Shoe recommendations for exercise
February 19, 2005 9:27 AM   Subscribe

What type or brand of tennis shoes is most appropriate to use when working out on an elliptical trainer?

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to get in a daily 1/2 hour workout on the elliptical trainer. A month and a half out I'm now having some pretty serious tendonitis problems on the ball of my left foot. I wear a very nice pair of asics running shoes that never gave me problems before. What should I be looking for in a shoe that will give me support on this type of machine? Any brands/models geared toward use on ellipticals?
posted by tidecat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total)
pretty much any tennis shoe/running shoe/cross trainer. Since your feet are not pounding any surface -- and in fact don't leave the surface -- you don't need a fancy shoe. Just get something with a good non-slip sole so your feet stay put on the pedals.
posted by pmbuko at 10:02 AM on February 19, 2005

doh. I neglected to read the [more inside].... sorry!
posted by pmbuko at 10:02 AM on February 19, 2005

what kind of problems? other than the fact that you may be eliptical-ing at a higher cadence than running, there's little difference between the two activities.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:09 AM on February 19, 2005

I used to have discomfort (but not tendonitis) when working out on the elliptical trainer in walking shoes or "no-name" running shoes. I wear Adidas Ozweego now, which have solved the problems and are very comfortable--but my hunch is that there could be a lot of variability from person to person.
posted by gimonca at 10:11 AM on February 19, 2005

A follow up: I don't get tendonitis from the ellipse machine, but my feet always go completely numb by the time I'm done with my workout. I think gimonca is right; there is likely a lot of variability from person to person.

Where does someone go to get a "personalized fitness fitting" for athletic shoes? I've attempted to get help from shoe retailers of varying specificity, and while the sales personnel have generally been nice, they aren't exactly orthopedic experts.
posted by jennyb at 10:37 AM on February 19, 2005

ParisParamus -- I know I shouldn't be having issues since the activity is largely the same. I am, however, doing a bit more in the way of incline with the elliptical than I get when out for a run. To be more specific about the tendonitis: the base of the 2nd and 3rd toes (in the pad of the foot right before the arch) is visibly swollen and painful. So much so that I can't comfortably wear heels to work anymore. I'm also skipping my work outs until I'm able to resolve the problem.
posted by tidecat at 10:40 AM on February 19, 2005

JennyB -- my feet used to go numb, too, until I loosened the laces a bit. And thanks for rephrasing my question: a personalized fitness fitting is exactly what I need. Now let's hope someone has an answer!
posted by tidecat at 10:43 AM on February 19, 2005

To get a good fit for /running/ shoes, I've had luck going to specific running stores - for example, when I lived in Boston, Marathon Sports was the place to go. The stores will be staffed by distance runners who will ask you a slew of questions about your running style and examine your previous pair of shoes to determine your wear pattern before making a recommendation. Make sure you tell them of the problem you're having. I can't recommend any place in NJ or Chicago, sorry, but a local runner's group might know.

I don't know if the staff will be able to help you with an elliptical, but it's worth checking. These ideal such store will be completely different from the normal mall shoe store, with competent, low-pressure sales staff. I use an elliptical with my NB running shoes without any problems, but that's just me.
posted by sohcahtoa at 11:29 AM on February 19, 2005

"I'm now having some pretty serious tendonitis problems"

Sounds like the elliptical machine caused the tendonitis would suggest that you STOP the elliptical trainer *right now* and get medical advice.

I have tendonitis, and I was told that the pain would never go away unless I stopped the offending activity immediately and took corrective action. I don't know if that is actually true, but my tendonitis went (mostly) away by following that advice..

Sorry about being alarmist, but I know how painful tendonitis is, and I wouldn't want anyone to unnecessarily suffer for a lifetime.
posted by rajbot at 12:00 PM on February 19, 2005

Sorry, my post got bungled during spellcheck..

I wanted to say, if the elliptical machine caused tendonitis, then stop using the elliptical until you see a doctor. If the tendonitis was pre-exisiting, then you know what you are doing, so never mind..

posted by rajbot at 12:03 PM on February 19, 2005

Whatever brand fits your feet best. I have friends who swear by NewBalance, whereas I swear at them.

As for style, court shoes are probably not good, as they're intended for stability in side to side motion, not cushioning for up/down.

Cross training shoes or trail running shoes might be OK. Walking shoes also might work, but it depends on the shoe.

I don't quite see how a properly used elliptical trainer can cause tendonitis in the ball of your foot, as one of the selling features of an elliptical is that there isn't much (if any) pounding, and the foot flexes very little.

Are you sure it's tendonitis? There are a number of things which can cause pain in the bottom of the foot {says one who is currently in an aircast for tarsal tunnel inflammation}.

I'd be more inclined to suspect plantar fasciitis than tendonitis.

If the pain goes away when you don't do the elliptical, don't do the elliptical until you get an OK from an ortho or (good) physical therapist.
posted by jlkr at 2:30 PM on February 19, 2005

I'm with the "Don't use the elliptical" guys, but if you must use the elliptical make sure you're using it right. Ellipticals are supposed to simulate running, so make sure you're pressing down with your heel and rolling towards the ball of your foot while you're on it. Don't put all your weight on the ball the entire time.

Do you know of any running groups in your area (Gazelle Sports is the place to go in Southwest Michigan, but you're in NJ, so I dunno)? Members may be able to suggest a good sports shop in your area where the salespeople could give you a good fit for your stride and activity type. Generally the Reebok or whatever chain stores don't employ experts, so you want to make sure the people know what they're talking about. Don't be afraid to spend money, though--better plenty of money now then who knows how much later in surgery.
posted by schroedinger at 4:25 PM on February 19, 2005

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