Can You Workout in your Running Shoes?
If you have been running for a while, you know how important it is to have the right running shoe. Runners get strangely defensive about what brand and/or style of running shoe is ‘the best’, and different styles of running, foot needs, and price ranges leave runners with a myriad of great options to choose from for their footwear.
Part of the reason runners get so defensive about one shoe versus another is because their shoe of choice performs like they need it to. That means that if they are running a lot, the shoe keeps its shape, form, and integrity even after hundreds of miles. And if they are out on the roads or braving the trails, their shoes help them conquer whatever terrain lies at their feet. Runners are not afraid to put their shoes through some intense conditions. But, ironically enough, though their shoes may be filled with sweat, mud, and the wear and tear of repeated use, most runners absolutely refuse to wear them anywhere else. Why put even more wear and tear on them as it is? Yet, for some folks, having multiple pairs of running and/or workout shoes is not feasible.
For starters, it can get expensive very quickly. And a quality pair of running shoes, in particular, tend to be pricey. Not to mention, most people just do not want to be bothered with so many pairs of the same kind of shoes, and would much rather invest in other pairs (like that beautiful pair of red-bottomed heels you have had your eye on for literally ever but every six months you need new trail shoes and running always ends up trumping everything).
So are most runners crazy? Should high quality running shoes really be kept just for running? Or can you incorporate them into other workouts and see functional results?
The Pros of Working Out in Your Running Shoes
There are several advantages to working out in your running shoes. The first is one that we already touched on a bit, which is saving money. Everybody likes having spare cash on hand, and you can really save when you are not having to buy an extra pair of workout shoes that would normally cost you over a hundred bucks.
Another benefit is the time it saves you between workouts, and how it can make things much simpler logistically when preparing for your day. If you only have one pair of shoes to choose from, preparing your workout attire is a cinch. And if you typically finish up your run and go straight to lifting weights, then that is one less step you have to worry about. No more changing shoes in between workouts or having to think about all the details of packing multiple shoes, what you will do with the other pair when you are not wearing them, etc. And obviously, having one less pair of shoes means one less article of clothing that you have to keep clean and care for.
Finally, like we already said, most runners are extremely picky about their shoe of choice, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that the shoes are made by a trusted brand that provides the perfect amount support and comfort for the individual. So you will never have to doubt that they will not be comfortable or fit well, and it will never be a blind guess as to whether or not they will be a good purchase for you. You already know you like them!
The Cons of Working Out in Your Running Shoes
The most obvious disadvantage of working out in your running shoes is that you run the risk of putting more wear and tear on them than you would otherwise. This is especially true if the workouts you plan to do are high intensity, high impact, and/or lateral movements (i.e. movements like jumping, sprinting, stair climbing, etc.)
But we also need to consider the shoes from a functional standpoint. Running shoes are made in a particular way to aid your running. They are made to provide continued support and cushioning after repeated forward pounding and the same forward motion of your footstrike. They typically have a higher heel drop to help absorb more shock. They are less inclined to support your ankles, knees, and feet upon side to side movements that might come up in your cross training workouts. The result could be a lot of discomfort, and in the worst of cases, result in you sustaining an injury!
Workout shoes typically tend to be much flatter, so they make poor running shoes because they do not provide enough support upon repeated ball-to-heel foot strike that most runners have. But they do have a lot of room for toes and ankles, which make them great weight lifting shoes. This is all to say that if you choose to wear your running shoes for your workouts, you might not actually get as much out of the workout as you would or could if you were to wear workout shoes.
And the Final Verdict Is…?
Consider your resources, your budget, your time, and your workout habits. Obviously, if you just can’t make it work financially, then working out in your running shoes is a possibility. But it is not the best one. We say that if you want to get the most out of your workouts, avoid injury, be comfortable, and improve your performance, then you need to wear your running shoes while running and your workout shoes in the gym when you cross train.
It might take a little bit more organization in your day to coordinate between two different pairs of sneakers (as well as a bigger gym bag) but it will be worth it in the long run! (Not to mention… does anyone really hate having more than one pair of running and/or workout shoe?)