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

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