When it comes to finding the perfect training shoe that you’ll wear time and time again, there are certain key traits that prove pivotal when reducing the risk of injury and maximising the efficacy of your workouts. Whether you’re looking to cross-train, lunge, squat, sprint or deadlift your way to a stronger, fitter you, here’s our ultimate checklist for ensuring your trainers flex as much muscle as you do.
To get optimum mileage out of your training shoe, opt for one with a sole that’s as diverse as your training routine. What does that mean exactly? Think innovative multi-density outsole geometry that supports a greater range of movements, directions and exercises.
One such shoe that does just that is the new Nike Free Transform Flyknit , whose midsole and outsole tri-star pattern moves multi-directionally to support more dynamic movement and expands and contracts to disperse pressure equally. “Its multi-density sole allows enhanced impact control at initial contact,” says Prosthetist and Orthotist Serena Stubbs , to offer sturdiness and versatility in equal measure from the get-go. A must in anyone’s HIIT kit.
In order to transition from squat to lunge to burpee to weights with increased speed but reduced risk of injury, ideally look for a training shoe that supports the way your foot naturally moves. “A neutral and flexible shoe is always best for these activities as they provide freedom of movement for rapid change of direction and are stable when balancing into lunges etc. too,” says Serena.
3. Sufficient cushioning
“Avoid shoes that do not bend at the same place as your toes, as this may impede the foot’s natural ability to ‘push off’ through the forefoot,” advises Serena. For a suppler, more supportive sole, look for a training shoe that offers foam cushioning for enhanced comfort. “The Nike Free Transform Flyknit provides sufficient cushioning at the forefoot to enhance the windlass effect of the great toe which acts as a natural ‘lever arm’ for propulsion,” explains Serena. “The windlass effect is a natural ‘winding up’ mechanism of the foot which, when activated, naturally lifts up the arch. If you lift up any of the toes (especially the big toe) you will feel the base of your big toe pushing into the ground and a tightening/shortening of the plantar fascia which results in a lifting of the arch of your foot.” For additional support around the ankle, we’d also recommend the Nike Free TR 6 women’s training shoe which boasts all the benefits of the Transform Flyknit, but with lightweight moulded ankle foaming and rubber pods on the sides for greater stability.