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The Best Shoes for Fitness Classes

author image Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.
The Best Shoes for Fitness Classes
Make sure to wear the right footwear. Photo Credit: UberImages/iStock/Getty Images

Support, stability and shock absorption are the primary purposes of a fitness shoe, but different activities require different shoes. A running shoe, for example, which does not provide lateral support, is unsuitable for the lateral movements of high impact aerobics. Furthermore, the black waffle soles of a running shoe can leave permanent skid marks on the nice, wooden aerobic floor. Your fitness shoe should also support the unique shape, width and volume of your foot, but beware; fitness shoe manufacturers are more fickle than your most commitment-phobic significant other. New models arrive each year, and old models are abandoned. Thus, if the shoe fits, buy extra pairs.

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Aerobic Shoes

The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine urges high-impact aerobic participants to select shoes with proper cushioning and shock absorption. Heavier participants may require extra cushioning. The shock absorption is often the first thing to wear out after frequent use. This can lead to plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammatory condition of the sole of the foot. Buying new shoes is expensive, so consider using gel inserts. An aerobic shoe should have lateral straps and staggered lacing for lateral support, but it also needs forefoot flexibility. Hold the heel in one hand, and twist the forefoot from side to side. It should move with light resistance. Aerobic shoes can also be used for step classes.

Dance Aerobic Shoes

Zumba, Latin dance and hip hop classes are characterized by their swiveling, twisting and turning movements. The sticky soles of a traditional aerobics shoe provide too much friction. Capezio now has a line of jazz sneakers. They provide more support and cushioning, but their nonstick soles enable you to twirl around the aerobics floor.

Indoor Cycling

Specially designed indoor cycling shoes come with cleats, which allow you to attach your feet to the pedals. This secures your feet when you stand up on the bike, while enabling you to pull up, as well as push down on the pedals. The pulling up action flexes the leg muscles, thereby working the often underdeveloped hamstrings. Indoor cycling shoes should be lightweight and breathable.

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