What type of athletic shoe do I need?

I went shopping today for athletic shoes to be worn for aerobics (jazzercise - aerobics with simple dance steps) - I found shoes for runnning, cross-training, training, and fitness. I figured fitness might be appropriate, but the last pair I got specified aerobics. I ended up not getting any. I need new shoes badly - they make a big difference during the workout. Also, I don’t favor any particular brand, but if you think (for instance) that Nikes are the best, I’d like to know that too.

A cross-trainer should be fine for aerobics.

The two big considerations are:

  1. Are you a:
    high-arch, bowlegged, foot rolls to the outside, heels wear on the outside kind of shoe-person or a

flat-footed, knock-kneed, foot rolls to the inside, may have little wear on the heel kind of a shoe-person.

  1. For the kind of activities you’re considering, are you likely to benefit from ankle support (high top shoe).

If none of what I said makes sense, go ahead & pay the bucks to buy your shoes at an athletic shoe store. You’ll pay more, mbut you’re paying for advice to find shoes that match your feet, not just your activity.

Here’s a site for running shoes that explains this…

Sue from El Paso

Buy whatever is cheapest… :slight_smile:

Yer pal,

Why not ask Nanobyte if he has a beta version of his replaceable sole model ready yet?

cross trainers would probably do, but why don’t you just check out what kind of shoes your instructor is wearing, unless they’re stiletto’s of course.

First, realize that Satan is joking, I hope, and don’t skimp on your shoes. Spend what it takes if you expect to get anything from your work out. If you get poor shoes, for the wrong activity you will have sore feet, and as if staying committed to a prgram isn’t hard enough, aching feet certainly make it worse.

I’ve always been very fond of Nikes (Great shoes with an unfortunate mark up for namebrand). They last the longest and always have great support and tread. I suggest shopping for a clearance model if cost is a big problem for you. You can find a shoe for half price in last years color and styles. Reeboks have not had enough support in my experience, and Addidas have worn out quickly, but felt great when they were in good condition.

You may want to do a web search on this topic to get some expert advice, I’ve seen several health professionals and exercise magazines that go into depth on the topic and seem to remove most of the brand preference.

Shoes almost always wear out before you can visably notice it. The support and cushioning are the important factors, they can last for a set number of hours/miles. This information can be found in many shoe/exercise books. The raddy worn out appearance means the shoe is a year past its usefulness in a active setting.

To the question. Cross-trainers are ideal for step-aerobics, and jazzercise seems to be a close comparison. Cross-trainers are the new gender neutral name for aerobics shoes. Aerobics have a feminine connotation, and shoe companies are looking for the macho sports minded customers. Jazzercise is a bit dated, but it is similar to the current fad workouts from a shoe stand point. Jazzercise is a relatively high impact type of workout so you should take care in selecting a shoe, lots of support and cushioning is critical.

Definitely avoid running shoes, they have no lateral support, and aerobic type exercise focuses on that type of movement.

Trainers are usually a very non-specific description of a shoe type, its like saying “sneakers”. So I can’t give you any advice about them unless someone can offer a better definition.

Fitness shoes are likely feminine cross-trainers and would be excellent choices, but this is just a guess. Mall shoe stores can invent their own definitions for shoe types and none have any real meaning. Your best bet is to judge each shoe individually.

You have a few options for getting the ideal shoe. One is to find a specialty store, pay a premium for excellent and educated service, and have the salesperson fit and recommend the ideal shoe. This is the best choice if you don’t have much experience, and don’t mind paying a few dollars to get the right shoe. (Remember a specialty store isn’t the local foot locker, or other mall store that has some high school kid hocking the latest fashions).

In todays markets it can be hard to find a true specialty store and they’ve been run out of business by the super stores and the marketing machine mall stores. If a specialty store isn’t worth the money or you can’t get to one, you’ll need to do some research. This is when you read running/fitness magazines, books, Consumer Reports or anything you can find on the subject. Chances are this is a very common and basic question. Use the internet, and then make a selection and go the the cheapest sports store and apply the knowledge you’ve gotten.

The easiest thing to do is one that already been mentioned. Ask your instructor. Assuming shes a fitness expert, or at least well versed in this stuff, she’ll be able to tell you what she’s has success with.

The basic needs to look for is a high firm arch. A wide toe box with support all the way around. (Running shoes have a sole that runs up the toe, with no support around the sides of the toe, this is a no-no). A flat tread that is wider than your foot to prevent the turning of an ankle. Some type of energy absorbing sole (air, gel, or whatever the companies fancy system is called) is important. They all are helpful, and the average person can’t tell much difference between them. Nikes usually have a built in neoprene sock inside the shoe. I think this is a critical factor. It ensures a tight form fit, and adds support. Other companies may have applied a similar concept, but I really like it in my shoes. Alot of these features are difficult to describe, and are not needed for everyone, and unless a expert can see your foot, and activity they can’t recommend the perfect shoe. I am not an expert and can only speak about my feet, and activity.

One factor you musn’t overlook is the comfort of the shoe. Athletic shoes souldn’t hurt when they’re new. The “break in period” doesn’t apply. Different brands are sized different and com in different widths. Brand preference is often influenced by your foots compatibilty with their design. So the short point is to try on as may shoes as is practical before making a choice. Don’t be pressured into a sale.

No, Satan is right. The only way a company can justify charging $80 for a pair of shoes is to brainwash you into thinking you need them. The only exceptions would be if you needed something because you were going to be on your feet all day, in which case you’d need good support. For Jazzercise you pretty much just need something with a rubber sole, a $20 pair of Chuckie T’s should suffice. They never go out of style and will last you 'til you die.

Thanks especially omni -although I don’t know what you mean by a “specialty store” if not Foot Locker or some such. I don’t want to spend $75 or more on a pair of shoes, but I don’t want to cheap out either. I think support is important for the type of activity I’m talking about - there’s a lot of dancing-type activity with the aerobics (jumping jacks with kicks, quick turns, etc.,) and I sometimes feel off-balance. I’ll have to check it out further - sure appreciate the advice.

Re: Specialty store

Now I don’t want to condemn all Foot Lockers, Athletes Foots, and Champs Sports Stores, but generally the only thing they can recommend to you is the most popular shoe and sports gear in the hood. The people there work on commision (read: pressure sales of the expensive brands) and often are high school kids who know nothing about physical training, and are just itching to get off so they can smoke some dope. These stores carry the brands and types which you need, but getting relable information is hit or miss. And if you don’t know anything about what you need, they’ll just make it up as they go along to get you to buy something. In short, I don’t trust them.

I recommend finding a store that is commited to selling sporting goods, as opposed to clothes. The sales people tend to be more knowledgable about activity than they are about looking good.

Once upon a time there were “specialty stores” which sold nothing but shoes and shoe supplies. The sales people were used to helping people get the right shoe, not the trendyist one. These stores are rare, and frequently sell only dress shoes (mens, women shoe stores are a whole different animal).

I guess the best idea is to go in and try a variety of shoe stores, and pay attention to the sales person, and ask alot of questions. Be sure they explain what makes one shoe better than the other, and have them point out what you should look for. If they don’t sound very informative, and don’t know anything about the shoes in question without reading the tag, then they probably don’t have any real knowledge. Eventually you’ll begin to see what it is that is important, and likely come accross a salesman who truly knows his stuff. If you do, become a loyal customer, because good service is hard to come by.