5 Things You Need to Know About Cross Training Shoes

Working out at the Gym

The All-in-One Fitness Shoe

You jog, cycle and take aerobic classes at the gym, wearing a different pair of fitness shoes for each activity. One pair of cross training shoes, however, may be what you need to simplify your life, rid your closet of clutter and save money. Known as the all-in-one sport shoe, cross training shoes are versatile, durable and functional. They are the "shoe of choice" if you engage in multiple athletic activities, want to mix up your workout routine, are a seasoned athlete or even an occasional sportsman.

Cross Trainers - Not for Everyone

Cross training shoes aren't for everyone. Weigh the pros and cons of cross trainers before buying a pair to determine if they are right for you. On the plus side, cross training shoes make good economic sense. They also afford much-needed cushioning, support and traction and come in a variety of styles and colors. On the downside, cross-training shoes are not a good choice for serious runners who adhere to a strict running regimen. Cross trainers weigh more than standard running shoes and aren't as flexible or well padded.

What's in a Shoe

Consider the shape and material of cross training shoes before investing in a pair. The shape of the inside (the last) of your shoes is as important as that of their exterior. Individuals with high or stiff arches need a bowed last; those with typical arches require a slight bend and individuals with flat arches benefit from a straight last. Look for the extra cushioning a foam and ethyl vinyl acetate mid-sole offers if you step on your heels heavily. The carbon and gum rubber outsoles on cross trainers enhance the shoe's traction and sturdiness. It also makes them ideal for inside and outside wear.

Leather and Lace

Many fitness activities involve lateral movements. That is why cross training shoes offer additional ankle support and overall stability. Look for cross trainers with leather upper soles or soles that are a mixture of leather and synthetic mesh. The leather contributes to the shoes' stability, while the mesh allows the shoe to breathe. Secure lacing systems offer additional support and stability.

Time to Upgrade

Set up a schedule for replacing your cross training shoes. Your feet will thank you for it. Prolonged use diminishes your shoes' effectiveness. You should buy a new pair of shoes at least once a year if you use your cross trainers for two hours each week. Replace them twice a year if you wear them for several different fitness activities. Upgrade your shoes right away, if the soles show wear, or if your shoes are wearing unevenly. Always purchase footwear in mid-afternoon, before your feet swell. Your feet change over time so measure both feet, particularly the width, whenever you buy new shoes.