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What is the Best Shoe for Cross Training?

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October 12, 2011

A great cross training shoe will allow you to do both: run and lift in the same shoe.  That means that it should reflect some characteristics of a good running shoe (stability, support and light weight) and a good weight training shoe needs to have a flat sole with some tread or traction.  Your cross training shoe should enable you to perform multiple kinds of exercises using body weight, barbells or kettlebells.  These shoes need good traction on the bottom – the reason being you need to be able to jump and stick landings if you were to jump onto boxes or benches as a part of your workout.

Why Not a Standard Running Shoe for Lifting?

A great running shoe such as my old favorite, the Asics Gel Nimbus, provides fantastic support for long distance running and repetitive motion for running. For someone who’s going to run repeats of 400 meters and then go lift some weight, they are not so good.  The main problem I have with the standard running shoe is that they are bulky, heavy and usually have a lifted sole which can cause balance issues when it comes to lifting heavy.  Bulky in a cross training arena means slower times as well.

What is the Best Shoe for Lifting?

The best shoe for lifting is a weight lifting shoe with a hard wooden sole such as the Pendlay.    In addition, there is also a large community of cross trainers who use either the Converse  Chuck Taylor’s or the  Vibram’s Five Finger Shoe.   These shoes are flat soled, offer some traction on the bottom, and apparently are good lifting, although this author only uses Pendlay.

But, what if you’re a mom just wanting a good shoe to workout in?

For those who just want to buy one pair of shoes that would be great for either lifting weights, running after your kids or hitting a bootcamp workout in the park, the following are my top three choices depending on your need and running style.

  • If you’re a heavy heel striker and are used to a supportive running shoe, I’d pick the Reebok Real Flex as they offer both a supportive sole for a heel striker and they are flat enough to lift some weight.
  • If you’re looking for more of a light weight shoe that has a fairly flat sole, I prefer the Inov-8’s.
  • Finally, a good mix of both is the New Balance Minimus which offers better traction, flat sole, and they are a pretty supportive shoe for short distances.

I would like to add that all of these shoes have a learning curve with them – that is you need to understand that they are designed to help you run fast using a different style of running that most of us grew up with.

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