Gym shoes, athletic shoes, or sports shoes – whatever you call them all serve a fundamental purpose. They are designed to elevate your performance while you indulge in an activity, meanwhile preventing you from injuries. And not to mention, there is no one shoe-fits-all sportsperson. Depending on the type of sports you play or some other athletic pursuits you have, you will need to find the right athletic men’s shoes. With so many different options, styles, and designs, it can be confusing to decide what is best for you. This is especially true when you play various sports, some just for fun and some professionally.
If you have always thought that you don’t need men’s shoes dedicated to a specific sport if you only play for fun, you are in for a surprise. The simple rule is: if you play a sport or participate in physical activity more than twice a week, you need the right athletic men’s shoes. Just because you play for fun does not mean you are okay with sustaining an injury or developing a foot condition. With that said, let us help you with the various types of athletic men’s shoes and which one will be right for you.
1. Neutral Running Shoes
If you are a runner with a normal foot arch and a “neutral” running pattern, you should consider buying neutral running shoes. Did you know that over half the population has a neutral running style? But what does that mean? It means when you run or jog, the outer part of your heel naturally comes in contact with the ground first. Then, it rolls inward for nearly 15 degrees while the rest of your foot flatly contacts the ground. Your foot then pushes off from the ground in sync with all the toes.
Neutral running shoes are lightweight and have the majority of the cushioning in the heel. This is because, in this particular running style, there is an even weight distribution when the foot comes in contact with the ground. So, the rest of your foot does not require additional padding.
2. Stability Running Shoes
Another type of athletic men’s shoes is stability running shoes, which are designed for runners who find it difficult to maintain their arch support while running. These shoes work best for pronators who overpronate or flatten their feet during running.
Stability running shoes provide extra support in the arch and heel to help keep the arch elevated. As a result, these shoes are comfortable but also a little heavy because of ample cushioning.
3. Court Shoes
If you play a court sport, such as basketball, volleyball, or tennis, consistently three or more times a week, then you should consider buying court shoes. Each sport has its characteristics and different movements. Based on what sports you play, you will need to buy men’s shoes that support your movements during the game.
Tennis shoes enable quick side-to-side movements. Basketball shoes provide ankle support for rapid directional changes and greater stability for running up and down the court. Volleyball shoes offer stability and support for quick cuts and lateral movements.
4. Cross Training Shoes
A hybrid of running shoes and court shoes, cross-training men’s shoes are mainly used for activities that involve different kinds of movements. They are designed to incorporate the best features of running shoes, volleyball shoes, and tennis shoes. These footwear work best for people who switch between treadmill, weightlifting, HIIT training, etc. They also work for people who indulge in volleyball, basketball, aerobics, yoga, Zumba, casual cycling, etc.
Cross-training shoes have plenty of cushioning in the heel and forefoot, providing stability for lateral movement. Therefore, they work for a lot of sports and activities. But if you do long-distance running or speed running, it is best to buy running men’s shoes according to your pronation and running goals.
Sports such as football, soccer, lacrosse, baseball, etc., require sportspersons to wear cleats. Based on the ground type, which could be grass or soft turf, you will need cleats made out of plastic, rubber, or steel.
Soccer cleats are usually made out of soft leather and provide a snug fit. Football cleats come with a central toe cleat for better traction across the football field. Baseball cleats have narrower and longer cleats.
6. Walking Shoes
While this may be surprising to some of you, you can’t walk around in just any footwear you own every day. Walking shoes have some features similar to those of running shoes, but not all. Walking shoes are lightweight, with enough stability and decent shock absorption.
For a smooth heel-to-toe movement, these men’s shoes enable a smooth walking motion. They also hold your feet in place without being too tight or loose.
Whether you hit the gym consistently, go walking every day, or play a sport more than twice a week, you can’t make do with any men’s shoes. It is essential to buy the proper footwear to prevent yourself from injuries. When your footwear supports your feet properly during sport-specific movements, it will naturally increase your focus on the game. This will enhance your performance. So, make sure you understand your pronation type and the movements your feet go through during your workout or sport, and accordingly, choose men’s shoes that work well for you.