Nothing puts the spring back into my step quite like a pristine pair of sneakers. The only problem? Every time I step inside one of those mammoth, barn-like sports stores to invest in some fancy new footwear, I’m utterly overwhelmed by the options. Should I get toning shoes or trainers? Runners or walkers? And how about those high-tech bells and whistles that put the meagre features of my mobile phone to shame?
To help take some of the guesswork out of shoe shopping, I asked Canadian Living readers from across the country to give me a hand (or should I say foot?) in taking some of the industry’s best-selling options for a trial run.
After pounding the pavement (and hitting the gym!), here’s what we found![caption id="attachment_1880" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Nike+ Free Run 2 - "Ready, Set...""] [/caption] [caption id="attachment_1882" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption=""GO!" Oooh! So flexy!"] [/caption] "FAVE RUNNERS"
Nike+ Free Run 2
The price tag: $125
The buzz: These ultra-flexible running shoes (designed as Nike’s answer to the burgeoning barefoot-running trend) feature a multi-layer mesh upper for a lightweight fit.
The review: “Far and away, the coolest shoe I’ve ever worn. And I mean that literally: the breathable mesh construction delivers natural air conditioning – you can actually feel the breeze – no matter how hot and heavy your workout. That same mesh construction means these shoes are incredibly lightweight, lending a ‘barely-there’ feel without sacrificing the support you need from a running shoe.” - Brett Walther[caption id="attachment_1877" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption=" Skechers SRR Resistance Runner Shape-Ups"] [/caption] "MOST MOTIVATIONAL"
Skechers SRR Resistance Runner Shape-Ups
The price tag: $120
The buzz: These toning shoes bring an element of resistance training to your run, targeting calf and gluteus medius muscles. Wedge-shaped rocker bottoms help create a more fluid stride and reduce impact on joints.
The review: “Stylish enough to wear with casual clothes – and not just when working out – these are comfortable once you get used to the elevation: the soles are much taller than any other runners I've owned. I definitely felt the resistance in my calf muscles on my morning runs, and just by having them, I feel motivated to work out more.” – Erica G.[caption id="attachment_1878" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Reebok TrainTone Reeactivates"] [/caption]
"BEST FOR AEROBICS"
The price tag: $110
The buzz: These toning shoes are suited for gym-based exercise and feature air-filled pods at both heel and toe that alternately inflate and deflate when walking, working leg and buttock muscles.
The review: “As a certified Zumba instructor, these shoes were great for the high-energy, high-impact classes I teach. I also got lots of compliments on how stylish they were from the girls in class! Probably the best athletic shoe I’ve ever had.” – Lisa G.[caption id="attachment_1879" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Reebok ZigTech Premier Zig Fly"] [/caption] "MOST COMFY"
The price tag: $120
The buzz: It’s impossible to miss the ZigTech running shoes, with their patented lightweight foam cushioning system. These runners also boast SmoothFit smooth-seamed comfort with moisture-control inner lining.
The review: “I was in a bad car accident two years ago, and it’s been hard to find the right shoes since. One of the things I’ve found is that chronic body pain means never buying cheap shoes again and these are well worth the investment - comfortable and supportive for my feet and lower-back, too. And I got lots of compliments on them – super-sporty, of course, but the splash of pink on black is really cute paired with black leggings.” – Jenny W.
What shoes get you most geared up for a summer workout?