of the millions of people who have fallen in love with Crossfit? Maybe you’re someone who likes to engage in multiple types of exercise during a single session. Whatever the case may be, it’s understandable that you’d want a workout shoe that’s capable of handling this intense workout style. Try a good cross-trainer—a shoe that’s just as suitable for running as it is lifting weights and hopping on top of a plyometric box.

Good cross trainers have flat soles. They’re also built for both support and flexibility, but they don’t have an overabundance of cushioning. People who are into CrossFit and other multi-activity workouts need to feel grounded with lightweight options that will support their hard work. Try an ultra-breathable option like the Under Armour UA Dash on for size. You’ll love the way it carries you through even the most challenging multi-faceted workouts!

woman lifting dumbbell with arm

No matter which fitness program you choose, look for shoes that are designed for the activity at hand. That way, you can enjoy all of your favorite summer activities.

Best Women’s Shoes to Look Stylish at Summer Music Festivals

Womens shoe for festival

For some people, summer’s all about family parties, location weddings, or picnics in the park. For others, the mere thought of summer instantly conjures up thoughts of killer playlists and unforgettable festival experiences. However, getting ready for the festival of the century is about so much more than just scoring tickets in time. It’s also about looking the part, and that means putting some serious thought into what you’re going to wear. Continue reading

Make Time for Walking: The Benefits of a Summer Stroll

walking - benefits of a summer stroll

Now that summer’s officially in full swing, it only makes sense that you’d want to spend as much time outside as possible. Relaxed backyard barbecues with family, lazy picnics with friends, and long days spent by the pool are the order of the day right now. However, there’s also a lot to be said for getting up, getting out, and doing something active.

Being active can certainly mean taking up jogging, but enjoying a little activity this summer can also be as simple as lacing up your walking shoes and taking a stroll. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of implementing a walking regime as a regular part of your summer repertoire.

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Walking helps you keep your weight in check.

Although the winter season probably has the worst time for being a time to overindulge, summer definitely comes along with its own share of challenges to your otherwise svelte figure. Think family barbecues, deep-fried carnival food, and those irresistible ballpark hot dogs! Add walking to your daily routine, and you’ll keep extra pounds at bay.

Not only is walking one of the best exercises for losing and maintaining weight, but it’s accessible to everyone. It’s easy on the joints, not to mention absolutely free to implement—no expensive gym membership or fancy equipment required! Start by adding a 20-minute stroll to your routine every day and work your way up to 30 minutes or more. At some point, you may also want to buy a pedometer and work on achieving the recommended goal of 10,000 steps per day.

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Walks can help undo the damage caused by prolonged sitting.

If you’re like a lot of people, you probably go straight from logging long hours at work to parking yourself on the couch for the better part of your evening. The average person spends a minimum of eight hours every day sitting, which can lead to a wealth of health issues, including but not limited to organ damage, bad posture, heart problems, and muscle loss.

The good news is walking can reverse a lot of the damage caused by a sedentary lifestyle, and you don’t have to do much to reap the benefits. For instance, just 3-5 minutes a day can reverse the leg artery damage caused by three hours of sitting. Even when you don’t have time for a bona fide stroll, taking the occasional quick break to walk around your workplace can work wonders.

couple walking in grass with picnic basket

 

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Walking is a great way to boost your creativity.

If you’re a creative individual, then you don’t need to be told how frustrating mind blocks can be, especially since they sneak up at the busiest times. It doesn’t help that simply buckling down and willing yourself to come up with the next great idea only seems to make things worse!

Next time you find yourself dealing with a major creative block, try stepping away from your desk and going for a short stroll around the block instead of fruitlessly staring into your computer screen waiting for inspiration to strike. Researchers have identified a link between walking and creativity. When you’re walking, your brain produces up to twice as many creative responses as it does when you are sedentary, and it continues to do so for a short time afterward. Take advantage of the warm summer weather while it’s here, and then switch to walking on a treadmill or an indoor track once it gets chilly again.

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Walking outdoors helps manage stress.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why an outdoor walk on your favorite hiking trail or through a local park is so soothing? It’s not all in your head. According to research conducted at Heriot-Watt University, a leisurely walk through a lush, green space triggers a meditative response in the human brain. The effect is particularly profound in people who are stressed out because of an emotionally traumatic event.

Plus, the very act of walking or engaging in any other type of exercise helps release feel-good endorphins into your system. The more walking you do, the greater the effects. Walking can help improve your ability to digest a meal as well, so a stroll in the park makes for the perfect lunch hour activity.

womans feet in sandals walking outdoors

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Walking can make your commute a lot more pleasant.

Most people face a daily car commute, and it could be doing you more harm than good from a mental health standpoint. Connections have been found between a person’s psychological well-being and the amount of time they spend commuting by car—the longer the commute, the less contented people feel, overall.

