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Shoes for Plyometric Workouts
Jumping, marching, dragging a sled. Your body goes through a lot when you're engaged in a demanding plyometric workout. At the bottom of it all are your feet, taking the brunt of almost every plyometric move you make. You may have heard of people training with plyometrics barefoot, but that can be dangerous, especially if you're exercising on a hard surface. Do your feet and leg joints a favor by wearing appropriate shoes for plyometrics.
When you're performing box or stair jumps, or any of the many repetitive jumping actions in plyometrics, you need shock absorption upon hitting the ground. Get an athletic shoe that has a thick sole and an ample layer of cushion to make for a softer landing. Avoid thin-soled shoes such as wrestling or martial arts shoes that don't have the thick padding that other sports shoes do.
Ankle and Arch Support
Having a training shoe that supports your foot throughout a plyometric workout is vital for avoiding injury to your ankle and foot. Look for a shoe that has sufficient arch support. "Sufficient" would be described as actual support that you can feel in the arch of your foot without causing discomfort. Stabilize your ankle by working out in a high-top shoe or one that at least comes up over your ankle.
Full Coverage for Protection
Having a shoe that protects your feet from injury is essential, according to Paul Collins, author of the book "Power Training: Build Your Most Powerful Body Ever With Australia's Body Coach." Your feet contain a collection of small muscle groups, ligaments and tendons that can be damaged when performing the explosive movements plyometrics involves. That makes wearing athletic shoes that provide full coverage of your feet and ankles vital. Your plyometric training shoes should fit well, too, not being too tight nor so loose that they slip when you move.
You're not likely to find a training shoe made specifically for plyometrics, but you can take your pick of the numerous athletic shoes available. Tennis and running shoes have the cushioning and arch support you need, and most of them come up higher than a street shoe to cradle your ankle and help with stability. High-tops, such as those that basketball players wear, have the cushioning along with the higher ankle support you're looking for. Cross-trainers might be your best bet. They're not high-tops, but they do have the other essential features you need such as protection, support and shock absorption. They are the shoe of choice for Collins.
- The Bare Essentials Guide for Martial Arts Injury Prevention and Care; Trish Bare Grounds
- Power Training: Build Your Most Powerful Body Ever With Australia's Body Coach; Paul Collins
- 52-Week Baseball Training; A. Eugene Coleman
- ExRx.net: Plyometric Exercises
- Buldt AK, Menz HB. Incorrectly fitted footwear, foot pain and foot disorders: a systematic search and narrative review of the literature. J Foot Ankle Res. 2018;11:43. doi:10.1186/s13047-018-0284-z
- American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. 10 points of proper shoe fit.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.