With the popularity of HIIT growing, so many people are looking for new ways to break a sweat. One of the main pieces of equipment recommended for cardio or HIIT is a running shoe.
But can you use your favorite pair for this type of training? If a running shoe is worn for HIIT, should it be full-out? Or can you wear the shoe more like a cross-training shoe, with some running and some walking? Or could you even use a non-running shoe for cardio or HIIT?
Let’s consider the basic requirements for a running shoe, and then the pros and cons of using it for HIIT.
Running Shoes: The Basics
When you run on roads or treadmills, whether it’s for competition or just to get fit, you’ll need running shoes that have a flexible upper. This upper must have enough give to let your foot flex up and down as you land and push off. Running shoes also need a cushioned midsole that can absorb impact as your foot hits the ground. And the sole must be firm enough that it can push back as you take a step.
HIIT: Fits or Doesn’t Fit?
For HIIT, you’ll need a shoe that can do everything in the list above. But this shoe must also be firm and stable enough to support you as you perform a range of movements and activities while working out. And the upper will need to offer ample support so that it doesn’t move around as your foot moves up and down, twists, etc.
The problem is that all of these requirements may make a running shoe inadequate for HIIT. Let’s take a look at this issue in more detail.
HIIT Running Shoe Issues
The biggest problem is support. The stability and support that a running shoe offers is designed to help you run fast and stay aligned as you move your feet through the striking zone during each stride. This doesn’t mean that running shoes are flat; they do have lumps and bumps in the midsole to help with shock absorption and support. But when you’re working out, you will actually be “toeing off” the front and rear of each stride to cause vibration and trauma.
This can all mean that a running shoe might not hold up during HIIT training. And because most running shoes are designed for running, they may not offer enough cushioning around your arch, instep or shin to absorb impact. If the shoe doesn’t support you properly, it may also fail to protect your feet over time. Depending on how you plan to use your shoe, the lack of support can lead to:
Plantar Fasciitis – Sudden impact on your feet can lead to plantar fasciitis, or inflammation and pain in the tissues of the bottoms of your feet.
Compartment Syndrome – Pressure from the shoe on your toes can lead to compartment syndrome, which is when pressure builds up in the tissues surrounding your tendons.
Blisters – Blisters are painful little pockets of fluid that form under your skin, often because of friction or rubbing within your shoe. They can be a real problem during a workout as you have to stop and remove the shoes.
Can Running Shoes Be Used for HIIT?
If you plan to use your favorite running shoes for HIIT , expect to stop more often as you remove your shoes and deal with blisters. Avoid this problem by using a shoe specifically made for HIIT training. Most sports stores offer a range of different types of shoes that you can use for this purpose.
But even if your favorite running shoes aren’t well-suited for HIIT, don’t completely avoid them. If you have a pair of shoes that you’ve been using for years, there’s no reason not to use them when it’s appropriate.
If you’re just starting out, it might be a good idea to use a shoe made for cross-training rather than one that’s designed for HIIT. If you want to use your favorite running shoes, try wearing them without the laces loose and then tighten them as needed. If you have gaps in the shoe where they meet the upper, consider wearing socks so that they don’t slip.
To Sum UP!
You should be able to use your favorite running shoes for HIIT. However, you should choose a shoe that has been designed for this purpose rather than one that is not well-suited for the activity. Using this type of shoe may help you avoid blisters and other injuries, as well as give you a more controlled and focused workout.