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CROSS TRAINERS OR RUNNING SPECIFIC SHOES?
Choosing the appropriate shoe for an activity can sometimes become a confusing choice. There are so many choices of shoes that it can become overwhelming. Factors involved in choosing the proper shoe include: price, specific purpose, versatility, body weight, fitness level, running mechanics and foot health.
Benefits of a Cross Trainer
The primary benefit of a cross trainer is versatility. Most runners engage in other activities other than running. Strength training, cycling, aerobics and court sports are all activities that runners commonly engage in. The use of a cross trainer reduces or eliminates the need for another type of shoe.
Most late model cross trainers contain some sort of shock absorbing system that makes them appropriate for running. The runner can then go directly from running to strength training or other cross training activity without changing shoes.
A cross trainer has an increased level of stability. This is necessary in order to protect the athlete during the lateral motions involved in court sports. This also makes the shoe appropriate for off road running, where the uneven surface can increase the risk of rolling an ankle.
Benefits of a Running Shoe
While cross trainers are the more versatile shoes, it is not always the best choice for running. A cross trainer has some cushioning, but not at much as many true running shoes. A heavy runner, an athlete involved in very long distance training or a runner that is prone to joint injury may need the additional cushioning.
A cross training is also a heavier shoe and is not ventilated as well as a running specific shoe. The additional weight makes in a poor choice for racing. Runners that compete in a lot of races will find that they can improve their performance by purchasing racing flats for racing. These shoes are very light, but have little cushioning, making them inappropriate for training runs.
If cost is a primary concern, a cross trainer is a good choice for many runners. It will allow the athlete to participate in other sports activities safely.
If the cost of a second pair of shoes were not a concern, it would be better to use running specific shoes for running activities. The additional cushioning of running shoes will help prevent injuries and the lighter weight will improve race performance.
A competitive athlete would be well served to own three types of shoes. A cushioned running specific shoe for training, a light weight racing flat for racing and a cross trainer for strength training and other sports.
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