What sneakers will protect my feet without alienating them from the rest of my body?
June 19, 2007 7:37 PM   Subscribe

I need a new pair of sneakers, mainly to be used for going to the gym. Most sneakers appropriate for running are gaudy, strangely bulbous and look like some sort of terrifying cyborg technology. I just want a humble and functional pair of shoes that will protect my feet while exercising and possibly promote good posture. Any suggestions?
posted by davidriley to Shopping (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you want shoes appropriate for running? I fully endorse Vitruvians.

Do you want shoes for lifting? Brooks Beast look like they'd fit the bill (and they're excellent running shoes as well).
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:42 PM on June 19, 2007

I have been dying to try out these when I get my next pair... which promise to "Give your bum a boost-- not to mention the rest of your muscles, your posture, your height (check out that 1 1/2" pivot sole!) and your weary workout wardrobe."

Well, I'm sold. Now I just have to make it to the gym...that's a nother story for another question!
posted by Kensational at 7:44 PM on June 19, 2007

Go to a running store (not a shoe store) with personal service and a knowledgeable staff and try out a few different pairs. Jog around the store in them. Different shoes will fit different feet differently, so you need to try them out carefully before buying. If you go to a place where a salesperson who knows about running can watch how the shoes fit you as you run, all the better. If you don't trust salespeople, find a friend who knows running and have your friend watch.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:48 PM on June 19, 2007

I have New Balance, a couple different pairs now. The 602's on that page have been really comfortable, and can usually be found at a pretty reasonable price.
posted by pupdog at 8:02 PM on June 19, 2007

Vans? They're humble, take a lot of damage, and give you some skate-punk cachet.
posted by nasreddin at 8:03 PM on June 19, 2007

I have trouble finding them, but I have yet to buy a pair of Brooks that I didn't like. They tend to be moderately priced, feel great, and last for ages.
posted by Malor at 8:16 PM on June 19, 2007

If they're just gym shoes go to Marshalls, Ross or Big 5 and buy wahtever they have that fits you the best. Personally I am not a big fan of running soles with very high heels compared to the forefoot part, as they shorten my calf muscles something terrible, so I usually look for a "trail runner" or "cross trainer".
posted by fshgrl at 8:21 PM on June 19, 2007

Its basically all about what actually fits your foot. I really like New Balance, but unfortunately they don't fit my feet in the least (any of their size). The brands that do are Brooks and Saucony.. I went through a couple pairs of Saucony Grid shoes, but killed my feet in one of them, so I've been using them as gym shoes. They're a little bit wider than the Brooks, which I prefer for the gym. For running, I'm on Brooks Adrenaline right now, which is amazing in that they don't change it much at all year to year (except they keep dropping in weight while still managing to keep the same cushioning), and they fit my feet well for running.
posted by devilsbrigade at 8:29 PM on June 19, 2007

Oh, old Nike's are another popular gym choice. Even something like the (gaudy and hyped) air force ones look pretty good after they've been scuffed up a bit. And they'll feel a lot better (just don't run in them).
posted by devilsbrigade at 8:31 PM on June 19, 2007

New Balance is the only brand that fits my feet. Give them a look.
posted by SPrintF at 8:36 PM on June 19, 2007

Vans will not provide you the proper support for running.
posted by crewshell at 8:43 PM on June 19, 2007

Looks like you're in Cambridge, MA, so I think you should go to theNew Balance Factory Outlet in Brighton.

Great selection, great prices. I've been getting the 608 Cross Trainers for a few years (in black, of course). They give me an amazing amount of support. I would say they help me with my posture because my back doesn't hurt when I wear them.

Oh..I typically pay about $30 for them at the factory store.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:56 PM on June 19, 2007

Saucony makes excellent shoes for a variety of different types of feet. They may look a little flash, but remember: you're running. You're going to be a sweaty mess, and you shouldn't be buying shoes with dual use in mind. Running shoes are for running.

