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How To Buy Cross-Training Shoes

Cross-trainers are nearly an all-purpose sport shoe. They are a good choice for you if you enjoy participating in a variety of sports or varying your workout routine.

Are Cross-Training Shoes Right for You?

While cross-training shoes are functional and quite versatile, they are not right for everyone.

Benefits of Cross-Training Shoes

  • They are the most versatile athletic shoes available
  • Cross-training shoes meet the basic comfort, cushioning, stability, and durability requirements of many popular sports and activities
  • They are an economical choice. Cross-trainers allow you to buy a single pair of athletic shoes for a variety of uses.

Drawbacks of Cross-Training Shoes

  • Cross-training shoes are not recommended for anyone on a regular running program
  • Cross-trainers do not offer enough cushioning and flexibility for runners
  • They are heavier than typical running shoes

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Key Features of Cross-Training Shoes

Multi-Purpose Outsoles

Designed to meet the requirements of many activities.

Construction:

  • The outsoles (bottom) of cross-training shoes are wide and stable to provide lateral (side-to-side) support and stability
  • If your foot tends to roll inwards or pronate the wide base of support may help reduce that tendency

Materials:

  • Most cross-trainers have fairly durable outsoles to allow them to go from the gym to the street or tennis court
  • Outsoles will typically be made of extremely durable carbon rubber or a combination of carbon rubber and blown rubber, a softer, lighter, more flexible outsole compound

Low-Profile Midsoles

Cross-training shoes offer a moderate amount of cushioning, primarily at the heel and forefoot of the shoe. Cushioning is usually fairly durable and dense, which enhances the shoe's overall stability

There are two main types of cushioning materials in cross-training shoes that are frequently used in combination:

  • EVA: Lightweight cushioning, but not as much stability and durability. EVA can be compressed to make it somewhat more durable.
  • Polyurethane (PU): More dense and durable cushioning material. Adds both stability and weight.

Durable, Breathable Uppers

Many cross-training shoes have leather uppers, which are designed to provide more ankle support. Some uppers combine leather and lightweight, breathable, synthetic mesh.

All-leather cross trainers provide greater stability but are less breathable than those that feature mesh as well. Secure Lacing System--Look for secure lacing systems to keep the foot stable and secure during lateral movements.

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When to Buy New Cross-Training Shoes

The easiest way to tell if you need new running shoes is to look at the soles. If they are worn out or very unevenly worn, they should be replaced immediately. Cross-training shoes should be replaced every 100 hours, roughly once a year if you're wearing them for an hour twice a week.

If you are wearing your cross-trainers for a variety of activities, especially running or vigorous exercise, you should replace them twice a year as they wear down in various spots.

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Determining Your Shoe Size

  • Determining your shoe size is essential to a comfortable fit
  • Don't assume your shoe size is the same as it has always been. The shape of your feet changes over time.
  • For the perfect fitting shoe, see Determine Your Shoe Size before making your purchase decision

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Fit Tip

Toe AreaWidth AreaHeel Area
Allow (thumbnail's length) of space between top of longest toe on largest foot and the end of the shoeFoot should fit comfortably without stretching the upper over the midsole of the shoeHeel can move but is not supposed to slip

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