By Jane Sandwood
Almost 50% of Americans are trying to lose weight at any one time, according to the CDC.
And while eating nutritious foods, undergoing intense fitness routines, and burning fat are a must to keep yourself fit and trim, so are a good quality pair of workout shoes. However, the stylish, practical, and functional sneakers that are favored by exercise enthusiasts today have significantly evolved over the years and now aid weight loss better than ever before.
The history of the workout sneaker
It wasn’t until the 20th century that sneakers became widespread. Initially, they were made as all-rounder fitness shoes that could be worn by both sexes. However, during the 20s and 30s, manufacturers opted to produce separate sneakers for both genders. Converse high tops are a staple sneaker which have stood the test of time and were frequently worn by professional soccer players during the 60s.
Meanwhile, Reebok Freestyles were favored by fitness fanatics, including Jane Fonda in the 80s. Sneakers in the 1990s became much more prominent, with bright colors, lights, and platform sneakers making their mark. And while not every one of these 90s classics was designed with physical activity in mind, they paved the way for future athletic designs.
Walk into any sneaker store these days and you’ll find a variety of sneakers designed for every sport possible. Sport-specific sneakers have been around for almost a decade and are crucial for protecting the feet and preventing injury. But, research shows that the right pair of sneakers can boost performance. A six-week study concluded that runners who wore lightweight running sneakers had better running results than those wearing heavier sneakers not designed for running. As such, having the appropriate pair of sneakers for your sport may aid weight loss.
75% of athletic shoes aren’t worn for the sport that they were intended for, according to Forbes. As a result, the market has listened to consumers’ requirements and have produced sneakers which are suitable to be worn for multiple sports. Podiatrist Paul Langer, DPM suggests that in most cases you’ll still need a separate pair of running shoes, but for everything else, a cross sneaker will suffice. As a general rule, cross sneakers are suitable workout shoes if you regularly participate in different sports at low-intensity levels. This is beneficial as it means no matter what your budget, you’ll get fit and shape up.
The first cushioned pair of sneakers was launched by Nike in 1987. Since then sneaker manufacturers have used air and gas in their shoes to offer optimum comfort and support, and have even given consumers the option of custom air pumped sneakers.
But, it’s Nike’s latest ZoomX cushioning technology in their Vaporfly sneakers which has the potential to truly enhance performance and get you shedding the pounds. Research shows that runners who wore Vaporflys had better performance than those wearing two other types of sneakers tested. It’s thought that this was due to the carbon-fiber plate and lightweight foam used in the sneakers.
These days, it’s not just about being lightweight and providing cushioning support that makes a pair of sneakers stand out from the crowd for those looking to shift the pounds.
Today’s sneakers are all about making you look good, feel comfortable, and aiding your performance in the gym. The likes of the Nike Metcom has been designed with an additional lace hole to provide extra support, and the rubber on the toe is stickier than normal to prevent you from slipping when jumping and squatting.
Similarly, the Under Armour Limitless 3.0 will push your workout to the max as it provides an EVA sock liner which molds to the shape of your foot, and there’s a floating space around the arch of the foot to ensure you stay stable no matter how much you’re jumping around.
The future of workout sneakers
Despite sneaker manufacturers working tirelessly over the years to make their workout sneakers as lightweight as possible, Japanese manufacturers have recently produced Muscle Trainer sneakers which weigh up to 1,400 grams per sneaker. In comparison, the average sneaker weighs up to 400 grams.
During testing, it was concluded that the Japanese sneakers could increase the number of calories burned during training by as much as 25%. This was due to the extra weight on each foot increasing the amount of fat burned during every workout. Should consumers start to reap the weight loss benefits of these heavier sneakers, then it won’t be long before all workout sneakers weigh considerably more than they do today.
A good pair of sneakers is the secret behind successful weight loss. And thanks to the ever-changing designs of sneakers, as well as the technology used within them, they’re helping the nation to fight the flab.
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