The Best Gym Trainers for Women
Gym fashion, also known as activewear, is an increasingly growing market that’s getting more popular year after year. And for good reason – why wouldn’t you want to look your very best when hitting up the gym? However, there’s more than just style you need to consider when picking out gym gear. It needs to be comfortable and functional!
Although you might want to wear something you like the style of, there are more important considerations in terms of what you do in the gym and your own bodily mechanics that should determine the type footwear you buy.
HOW DO BODILY MECHANICS INFLUENCE GYM FOOTWEAR?
The alignment of your hips, knees and ankles, in addition to the shape of your foot, will determine the kind of added support you need. Especially if you intend to cover a lot of miles on the treadmill!
If your trainers don’t create enough stability and your running for long periods of time, this can cause small but frequent overload injuries and put extra stress on the joints of your leg and even your back. Quite often a simple change to appropriate footwear can relieve aches and pains. The best way to do this is to go for a proper shoe fitting in a running shop.
Whether you’re a frequent runner or not, it’s still very important to make sure you have a training shoe that generally supports your feet. At the very least you should find a good set of insoles to add support where it’s missing. Again, if you suffer with ankle, knee, hip or even back pain when exercising, it might be worth a trip to a podiatrist (foot doctor) who might be able to design some ‘orthotics’ to help add some much needed support.
That being said, a simple awareness of your body will go a long way too. Like if you have flat feet or fallen arches, how much you pronate (the way your foot rolls in or out when you run) or other common foot and ankle issues should help guide you into the type of footwear best suited towards your needs.
HOW DOES GYM ACTIVITY INFLUENCE FOOTWEAR CHOICE?
We’ve touched upon the importance of having proper running shoes, which aside from offering maximum support, must be comfortable enough to absorb shock from the treadmill. However, you might not want the sole to be too soft if there’s potential to roll your ankle.
If you enjoy a varied training style – a bit of resistance, some spinning, the occasional bit of running or gym classes – then a cross-training shoe is the way to go. This will combine enough comfort and shock absorption for high intensity classes but with a stable enough base to allow you to lift weights.
If you’re into heavy lifting, the sole of your trainer needs to be more solid and stable – either a thinner soled flat shoe or weightlifting shoe with a wedged heel. This is most often seen in Olympic weightlifting shoes, used to get into a more comfortable position for the clean and jerk/snatch. It can also be useful for general squatting as it’s stable and the raised heel ‘opens up’ the ankle joint, allowing more range of motion and a more upright squatting position.
For those who like to lift pretty heavy, including things like Olympic lifts and the occasional bit of endurance workout, like a CrossFit, hybrid shoes are now available that combine an almost Olympic-style lifting shoe with an almost conventional cross training shoe.
THE BEST TRAINERS IN EACH CLASS?
Unsurprisingly, the big brands like Nike and Adidas tend to have the more popular and fashionable running shoes. For Nike, their Pegasus 35s seem to get great reviews and Adidas’s Ultraboost X lead the way in terms of an upmarket running shoe.
Other brands like Asics and New Balance produce some seriously affordable (and some more expensive!) running shoes. Asics, in particular, are a firm favourite in running communities due to their bright colours, quality across the range and durability. Their website even allows you to filter training shoe by ‘pronation type’ to suit your running style.
These tend to be more affordable than more specialist shoes, so most major manufacturers have a solid range of cross training shoes for all budgets. Outside of the brands already mentioned in running shoes, Under Armour also do some very good cross trainers. However our favourite, if we’re going entirely off aesthetics alone, has to be Nike’s Flex Training Shoe and these come highly recommended from a functional perspective as well.
There are a whole host of CrossFit trainers that could also be considered a general cross training shoe, including the Nike Metcons, Reebok Nanos and Innov8 F-Lites. These are by far the most popular brands and for good reasons, these have been specifically designed for ‘most’ CrossFit workouts.
Most CrossFitters will also invest in some decent weightlifting shoes, as they spend a lot of time doing Olympic style lifts as part of their workouts. The two stand out weightlifting shoes on the market at the moment are the Nike Romaleos and Adidas Adipowers, however these can set you back a pretty penny for the newer models.
If you’re more into powerlifting (and deadlifting in particular) and are OK squatting in a flat shoe, then (often surprisingly for many people to find out) the training shoe of choice for many powerlifters are Converse Chuck Taylors. Their sturdy, thin, flat sole and durable construction and some pretty funky designs, makes them a favourite amongst powerlifters.