That being said, they may not be the shoe for you. As others have suggested, go to a running store, and try a bunch of different types. They will look at your feet and your running style and help you pick one.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:06 PM on June 19, 2007

Most sneakers appropriate for running are gaudy, strangely bulbous and look like some sort of terrifying cyborg technology.

Exactly. And for that reason, you can rule out most of the stuff recommended above: Vitruvians, Brooks Beast, mbt boost (girly), Nike, Saucony, etc.

Try New Balance in an all-black model (black logo on black background, so you aren't a walking billboard). If you're in motion, maybe no one will notice all the cosmonautic flimflammery engulfing your feet.
posted by pracowity at 2:26 AM on June 20, 2007

By getting fitted at a running store when I started running I had no choice of the appearance as there was an obvious correct pair for my gait. I just decided I had to get over how butt almost all running shoes are, simply because getting injured was a way worse option. Anyway, everyone else wears them too, for the same functional purpose. I do wish that running shoes were more attractive but it's not like I think about that for more than 10 seconds when I'm putting them on.
posted by loiseau at 5:02 AM on June 20, 2007

I would suggest looking at some trendy youth-type online store (urbanoutfitters?) and looking at what they have in their sneaker collection. You most definitely won't find any of the buttugly ten pound looking shoes with shiny stuff, because they just aren't cool. You'll find other hideous stuff, but possibly some nice streamlined stuff too. And then check out the brand and look at the brand name's website to see if they are appropriate for running. Something like this maybe?
posted by greta simone at 6:10 AM on June 20, 2007

*If* you are going to be running, I'd say follow all the good advice above about getting fitted at a running-gear store, and try to accept the fact that every goddamned running shoe on the planet is mind-bendingly ugly. (Although, honestly--why, God, why must they be so hideous???)

If, on the other hand, "going to the gym" just means lifting, you have much more latitude; as long as they're flat-heeled, don't slide around, and have some arch support, you're probably fine. (I've lifted in cheapo Keds tennis shoes, for example.)
posted by Kat Allison at 6:31 AM on June 20, 2007

Another for New Balance. No gimmicks but well-made, affordable, comfortable athletic shoes.
posted by Doohickie at 7:10 AM on June 20, 2007

Although, honestly--why, God, why must they be so hideous???

Companies continue to sell what people continue to buy.

davidriley, if you're going to the gym for a little exercise, you don't have to get your feet fitted for a pair of overpriced transformers in some fancypants shoe boutique. Go to a normal store and buy the least offensive exercise shoes, probably a black-on-black design, from a company you recognize. I've got a pair of all-black Reeboks that have held up to lots of use.
posted by pracowity at 8:05 AM on June 20, 2007

I've long been a fan of New Balance, but be wary of the 554's. I ran or played raquetball in them every day for about two months before they started totally coming apart. My girlfriend went to the store to get some for herself, and the salesman told her that the 554 is a "fashion shoe" rather than a running shoe. I didn't even know that New Balance made "fashion shoes," since they'd done me right so many times before.

I'm still not sure if the guy at Foot Locker knew what he was talking about or not, but my 554's definitely did not stand the test of time. I will, however, assume that this was my mistake and continue to endorse New Balance (unless I get a pair that is decidedly not fashion oriented, and they too fall apart).
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:14 AM on June 20, 2007

i'm a big fan of my asics limber up asians. they aren't hardcore running shoes, but they suit me well enough for what i do at the gym/running around town, and they aren't bulky or too hideous. i felt like i was wearing lead bricks when i wore my new balance, but i don't have that problem with these shoes.
posted by kendrak at 9:38 AM on June 20, 2007

Companies continue to sell what people continue to buy.
People continue to buy what they need from what's available, despite hating it.
posted by bonaldi at 9:40 AM on June 20, 2007

Crappy pretty shoes that don't provide enough support can damage your knees, your feet and your hips. Buy what works for your body when you're getting exercise, even if it's bulbous and ugly.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:20 AM on June 20, 2007

Take a look at these Keens. Though we don't have this shoe, all my family is wearing Keen now.
posted by partner at 11:26 AM on June 20, 2007

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