A question that often gets asked by those who frequent the local gym is whether they can use their gym shoes outside. Most gyms have a strict policy regarding shoes. In fact, my gym even has a sign by the front door that says no street shoes on the gym floor.
The main reason behind it is to keep the interior of the gym as clean as possible. Any decent gym that takes the issue of hygiene seriously tries to keep the floor and the equipment disinfected. However, that is not always possible since many people use those instruments every day.
And as people work out, naturally the floor gets dirty too. It is quite impossible to keep a gym clean 100 percent. But by restricting the use of outside shoes in the gym, floor hygiene can be maintained to some extent. It might not be perfect, but it is still something.
In this article, I will give you a clear concept of why you should not wear gym shoes outside along with a few ideas on the best shoe you can wear inside the gym. So, you can pick out the perfect shoe for your workout routine.
Are Shoes Necessary for Gym?
Technically speaking, you could go to your local gym and work out barefoot if your gym allows it. In fact, some exercises like squats and deadlifts feel better to do without wearing any shoes at all. However, it is usually not a good idea.
Firstly, most gyms have a policy against working out barefoot. And secondly, it is not very hygienic to work out without shoes. A gym floor is not exactly the cleanest place and working out without wearing shoes means that you are exposed to all the dirt and bacteria completely.
You’re going to the gym to get fit and healthy. So, working out barefoot can be counterproductive.
Besides, gym shoes also serve some important functions that can enhance your overall workout experience. Here are a few reasons why you should wear a pair of gym shoes in the gym.
1. Protecting Your Feet
In the gym, you will be working out with a lot of different objects. Speaking from personal experience, it is very common to drop something on your feet. If you are wearing a pair of shoes, your feet will be protected if you do drop something.
A pair of high-end shoes can save your toes from a lot of accidents.
Besides, there is always a chance that someone might step on your feet. If you are wearing shoes when that happens, it will hurt a lot less.
2. Supportive Cushioning
Gym shoes are not exactly designed to give you the most cushioning. That defeats the entire purpose of a workout. You need to be able to work through the pain after all. But these shoes still come with enough padding to prevent any unnecessary strain in your ankle or feet.
The small bit of supportive cushioning that comes from gym shoes can drastically enhance the effectiveness of your workout routine.
3. Base Support
Lastly, gym shoes provide much-needed base support especially when you are lifting weights or squatting. By giving you a solid and flat sole, these shoes ensure that your feet remain firmly planted while you train your body muscles.
In addition, the soles are also mostly skid-resistant. So, you do not have to worry about slipping when you are wearing them.
Should You Wear Your Gym Shoes Outside?
No, you should not wear your gym shoes outside. There are some pretty valid reasons why wearing your gym shoes outside the gym is a bad idea.
- Firstly, gym shoes are almost always dirty. Since it is natural to sweat during a workout session, there is a good chance that your shoes will absorb a lot of the sweat. And if you keep wearing it for long hours, it may lead to allergic conditions.
- Apart from your own sweat, gym shoes also pick up germs and bacteria from the gym floor. Regardless of what you may believe, the truth is many gyms do not properly disinfect their training equipment regularly. If you take your gym shoes outside, you are essentially giving these germs and bacteria a lift.
- Besides, gym shoes are not that fashionable. Sure, the base support in these shoes is superb. But as casual footwear, it does not look that good. So there really is no point wearing it outside. Even if you use a Vans for lifting in the gym, avoid wearing it outside.
Are Running Shoes Suitable for Gym Workouts?
It depends on the type of workouts you are doing. If you are prioritizing lightweight cardio, then you can easily use your running shoes for the workout. However, for lifting weights, you should be wearing proper gym shoes or Converse.
Running shoes are designed to give you the most flexibility in ankle movements. These shoes also come with cushioning on the inside to protect your feet from blisters, Furthermore, the moisture-wicking upper of running shoes protects your feet from getting too hot.
However, gym shoes are designed for lateral movements rather than total movements. Running shoes feature rounded soles to eliminate friction while running. However, this can lead to balancing issues when you use it for lifting weights in the gym,
For weightlifting or other intense physical activities, your shoes need to have a flat base. The bottom of the shoe needs to feature a non-skid design to ensure you have the highest stability when working out. Though you can work out with running shoes, it will not be as efficient and easy as wearing a nice pair of gym shoes.
However, running shoes work great if you are doing cardio or HIIT training with a rower or an air cycle. Since those instruments require quick ankle movements, running shoes can really improve your workout efficiency.
How Do I Choose the Best Workout Shoe?
Over the years, I have amassed quite a collection of workout shoes that I use regularly for the gym. But when I was just a beginner, I made a lot of mistakes. With experience though, I slowly started to recognize the elements that make a shoe great for a workout.
In the following section, I have compiled a few aspects that you should check before investing in a shoe for working out.
1. Fabric Quality
The first thing you should check when buying a pair of shoes is the quality of the fabrics that are used to make them. Most gym shoes are made with canvas but the quality of the canvas can differ wildly. High-quality shoes will use premium canvas with excellent breathability and moisture absorption capacity.
Since you will be sweating a lot during your workout sessions, you should always invest in a shoe that comes with high-quality fabrics. Non-breathable canvas shoes are not a good choice as they will restrict airflow inside the shoe and make it uncomfortable for you to wear during intense sessions.
Would you wear a shoe that does not feel comfortable? Definitely not. Now imagine putting in hours in the gym wearing a pair of shoes that causes your feet to ache. That is why comfort is one of the most critical aspects you want to consider when buying a new pair of gym shoes.
