Proper footwear is crucial to avoiding injury during aerobic training. Aerobic shoes should provide cushioning, shock absorption, and forefoot stability. They should also have plenty of room in the toe box to prevent irritation and bruising of toenails.
Finding a good aerobic shoe is simple once you know what to look for. Most major shoe companies sell shoes specifically designed for aerobic workouts. Unlike running shoes where the cushioning is in the heel of the shoes, an aerobic shoe should have most of the cushioning under the balls of the feet.
What to look for in aerobic shoes
There are three primary things to look for in a good aerobic shoe:
- The shoe should provide enough stability and arch support to accommodate side-to-side movements.
- The shoe should have enough cushioning to minimize the impact of bouncing, stepping up and down, and running in place.
- The toe box of the shoe should be high enough to prevent damage to toes and bruising of toenails.
Aerobics routines often involve jumping and repeated up and down movements, so the lighter the shoe the better. Above all, do not purchase running shoes or grab any old pair of sneakers to wear to an aerobic workout. Running shoes are not built to withstand the lateral movements that occur during aerobic routines.
Issues created by improper fit
In a physically challenging sport like aerobics, injuries to the feet are common. The total impact force from aerobic routines is far greater than the impact from walking and running. Movements like running in place, jumping, lunging side-to-side, and stepping up and down can all contribute to injury if there is insufficient support and padding in footwear.
Wearing poorly fitting shoes or shoes with insufficient support for aerobic exercise can contribute to any of the following foot conditions:
- Achilles tendon pain.
- Arch pain (plantar fasciitis).
- Blisters and calluses.
- Calf and knee pain.
- Heel spurs.
- Shin splint.
- Stress fractures (of the toes, foot, and ankle).
If you are experiencing foot problems related to aerobic exercise, talk to your doctor to find out if your shoes are contributing to the problem.