Ask Scott: Can I Use A Running Shoe For Cross-Training?

Q.

Hi Scott,

I am 60 and don’t run, but I use a treadmill, go to step and zumba classes (specific sneaks), and walk for exercise. There are no longer enough choices on the cross-training sneaker shelves. I love many of the new “running” shoes mentioned in the Sept. 2011 issue of Competitor and want to know if I can use a running shoe for my fitness regime.

Hoping you say yes,

Peggy S.

A.

Peggy,

The primary differences between a running shoe and cross-training shoe is torsional rigidity (stiffness in sole side to side), upper stiffness and midsole differential (height difference from heel to toe). Some cross-training exercisers do prefer running shoes due to flexibility of the forefoot and overall comfort. If you are going to use a running shoe for cross-training I recommend you select one that has a lower heel height to increase stability and prevent ankle sprains. Most of the new minimal shoes boast a lower heel height and may work well for cross training activities.

Fit, Feel And Ride: 2011 Fall Running Shoe Review

Also, make sure the upper is not made of stretchy materials and wraps around your foot for a solid fit, avoiding sliding side to side inside the shoe.

Lastly, determine if you are comfortable with a more flexible midsole. Your foot and lower leg will work harder, but you may improve your stability and strength as a result. If you want more stability select a running shoe that is stiffer when you try to twist it as if wringing out a towel (torsional rigidity). You may be able to transition to a less torsionally rigid shoe as you gain strength and stability.

Scott

Have a question for Scott? Send it here. To see answers to other questions, visit the Ask Scott homepage.

Get our best running content delivered to your inbox

Subscribe to the FREE Competitor Running weekly newsletter

Top Stories

Videos

Photos