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[Tight] What to Look for in a Gym Shoe

[Tight] What to Look for in a Gym Shoe

The Eating For Abs team LOVES body moving 🙂

In order to make sure we maximize our performance and our rewards, SOME equipment is necessary.  However, unlike many athletes it’s our opinion that the best equipment is the equipment that gets OUT of the way and allows US to perform.

Particularly we’re here to talk about something we ALL love shopping for… new shoes!

So we’re about to venture into the great unknown, trusting that our coaches will inflict only enough torment to cause the body results we are looking for, so we’re gonna need to make sure we’re “properly heeled.”

What should we be looking for in a shoe compatible with our workouts?

Well, in a word, “simplicity.” What we want to do is impact our bodies, causing them to adapt to the requirements we place on them. The mistake many athletes make is utilizing so much equipment to enhance performance, when what they should be focused on is improving their own inherent ability to perform.

“Less shoe, more foot (and leg).”

Here’s the big NO-NO. We DON’T want you working out in traditional running shoes. The problem with running shoes is the angular wedge style sole that’s high on the heel and low in the front. This not only can cause long term problems in our achilles, but it also creates ankle and knee instability. Wearing these to workout can be like standing on mini swiss balls. Sound good? Heck NO!

The same is true for elaborate court shoes. Air bubbles, gel inserts, springs and the like all may help cushion the floor impact of Lebron James, not to mention sell expensive shoes, but it exactly the opposite of what we want.

So here’s what we want:

  • minimal drop, meaning very low difference in height from the heel to the toe.
  • a simple sole. Nothing too elaborate, overly cushioned, or mechanical.
  • Flexibility and proper fit. You’d like to have some sensitivity in your feet so pick a shoe that’s not too tight and doesn’t have an overly rigid sole.

Those are your simple guidelines! So what shoes do we like?

InexpensiveWell lets start here, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. One very simple and very common shoe that fits the bill is the Converse Chuck Taylors. Also in the inexpensive category are martial arts style shoes like the Feiyue canvas shoes.

Next up, for those who prefer a little more support, try indoor soccer style shoes or crossfit shoes. The Nike Gato is a great example of these leather, flat, and good looking shoes. Another great shoe is the Reebok Crossfit Nano 2.0 and the Inov-8 f-lite 230s and Inov-8 Bare-XH 210.

I personally like light weight, barefoot style shoes. They allow more foot engagement and flexibility. There are many varieties of barefoot style shoes from various manufacturers. The kind I like the most typically are as close to socks with tread and laces. Popular shoes in this category include vibram five-fingers, Inov-8 bare-x, and New Balance Minimus MT/WT 10, MT/WT 20, and MR/WR-Zero.

Final recommendations for selecting a great workout shoe


Any of the shoes listed here will make a fine replacement for common trainers and running shoes. Some are better than others for particular workouts. As we will be doing a mixture of specific cardio, resistance training and mobility exercises, it’s likely that a combination of shoes would serve us best. I personally own several pair for variety and function.

Model selection in the end will come down to personal preference. Head to your local shoe store and try on a few models. You can’t go wrong with anything on this list that feels good to you.

-Coach Be

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