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Your feet work hard every day, carrying you through your daily tasks while you walk, stand, carry, lift, climb, clean, work, and exercise. If you neglect your feet—especially during a workout—then your feet with have to deal with swelling, blisters, and lasting discomfort on top of everything else.
One of the best ways to care for your feet is to invest in a good pair of workout shoes. There is nothing worse than trying to work out when you're experiencing pain and risking possible injury. To improve your workouts, look for a high-quality shoe with a good fit that is made to support the activities you do.
Although most people buy running shoes even if they have never jogged, the shoes you buy should be specific to the activity that you will be using them for.
Running shoes have additional cushioning to absorb shock as your foot hits the ground, which helps to reduce blisters. They are flexible and light. Running shoes are designed for forward motion, so they don't support you well when you move in other directions (like during basketball or step aerobics).
Trail shoes have added traction for running and walking in grass, mud, or trails.
Walking shoes tend to be stiffer and heavier than running shoes. These provide more support because your foot rolls from heel to toe more slowly than when you run.
Cross-training shoes are great for people who have a varied workout routine or play different sports. This is the most versatile athletic shoe, designed to give more support for changes in direction and impact, making them an economical choice. They're heavier and less cushioned than running shoes and not recommended if running is your main mode of training.
Specialty shoes exist for weight lifting, cycling, hiking, tennis, basketball, soccer, and more. If you engage in these activities several days per week, consider buying a sport-specific shoe to fit your needs.
Lifestyle shoes are not made for athletic activities, even though they are made by the same manufacturers who make running and workout shoes. These shoes have flat soles and a sporty look, but not enough support for workout. They're fine for running errands or casual wear, but don't make them part of your exercise gear.
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.
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