Choosing the Right Shoes for Your Workout Program

Choosing the right footwear is so important for your workout! In fact, I don’t have one pair of “Silver Bullet” shoes for each type of workout that I have. Shoes are specifically designed to provide benefits that extend to your entire body and even can give you the mental edge to perform better! I have always felt more confident in my performance both on and off the court if I feel like a Rockstar in my athletic shoes. Comfortable, laced tight, and light. In fact, feet come in different shapes and sizes. Arch, width, size and pronation are all factors! No one shoe will work for everyone. Even brands. Beware of others that try to sell you on 1 brand. Try them on and find one that fits you well. First, understand the different areas of the shoe and what each is used for.


Understanding the main components of a shoe are critical.  For me, I like to pay attention to the Sole, the Outsole, the Upper, and the Toe Box.  Weight and material are not shown here, but I DO consider them.

  • Sole – Cushioning is what most people are looking for. Everyone is doing something different. Air, Zig, Shox, and Flexible Soles. All are for specific purposes.
  • Outsole – This is the tread. Something with a low profile and not too aggressive. Aggressive tread usually means a heavier shoe.
  • Upper – Since I like control of side-to-side movement, the upper is important. Less flex for me is better.
  • Toe Box – Most people don’t look at this area. Running shoes have an “open” toe box typically. More room but means not good for side-to-side movement.

Other Factors>>>>  Weight and Material are also factors when I am purchasing. I don’t like cheap feeling materials and I most definitely do not like heavy shoes. Many times a shoe that is too light can feel cheap and not provide support. It’s a fine balance.


I have a lot of shoes, but for my workout regimen, this is what I like to have…

My P90X Shoes – These are all around trainers. Supportive for side-to-side movement, but flexible enough for stretching. A good barefoot trainer like the New Balance Minumus is great for P90X. It does have some drawbacks but it is a good all around shoe. OTHER BUYS: INOV-8 Bare XF, Nike Free Trainer, Nike Huarache Trainer.

My Insanity Shoes – (*also my Plyometrics shoes) I choose a very supportive trainer. The shoes for P90X are ok, but I find that the barefoot trainers are hard on my feet in high impact workouts and my achilles hurts like a mother after a while. No longer for me! Since I switched to a true Basketball shoe (Mid-top) I have been extremely satisfied. They are typically a little heavier, but I think you will be happier post-workout. I love UA. They fit my feet well. Nike Hyperdunks or similar are also good. Be careful here, because bball mids can get heavy depending on the support.

My Running Shoes – I’m not going to go down this road for fear of backlash. People are very particular about their running shoes. In my opinion, niche brands like Brooks and Asics are better at designing for this market. Barefoot or “zero-drop” trainers are becoming very popular but you should research whether a barefoot trainer is right for you. I highly recommend going to a local store that specializes in running style and can fit you with the perfect sneak.


I usually don’t like to wear a few types of shoes. Say what you will, but I am not a fan of Nike Shox or Nike Air Max. I feel that they are like high heels for running. Too much elevation and too bulky of a design. I have a pair for street shoes that are all leather shox and (while they may be cute for the ladies) they look ridiculous in a men’s size 12 and up.  I also don’t wear CHEAP shoes. Buy for value. If your dogs are barkin’ then you need to drop some serious money on a good pair of shoes. It’s not a trap. Take Nike for example. Try on a pair of nikes in each range: $50, $80, $100, $150 and $185. You will notice a huge difference between the $50 and $100 and maybe a minor difference after that.

SO here is your homework. Take of your shoes that are over a year old and trash them. Don’t give them away, just throw them away. Tomorrow is a new day for your feet. Take these simple suggestions and find something that is right for you. Like the old saying goes…

[quote]Take care of your feet, and your feet will take care of you…in the form of a lean, rock hard body…[/quote] or something like that.


  1. Jackie Brownback says:

    This makes me laugh but I can totally relate at the same time. I was wearing Nike Shox when I started my INSANITY program March 1st. My legs/feet hurt (more than they should ;) ). I always felt like they were too tight, too loose, and tingling in my shins, as well. Currently, I am wearing Reebok Zigs. They are much better. I feel like I may already need a new pair though. They seem to be ripping across the top of the shoe just below the laces. How often should I get new ones?? I am definitely going to look into a true basketball shoe for my INSANITY workout. Thanks!

  2. Julie says:

    Excellent article! Really wish that most trainers and not running shoes had more support on top especially for us big footed women ;) . I find my nike free tr on a padded floor work great for Turbo but feel more shock on carpet. I will have to keep you posted on how they do with insanity.

    • kevnknight says:

      I agree! In fact, I just bought the Nike Huarache Free today and LOVE them! Best all around shoe I’ve bought yet!

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