Guys, this time is no joke. It’s tough out there, and every part of our lives is affected. We know that and we feel for you. We also know that getting in some cardio is a great way to manage your stress. And, whether you’re still doing that in a gym, or you’ve switched to home workouts, it’s crucial that you wear properly supportive footgear. Yes, even in your basement or living room.

Now, in the past, we’ve talked about the benefits of sport-specific shoes. Is it absolutely necessary? Not really. But if you can do it, it’s not the worst idea. Especially if you’re playing basketball, but really for any type of activity. And, with that notion in mind, we’re devoting today’s post to the features to look for in a general cardio sneaker.

What is Cardio? The shoes you wear for your cardio workouts are of the utmost importance

Cardiovascular exercise is defined as any type of activity that raises your heart rate. In general, this would include running, but for our purposes today we’re keeping runs and jogs out of the equation. That’s because runners need very different features in their sneakers. But that’s a topic for another day and another blog post.

So, back to our original topic: cardio. There are so many great ways to get your heart pumping. You could jump on a stationary bike—or ride a real one. You could hop on the elliptical, or pump up some music and jump around while you get that groove on. Anything that gets you moving, and sweating, falls in the cardio category. And whatever you choose, here’s what you need from your shoes.

Top Features for Cardio Sneakers

Ok, you’ve waited long enough. Here’s what you cardio kicks need, in no specific order:

  1. Rigidity

When you’re jumping around and moving a lot, you want a sneaker with a stiff shank that will keep supporting your arch, no matter how you’re stepping. In order to test the level of stiffness, try to bend your shoe in half. If you aren’t successful, your feet are on the right track.

  1. Bend in the All the Right Places

While you do want a rigid shoe shank for cardio support, you need that shoe to bend a bit. And, ideally, the spot where your shoe bends (known as the flex point) will match up to your foot’s natural bending position. This will help prevent foot pain and injuries.

  1. Firm Heels

You want a stiff but padded shoe heel for two reasons. The padding will protect you from rubbing and blisters if your foot moves around while you get that sweat on. And its rigidity will prevent it from collapsing under the pressure of your movement, so you never sacrifice support.

  1. Room for Your Little Piggies

When you do your cardio, your feet may shift in your shoes, as we’ve already mentioned. If you pick sneakers with extra space for your toes, they won’t get bumped and bruised when that happens. So look for roomy toe boxes when trying on cardio sneakers.

  1. Love the Rubber

When you’re moving and grooving, you’re probably hitting the ground harder than during regular activity. For this reason, cardio sneakers should offer lots of shock absorption—and a good way to ensure that they do is to look for pairs with sturdy rubber outsoles.

  1. Size Wisely

Your feet swell throughout the day—and they also tend to swell when we exercise. For that reason, you may need to go up half a size when purchasing cardio sneakers. If you want to mimic this kind of swelling, try shopping for cardio shoes at the end of the day, especially if you’ve been on your feet for a while.

Now, all those guidelines apply to everybody’s feet. But, as Elmhurst podiatrists, we know more than anyone that everyone’s feet are unique. To that end, you should also factor in conditions like arch height or chronic conditions you may be dealing with when you purchase your shoes.

Depending on your situation, you may need more or less support in your mid-foot. Or you may need custom orthotics to help keep you comfy. Whatever your situation, we’ve got you covered. So come in and see us if you need extra help figuring out your feet, and what they should tell you about your shoe options. And know that we are taking extra precautions in our office at this time to keep your feet happy and your whole-self safe and healthy. Take care, everyone!


Jordana White
Jordana Rothstein White
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