A good pair of fitness shoes is the most important part of any aerobic workout. Depending on your choice of physical activity, you will need a specific pair of shoes, because without proper shoes, you may get injured and not have all advantages of a good workout.
Let's have a look at different aerobic workouts, and the best fitness shoes for each one of them.
Running shoes should give you good "propelling" power. They should provide forward movement from the moment the heel hits the ground through the middle of the sole, and to the toes with good cushioning. Running shoes usually don't give any lateral support since it is not necessary for a runner to have that feature.
Tennis includes a lot of sudden moves to the sides and abrupt stops. That is why tennis shoes are constructed with a strong lateral support and should have enhanced toe boxes to compensate for those specific activity features. Tennis shoes also need more treading to make sure that you have enough traction while playing.
Walking shoes are similar to running shoes, but they have some differences as well. While these shoes should provide the same forward momentum as running shoes, the range of step is more profound especially in the toe area. So, with walking shoes, it is important to have a shoe which is flexible in the toe area. Equally important is the heel which is rounded and low to provide the necessary forward motion.
Cross-training shoes are basic shoes which provide enough stability, cushioning and support for almost every fitness activity besides running where you need more flexibility and cushioning than a regular cross-trainer can render. Cross-training shoes are the most economical choice, as well, since they can be used for so many activities. Depending on the type of aerobic activity, you can choose cross-training shoes with more lateral support (for kick-boxing and step aerobics), more cushioning in the heel (for basic aerobics) or more flexibility in the toe (for treadmills).
Traditionally, yoga and similar activities such as Tai chi are performed barefoot. This tradition comes from a basic idea of yoga - connecting to the nature, so the less clothing you have, the better it is. However, if you do yoga in a studio, some trainers prefer that you wear special yoga shoes because of sanitary reasons. In this case, you will need very flexible shoes or even socks. This footwear should have a thin sole providing traction and a mesh top to keep your feet from sweating.
While choosing a pair of fitness shoes, you need to know what kind of feet you have. There are different requirements for shoes for normal, pronated or supinated feet. If you are not sure what kind of feet you have and need advice, it is better to go to a specialized shoe store where the salespeople are specifically trained on the subject.
It is very important to pay attention to the condition of your shoes, because with time fitness shoes lose their abilities to properly support your feet (which can lead to an injury). They should be replaced every 300 to 600 miles, depending on your level of activity.