It's fun to pick a kick based on color, pattern and overall style, but save that approach for when you're buying for fashion. When you buy performance shoes, you want to get the right shoe for the right workout, so they provide proper support for the moves you make. If they don't, wearing them could do more harm than good. So, if you're heading out for a run, wear running shoes; if you're heading to the weight room, lace up the cross-trainers. There's actually a big difference between them.
|Adidas ClimaCool ($90, shopadidas.com) is a lightweight running shoe designed to keep feet from overheating and to prevent blisters. The upper portion is made of mesh to promote airflow, while perforations in the sock liner help cool common friction hot spots, where blisters tend to develop.|
|The recently released Mizuno Wave Prophecy ($200, mizunousa.com) is a running shoe that provides both stability and protection against overpronation (when your foot rolls inward, placing pressure on your arch). The Prophecy is made with a material that shrinks and expands, so your foot moves in harmony with the shoe.|
|The Nike Air Pegasus+ 28 ($90, nike.com), a staple in the running world for the past 25 years, is popular because of its responsive cushioning and superior support.|
|If you typically run early in the day, check out the K-Swiss California ($130, kswiss.com), part of the company's Morning Run Collection. This rainbow bright and bold shoe features reflective details, so you'll be visible during dawn hours. It's also water-resistant, so your foot stays dry when you pound on wet grass.|
Cross-training shoes are more suitable for weight room sessions, agility and speed work. They are designed to support multi-directional movements, so you can plant and cut, jump and change direction.
|The ASICS Gel Intensity cross trainer ($100, asicsamerica.com) gets the job done. Its front and back portions are made with a GEL system for cushioning and comfort during side-to-side movements. The upper is made with stretch material that reduces buckling—and the possibility of blisters—while memory foam conforms to your heel for a personalized fit.|
|If you'll be doing a lot of oncourt cross-training this summer, consider the New Balance 871 ($85, newbalance.com). Its outsole is made of non-marking rubber, so even when the surface is slick with water or sweat, the shoe's aggressive traction will support quick side-to-side motions without slipping. Your foot will also stay in place thanks to the wave pattern Sure Lace feature, which keeps the foot secure during high-impact movements like ladder drills.|
|Another option: The Under Armour Incite ($85, underarmour.com) has an external heel support system that keeps your foot locked in during lateral movement, and a footbed that conforms to your foot to minimizes internal slipping.|
Some experts say training in heavily padded shoes can weaken your feet and make them more injury-prone. Hence they advocate barefoot training. In theory, the foot is forced to use muscles it otherwise wouldn't. Proponents say such training strengthens the lower body and prevents injuries. But outdoor surfaces are not always safe. Enter minimalist shoes, which are designed to protect your feet from cuts, scrapes or other injuries you could suffer by going completely barefoot.
|Summer is a solid time to experiment with a minimalist shoe, because if you experience any soreness as your feet adjust to the shoe, you'll have time to recover. The Nike Free Run+ 2 ($90, nike.com) is worth a look. It's not totally minimal like the Vibram FiveFingers, but it's good if you want a little protection. The Free Run+ 2 is constructed with deep fl ex grooves along the bottom to support your foot's natural range of motion while still providing a barefoot feel.|
|Reebok's RealFlex ($90, reebok.com) is another minimal sole that allows your foot to flex naturally. The bottom is made with flex sensors to give your foot a responsive feel against the ground. It's formfitting, so you get a sock-like effect.|