Active commuting, on the other hand, has been shown to have the opposite effect. If you live close to where you work, consider walking to the office a couple of days a week. Even if you can’t walk the entire way, adding as few as 10 minutes of walking to the mix has been linked to mental and emotional benefits equivalent to an income raise or the start of a new relationship.

Don’t forget to wear proper walking shoes or cross trainers during your commute to ensure that your body has the proper support! Just put your work shoes in your bag and slip them away once you arrive.

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Walking is a great way to boost your energy levels.

Lots of people say they’d love to walk more and would definitely do it if only they weren’t so tired all the time. They assume that walking will only make them even more fatigued, but the opposite is true. Low-intensity exercise like walking can increase your energy levels by up to 20% and make you feel up to 65% less fatigued.

walking to combat fatigue graphic

That said, resist the urge to simply head for the break room for another energy drink the next time you feel a mid-afternoon slump coming on. Try taking a quick break and going for a stroll in the sunshine instead. You might be surprised at the difference it makes.

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Regular walking can help keep you from getting sick.

Nothing throws a wrench in the machine quite like a cold, so it only makes sense to do everything in your power to keep illness at bay. It just so happens that a brisk 30-45 minute walk each day delivers a powerful boost to your immune system.

Not only are regular walkers and exercisers less likely to get sick in the first place, but, when they do catch colds, they’re shorter and less severe. Plus, there’s no better time to cultivate a regular walking habit than summertime. Get started now, and your immune system will be in excellent shape by the time cold and flu season rolls around later in the year.

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Walking now can keep you young later in life.

All of us look forward to the possibility of living to a ripe old age. However, no one wants to grow older and have trouble with mobility or health problems. Add walking to your routine now, and you drastically improve your chances of staying sharp, mobile, and healthy well into old age.

Regular walking will keep your heart, lungs, joints, and muscles strong as you get older. It will make it a lot easier to maintain a healthy body weight as well. Walking even helps keep your mind active. Older adults who maintain a walking regime retain higher memory function and cognitive ability than less active peers.

couple walking dog in park

 

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Walking as a family helps your children grow up to have good values.

The lessons you learn in childhood really do last a lifetime, so it’s important to make sure we’re teaching our little ones the right things. Walking is the perfect way to instill key values. To begin with, getting them into the habit of daily walking not only teaches them how important exercise is, but it also shows them how fun it can be. They’ll also have the opportunity to meet other people in their neighborhood. Making it a point to walk as a family helps strengthen familial bonds as well.

What’s more, going for regular walks in a natural area provides you with the perfect opportunity to teach your children about the environment and how important conservation is. Children can learn all about different plants, animals, birds, and flowers. If you’re a spiritual family, getting out in nature is a great way to open conversations about the deeper meaning of life. Outfit the littlest members of your family up with some new athletic shoes for kids and see where the journey takes you!

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Walking can make your love life better.

Lacing up those cross-trainers and hitting your favorite walking trail doesn’t just come with benefits for your cardiovascular system and body composition. There’s quite a bit of evidence to suggest it can work wonders for your intimate life as well.

Studies show that people with active lifestyles have more rewarding relationships. Regular exercise improves blood flow throughout the entire body, so it really does help your mind and body work more efficiently.

closeup of couples fingers linked

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Adding walking to your routine can even help you sleep better.

Are you one of the millions of people who has trouble getting enough good quality sleep every night? Before you hit the drug store and grab that box of sleeping pills, start walking on a regular basis and see what happens!

Walking doesn’t just help you feel more energized while you’re awake. It makes you significantly less likely to have trouble sleeping later as well. Again, it doesn’t take much to make a difference. As little as 10-15 minutes of any aerobic exercise can make insomnia a thing of the past. You also lowered your risk for developing sleep-related disorders like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

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Walking puts you in a great mood.

Lacing up your walking shoes, grabbing your water bottle, and heading out the door for a brisk stroll on a summer day is one of the easiest ways to feel fantastic. Not only does the act of walking energize the body, but the feeling of the sun on your skin really rejuvenates the soul. Walking also connects you with your surrounding community.

brisk summer stroll quote

It’s the perfect way to get out of your head for a little while as well, especially if you struggle with issues like depression and anxiety. People who consistently spend 200 minutes or more walking every week reported feeling significantly better emotionally, as well as feeling less confined by conditions like depression.

All things considered, walking really tops the list when it comes to fantastic activities to add to your routine this summer. Get started today and experience the difference for yourself!

Great Athletic Shoes for Your New Year’s Fitness Plan

blue-shoes

If you’re like over 20% of the average population, at least one of your New Year’s resolutions calls for losing weight, eating better, or improving your fitness routine in the year to come. However, planning to make some serious progress when it comes to your health and overall fitness level is one thing. Actually meeting your goals is another.

