Saying that your footwear choices matter is really an understatement, especially when it comes to physical activity. The right shoes are important when it comes to performance and preventing injury. In other words, you need a pair of kicks that work as hard as you do when it’s time to hit the gym.
Here, we’ll go over the benefits of making your go-to workout shoes a pair of cross-trainers. We’ll discuss the benefits of this versatile shoe and how you can choose the right pair for you. We’ll also touch on some of today’s most exciting athletic shoe trends to consider as well.
Who Should Wear Cross-Trainers?
When you’re choosing a pair of athletic shoes with performance in mind, you definitely want to make sure they’re capable of supporting you through your workout of choice. For instance, running shoes are specifically designed to support the body during this form of exercise, and they shouldn’t be used for any other sport.
If you’re an aspiring athlete or someone who really does get all of your exercise from one type of activity, you’d do best buying athletic shoes made specifically for that purpose. However, if you’re one of the growing legion of people who prefers a varied workout regimen, cross-trainers are going to be your best bet. Here’s a few reasons why people prefer this type of shoe over other options:
Buying one or two pairs of cross-trainers is more economical than purchasing a different pair of shoes for every type of exercise you enjoy.
They’re designed with versatility in mind, so you can transition from the elliptical machine to the weight room with ease when it’s time to hit the gym.
Many cross-trainers are designed to function well on a variety of surfaces, so they’re better choices for those who like to alternate indoor and outdoor workouts.
In other words, it’s hard for the average workout enthusiast to go wrong with a solid set of cross-trainers. Since so many people also like them for style reasons, you’ll have lots of colors and styles to choose from as well.
What Should I Be Looking for in a Cross-Trainer?
Of course, not all cross-trainers are going to be created equally when it comes to what’s right for your feet. The following are a few considerations you’ll want to keep in mind to help identify the right choice for you.
If you have a podiatrist, you may already have been told what your foot type and gait type are. If not, you can figure it out by checking out the soles of a well-worn pair of shoes. The areas that show the most wear indicate the areas where you place the most pressure as you walk.
If your shoes show the most wear at the top outer edge, you’re a supinator. Most supinators have high arches, as well as a tendency to roll their feet outward as they walk. Look for cross-trainers that are cushioned for shock absorption and comfort.
If the top inner edge of your shoe shows the most wear, you’re a pronator. Pronators roll their feet inward as they walk or run. Most have low arches or flat feet. Look for motion control cross-trainers to help stabilize your feet and prevent injury.
If your shoes are evenly worn, your feet are considered average, as you evenly distribute your weight across the entire foot as you move. Look for cross-trainers that feature a balance of cushioning and stabilizing features.
Traction is something that everyone should consider when looking for a pair of cross-trainers, even if they don’t do a lot of hiking, jogging or other outdoor activities. You can definitely still slip on the treadmill or in the middle of an aerobics class! Better traction makes you less likely to injure yourself overall as well.
Look for cross-trainers that feature slip-resistant soles with plenty of texture. Before you decide once and for all they’re the right shoe for you, put them on and try twisting your feet in them or shifting your weight from side to side. Shoes with good traction will feel like they’re literally holding on to the ground underneath you.
Fit is important when it comes to any type of shoe, but this is especially the case with athletic shoes like cross-trainers. Shoes that are too small will cramp your feet while too-big footwear will cause blisters and put you at a higher risk for injury. Never settle for cross-trainers that don’t fit, assuming you’ll be able to break them in or force them to fit by wearing thicker socks. It really doesn’t work that way.
It’s also important that they feel comfortable by your own personal standards. For best results, try on new cross-trainers at the end of a long day, when swelling can occur. Be sure to wear a pair of workout socks as well.
In addition to being able to support you through even your most grueling workouts, you’ll want to like the way your cross-trainers look and feel. Yes, these are practical shoes designed to serve a specific purpose, but they should also be shoes you enjoy wearing.
A Look at Today’s Hottest Cross-Trainer Trends
These days, you really have great options when it comes to the cross-trainers you choose. In addition to features like good support, solid traction and adequate cushioning, today’s cross-trainers come in a rainbow of different colors, patterns and styles as well. The following is just a sampling of what’s hot this year.
If you’ve always been a big fan of the pristine, all-white cross-trainer look, you’re in luck. That look is still popular in 2018, and it’s showing no signs of changing anytime soon. Look for options that also feature a uniquely shaped sole or silhouette to add a touch of contemporary flare to the mix.