It is best to wear the shoe first and walk around the store before you buy it. That way, you will get a good idea of the overall fit. Make sure your feet are relaxed and there is enough space inside the shoe to move around your toe comfortably. Whatever you do, do not invest in an uncomfortable shoe for the gym.
When I was young and inexperienced, I used to go with the shoe that had the most cushioning. Naturally, I thought the thicker the padding, the better it is for me in the gym. However, it is not as simple as that. Typically, gym shoes benefit more from less cushioning.
With more padding, the shoe gets heavier which can make it harder for you to commit to intense training. But that does not mean you should get a shoe without any padding. The trick here is to find a shoe that gives you decent protection without going overboard on the interior padding.
Another aspect that you must check when buying a pair of gym shoes is their traction. The grip and quality of the sole of the shoe are extremely important when you are planning to use it for the gym. Without good traction, lifting weights wearing the shoe will be much harder and also risky.
Besides, gym floors can often get slippery due to sweat or other liquids. Without a high-traction sole, you can slip or skid and injure yourself. The last thing you want is to go to the gym and come home in crutches. So always check the traction of the shoe before you buy it.
Lastly, you want to check the overall durability of the shoe. The durability of a particular shoe depends on a lot of different factors. Everything from the fabric material to the quality of the sole and even the stitching quality plays a part in dictating the overall sturdiness of the shoe.
When you are checking out a particular shoe, pay close attention to its overall construction. Look at the different sections of the shoe and look for any inconsistencies in its stitching. You could also try looking up user reviews on different forums for a good idea about its quality and longevity.
3 Best Shoes for Weight Training and Cardio Reviews
Everybody has their own favorite pair when it comes to gym shoes. I had the good fortune of owning many different shoes in the past. The following three shoes are my go-to options when it comes to the best shoes for weight training and cardio.
If you are looking for a nice pair of workout shoes, you can pick out any one of the following for a good experience.
Reebok Nano X1
The Nano X1 by Reebok is without a doubt my most favorite shoe to wear on the gym floor. Though it was designed for powerlifters, its design and flexibility make it a great choice for all other forms of workouts. To me, it is the perfect training partner.
This shoe has been designed for those who like to push themselves. Whether you are taking on High-impact interval training or lifting weights, the breathable fabric of the shoe will keep your feet cool and flesh. The Flexweave knit upper of the shoe lets you move quickly in any direction without straining yourself.
It also comes with a firm cushioning of Floatride Energy Foam in the forefoot section giving you decent protection against any form of exercise. Despite the excellent interior padding, the shoe is flexible and light enough for you to take on high-energy workouts like sprinting or climbing.
The shoe also comes in a wide variety of color options allowing you to match your outfits if that is something that appeals to you. At a bargain price of around 100 to 150 dollars, this is a great choice. As long as you pick out the right size, this shoe fits like a charm and feels extremely comfortable.
- Versatile and lightweight shoe
- Breathable Flexweave knit upper
- Comes in multiple colors and designs
- Decent protection thanks to the Floatride Energy Foam
- Might not be the best choice for heavy lifters
York Athletics The Henry
The Henry by York Athletics is another shoe that I really love. However, I do not use it as much for the gym as I do for jogging in the morning. The flexible design of the shoe makes it the perfect running footwear. And its stylish design doesn’t hurt much either.
The combination of its breathable upper made of air mesh and slip-resistant carbon black outsole made of rubber makes it a formidable choice for running footwear. Its reinforced heel and custom PU foam liner ensure proper protection and protect you from sprained ankles while running.
This shoe comes with a high-responsive EVA foam bottom that ensures efficient energy return at every stride. As a result, you will be able to run for longer without burning excess energy and build up that endurance you desire. The sole is also slip-resistant to prevent any accidents while running.
As of today, you can find 12 different color variations of this shoe. And since each of them looks so nice, you can wear it with your casual outfit without any trouble. It is a great shoe that is perfect for runners or athletes training on the court.
- Stylish design that goes well with any casual attire
- Comfortable and minimalistic design
- Breathable upper for excellent airflow
- Low-top design for better range of ankle motions
- Less support than other options on the market
Nike Men’s Metcon 4 XD Training Shoe
I tried out the Nike Men’s Metcon 4 XD only recently after the constant badgering of a close friend and thank God that I did. This shoe comes with fantastic features and improves largely on the previous versions. These days it is one of my favorite pairs of shoes to take to the gym.
This shoe comes with an excellent upper that is extremely breathable. As a result, my feet feel fresh and cool even when I am going for High-impact Interval Training exercises. It works great for running, but for lifting, I will still prefer another flat-sole style shoe.
The durability of the shoe is also quite excellent. It features a 3D printed haptic technology which makes the material extremely tough and sturdy. In the pressure areas of the shoe, the manufacturers used larger Tri-Star TPU material to ensure the shoe remains undamaged during rigorous training.
The Flywire technology used in the shoe ensures the shoe feels snug in your feet as long as the size is right. It comes in five different colorways and each of them looks quite stylish. Sure, I would not wear them casually, but in the gym, it looks pretty cool and classy.
- Durably Haptic Print
- Flywire technology gives the perfect fit
- Tri-Star pattern ensures quick multi-directional movements
- Comfortable midsole design
- Limited color options
If you want the gym environment to be hygienic, you should do your part in keeping it that way. Using a separate shoe for your gym is the first step. You should never take your gym shoes outside since they will get contaminated with dirt and germs which you will bring to the gym when you wear them inside.
If you do not have a gym shoe, I would strongly recommend buying one. I already gave you my top three picks to make the task even easier for you. Just make sure the shoe is not too small for your feet and you should be fine with any one of them in the gym.