When you hit up the gym for some weight lifting, do you just slide on your running shoes? What about if you are taking a HIIT class at your local gym, do you wear shoes specific to the activity you are about to engage in? Some people wear their shoes in a one type fits all activities fashion. However, you may wish to actually consider your shoe choices more deeply than that. That’s why we discuss cross training shoes vs running shoes.
What Are Cross Training Shoes?
A cross training shoe is a hybrid type of shoe. A mixture of different types of specialty shoes, they take the best of all worlds in order to help an athlete stay comfortable and injury-free.
Cross training shoes can be used for cardiovascular exercises such as elliptical or cycling. In addition to that, you can wear them for weight lifting. Lastly, cross training shoes are excellent for high-intensity interval training.
How Are Cross Training Shoes Different Than Running Shoes?
Selecting the right shoe for the workout you are about to do is a great decision. This is one way to keep your body healthy and moving well.
Designed to fulfill multiple roles, a cross training shoe has specific attributes. Moreover, running shoes also are very specific in their characteristics.
When trying to decide cross training shoes vs running shoes, you need to consider what types of activities you will be engaging in.
What is a Cross Trainer?
The sole of a cross trainer is very wide and gives added stability to the athlete. In fact, sometimes the sole of the shoe goes wider than the upper of the shoe. This width is designed to add stability for lateral motion.
The heel of a cross training shoe is often different than other types of shoes. Created for added stability, the heel is often much more firm than it is with other types of shoes. This helps considerably for added support for weight bearing exercises.
Added heel support can also be present in the form of a heel clip or cup. This helps those engaging in activities like HIIT in particular.
Another attribute that is different in a cross trainer is that they often have extra midsole material. The upper part of a cross training shoe is often made of multiple layers for added durability. This is especially important if you are engaging in activities such as climbing a rope or holding a medicine ball between your feet.
Characteristics of Running Shoes
Running shoes are often light to aid in logging many, many miles. Also typically made of light fabric or mesh, they will dry quickly if you happen to splash into a puddle and end up with wet feet. This also helps with breathability to prevent your feet from getting too hot while running in warm weather. During cold weather, many runners find it important to put additional layers on their feet for warmth.
Running shoes have different types of heel to toe drops that help runners to get the comfort they are looking for. Helpful for runners depending on if they are heel strikers, midfoot strikers or forefoot strikers, the drop aims to achieve comfort and keep the runner injury-free.
Running shoes also are made for specific needs such as stability, cushion, etc. Since runners impact the ground with three times their body weight, running shoes typically have extra cushion.
Designed to be flexible, running shoes often flex most at the arch or midfoot. Running shoes also often have a removable insole. This allows you to dry and air out the shoes, and also gives you the opportunity to swap out the insert if you wish.
Some running shoes are made with reflective material for nighttime running. This is a quality you won’t typically see in a walking shoe or cross trainer.
Can You Run in Cross Training Shoes?
You certainly can run in cross training shoes. The question is: should you? If you are just going to run a few miles and you don’t run every day you probably are fine to run in your trainers. However, if you are running more than a couple of miles, you may need to reconsider.
Also, if you run multiple times each week, you may want to be sure you are running in running-specific shoes. The more miles you log in the wrong shoes, the greater your chance of injury.
The last thing anyone wants is an injury that might slow down your daily or weekly activity!
What About Workouts that Combine Running and Cross Training?
Some of us mix up our workouts. For example, you might do a circuit where you run for two minutes each time you go through the circuit. After your run, you might do shoulder presses, lunges, curls, planks, tricep dips, squats and any other types of lifts. So then the question is: should you wear a running shoe or a cross training shoe?
The answer really depends on you. For me, my primary concern is always my running comfort. I would choose the running shoe over the cross trainer in these situations. However, I recognize others may prioritize differently.
If you’re doing another form of cardio, however, that does not involve any impact I would absolutely choose the cross training shoes.
What About Retired Running Shoes?
Some people retire running shoes and repurpose them for another type of workout. The only type of workout appropriate for your old running shoes is cycling. If the shoes are too worn down to be useful for running, they likely should not be used for walking, weight lifting or other activities.
The number of minutes or miles you put on your running shoes leads to the cushion being worn down. If your purpose is to protect your feet, shins, calves and the rest of your body from injury, you need to be serious when you retire shoes.
What it comes down to is if you are relying on your feet to carry you through workouts you need to be smart about what you put on them. Make good choices to keep your feet healthy and happy.