Understated, muted tones are also very big for spring this year. Think soft neutrals like this stylish sneaker from Skechers. You’ll likely see a few understated metallics making the rounds as well.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking a decent pair of cross-trainers can’t also be soft, flexible and comfortable. This spring, look for options from big brands like New Balance that feature super-breathable knit uppers. They’re ideal for keeping your feet cool and comfortable throughout even the longest, toughest workouts.
Look to increase the breathability factor even further with woven panels that promote adequate airflow. Memory foam footbeds are also excellent for keeping your feet comfortable without the need for hot, heavy interiors.
If you love the look of embellished cross-trainers that help you stand out from the rest of the crowd, consider taking a sleek design like the Dansko Women’s Honor for a spin. It features the same superior construction and support you’d expect from this beloved brand, but with an attractive look you’ll want to wear every day, even when you’re not at the gym.
Elegant crisscross patterns add visual appeal to the shoe upper while the stretchy bungee laces keep your feet nice and secure. Plus, it comes in an array of colors to choose from as well.
Are you the type of person who definitely hits the gym regularly but prefers outdoor exercising whenever possible? Perhaps, it just doesn’t feel like spring unless you are hiking at least a couple of times a month. If that sounds like you, consider looking for a pair of waterproof cross-trainers that can double as hiking shoes.
Options like the Targhee III from Keen offer waterproof membranes, all-terrain soles and flexible uppers to help keep your feet clean, dry and supported on your favorite trails, even if spring showers are part of the forecast.
This past fall and winter, we saw people really exploring bold color choices, especially with their footwear. You’ll see this refreshing trend continue to pop up over the course of the spring and summer, especially when it comes to athletic shoes.
Look for cross-trainers from top brands in bright, high-intensity colors like turquoise, aqua, cerulean and jade. You’ll eventually see soft metallics showing up in these tones as well, which will be perfect for anyone who is looking for athletic shoes with a little shimmer to them this spring.
Not a big fan of traditional lace-up athletic shoes? Need something versatile enough to take you straight from the gym to a casual hang-out with friends? You’ll love the new crop of slip-on cross-trainers this spring. They pack all the supportive features of a traditional athletic shoe, but in a sleek, fashionable package that you can wear anywhere.
Right now, we really love the Halle from Dansko. An attractive but practical leather and mesh upper helps your feet breathe in absolute comfort. Special stretch goring ensures a perfect fit simple, even without laces. Additional features like antimicrobial foot beds, memory foam and Scotchgard treatment make the Halle the perfect choice for all your workout needs this spring.
How Do I Know It’s Time for New Cross-Trainers?
So, you’ve found the perfect pair of cross-trainers. You love the color, and the style goes wonderfully with all your favorite workout wear. Best of all, they support your feet like a dream, whether you’re enjoying a morning walk, burning a few calories on the bike trail or lifting heavy in the weight room. How long can you expect them to last and how do you know it’s time to invest in a new pair?
It’s a common misconception that as long as your cross-trainers still look good, it’s not time to replace them. While a badly tattered or visibly worn-out pair is certainly ready to be retired, it’s important to realize that shoes start breaking down long before they start showing wear and tear on the outside. Look for the following signs that can indicate that it’s time for a replacement pair.
You start experiencing odd aches and pains that weren’t a problem before. If you experience back pain, knee pain or hip pain during or after a workout, that’s a sign that the support system in your cross-trainers is no longer as strong as it used to be.
It’s either been a really long time since you last replaced your athletic shoes or you literally can’t remember the last time you did it. If you’re a runner, your shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles. If you have a committed fitness routine, you should replace your shoes at least once a year, although six months is better if you work out on a daily basis or for long periods of time.
Your feet have changed due to aging, pregnancy or injury, and you have yet to update your footwear to reflect that.
You can extend the life of your cross-trainers by reserving them specifically for your workouts and active days. Keep a few pairs of fashion sneakers or tennis shoes around to wear the rest of the time. Making sure to include your cross-trainers in your regular shoe care routine is a good way to maximize their life as well.
As the weather turns warmer, many people will be looking to upgrade their workout shoe this spring. Luckily, we offer an array of fantastic cross-trainers that deliver comfort and support in many contemporary styles. Start shopping today to find your perfect pair!