Preparedness is the key to success here, and that means having the right gear in your corner from day one. Start with a fantastic pair of athletic shoes that will really help you go the distance. Let’s take a closer look at how you can snag a pair that’s everything you need it to be.

Aren’t All Athletic Shoes the Same?

If you’re new to fitness, it only makes sense that you’d wonder whether there’s really a difference between one athletic shoe and another. However, it’s vitally important that you select a shoe appropriate for the activity at hand. Making sure you choose the right shoe:

  • Helps you lower the likelihood of sustaining an injury.
  • Maximizes personal comfort so that you don’t wind up with sore feet, aching joints, and steaming toes.
  • Ensures that you get the absolute most out of your workouts performance-wise.

Keeping that in mind, it’s best not to make your athletic shoes multi-task. A shoe that’s just right for walking probably won’t be suitable for running, cycling, or doing aerobics and vice versa. Consider the following suggestions as far as great shoes appropriate for a number of popular fitness routines.

Skecher-go-walk-4-Achiever

For Light Activity Like Walking

Naturally, marathon-level training and grueling gym workouts aren’t for everyone. However, any little bit of activity added to your routine can make a huge difference, including light walking. Start by resolving to take a quick jaunt around the block after dinner or breakfast and take things from there.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with investing in a pair of cross-trainers to get your new walking routine started on the right foot, many people are more comfortable with a fantastic pair of sneakers that are built with walking and light activity in mind. Try an option like the Go Walk 4 Achiever from Skechers. The Go Walk 4 Achiever features an innovative and highly responsive 5GEN midsole for extra comfort and cushioning, and its casual style makes it perfect and easy-to-wear with just about any outfit.

Plus, you’ll look every bit as good as you feel, so you’ll want to wear these shoes everywhere. Slip them on for a quick trip to the store, playtime with the kids, or a family road trip to a favorite amusement park.

For Getting Back to Nature

Some people find it easier to stick to their New Year’s fitness plan when that plan also involves getting back to nature, and with good reason. There’s nothing like a day spent hiking with the sun on your skin and fresh air in your lungs. However, serious hikers need a supportive shoe that’s capable of standing up to the rigors of the trail.

Choose a hiking shoe like the Siren Edge from a high-performance brand like Merrell. Merrell, in particular, is well-known for creating quality element-resistant footwear. Features like a bellows tongue and a breathable mesh lining keep out dirt, debris, and moisture. Molded arches and shock-absorbent air cushions ensure stability and comfort from the first step of your hike to the last.

Merrell-Siren-Edge-Teal

For Running and Jogging

When you picture the ideal workout routine for you, do you see yourself running or jogging with the wind in your hair? Or perhaps you’re thinking about signing up for that new Zumba class all your friends have been raving about, instead. Whichever the case may be, you need an athletic shoe that can keep up with you when it’s really time to spring into action.

Try an option that looks good and performs well when it comes to fast-paced activities like the Skechers GOrun 400. A light, comfortable design won’t weigh you down when you’re really in the zone. Superior ventilation helps keep your feet cool, dry, and completely comfortable, no matter how intense your workout might get. The GOrun even comes complete with special sensors that take things to the next level when it comes to traction and road feel. Try it today!

The Birkenstock Women’s Mayari and Florida Sandals are the Perfect Summer Comfort Shoe for all Occasions.

Birkenstock Mayari Sandal

The Birkenstock Mayari Sandal

Birkenstock’s women sandals have been in existence for quite awhile and don’t get the wow factor that many other sandals receive. But it is fitting to look again at the women’s Florida and Mayari styles.  They are especially nice in the summer when women can shed their heels and enjoy comfort while still maintaining a sense of style and elegence.  Many styles can be seen and purchased at: http://www.housershoes.com/brands/birkenstock.html

The most important aspect about the Birkenstock Mayari and Florida is that they are comfortable right out of the box. There is no breaking in period with these sandals, no blisters , and no painful suffering.

Birkenstocks have been around since 1897 and were always noted by their interesting shape that set them apart from other brands of the time. In the 1960’s they  moved into a new direction by making sandals and clogs. While it seemed strange at the time, they quickly took the European market by storm while the US waited. Soon Margot Fraser saw the potential of the sandals and introduced the brand to the United States much to the relief of millions of women desiring comfortable summer shoes that offered support.

The Birkenstock Florida and Mayari fit this bill by offering  pronounced arch support, a deep heel cut and roomy toe boxes. They shape to your foot and are adjustable for a custom fit. Lightweight, durable and flexible, some women say they wear them throughout the day and even on short hikes.

You can find a great selection of the Birkenstok Mayari and Florida in different sizes and colors at http://www.housershoes.com/brands/birkenstock.html

 

Birkenstock women's Florida Sandal

The Birkenstock Women’s Florida Sandal