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7 workout sneakers that are actually good for running

7 workout sneakers that are actually good for running

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Though you may be tempted to buy the best looking sneakers on the market, it is important to know whether that particular shoe model suits your form of exercise. Will you be using your kicks for intense heavy lifting? Serious rope climbing? Stick with specific CrossFit or Olympic shoes. The Reebok Nano 3.0 is a good choice with added protection. The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

As for me, I run outside almost everyday and hit the gym 3 times a week for basic exercises. Since my primary activity is running, I choose my shoes with that activity in mind. Popular brands want to sell you as many shoes as they can: one pair for fitness, another for cross-fit, another for running in the rain, etc. However, I've come to realize that certain running shoes adapt to almost all body-weight exercises: from air squats to burpees. This particular type of shoe will have great ventilation, flexibility and stability and of course, it'll still be excellent for running.

In this list, I'll be selecting the best running shoes that will help you to sprint or go the distance— but you'll also be able to do box jumps and double-unders with equal ease.

Need workout shoes that can withstand your jogs AND your lifts? These cross-trainers are the answer for you // The PumpUp Blog

Mizuno Wave Rider 18

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

These are one of my favorite shoes for both running and multi-form fitness. The workout sneakers' toebox is roomy and its ventilation is superb. What's more, it weighs in at a mere 10.6 oz.

Unlike most premium running shoes, this Mizuno is far from being soft. The usual squishy foam sole is replaced by a firmer substance called the Wave plate, a patented support mechanism that can be found in the midsole. Paired with a 12mm heel to toe drop, this makes the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 an unexpectedly good fit for squats. Its raised heel boosts your posture in the way that modern lifting shoes would. The shoes' lack of compression will give you a consistent platform to push from.

The flexibility on this shoe is better than you'd expect, especially in the forefoot. It will get better with time, as the EVA rubber will become less resistant to bending. You can decide for yourself whether this shoe fits the bill after 100 miles or 200 planks.

With the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 you won't find yourself wobbling during an overhead squat. Who knows you may also win a marathon with it.

Skora FIT

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

SKORA means "skin" in Polish, thus it comes to no surprise that most SKORA models feel as comfortable as wearing socks. All SKORA models have a no-sew build and an anatomic fit that mimics the natural shape of one's foot— design signatures that make these shoes unique. You'll want to splay your toes in these sneakers.

With 16mm of thickness in the heel and the forefoot, the FIT equally belongs in the gym and on the road. The minimalist cushion will give you plenty of depth, as well as the stability you need for weightlifting. If you're craving for a complete ground connection, just remove the 4mm sock-liner and go sockless when you're wearing these workout sneakers to the gym.

With a glove-like fit and a featherweight quality,  the Skora FIT makes tough exercises look easy, fast and precise. Are you ready for one leg jumps?

Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

Nike promises a more natural ride with its "Free" line. The point is to offer a ground-like feel akin to running barefoot less is more. While it's a "minimalistic" shoe, what so special about it?

First, it comes with a special Flyknit material. This was selected by the New York Times  as one of the best inventions in 2012. There is an engineered "knit" in the upper area of the shoe, which is more or less dense depending the size of one's foot. It blends mobility and support in one sneaker. Finally, the shoes have flex grooves etched into their outsoles, which allows for crazy flexibility and a natural range of motion.

The Nike Free 4.0 is the best of the Free line, according to experts at SoleReview.  It sits between the more minimalist Free 3.0 and the more cushioned Free 5.0, affording wearers with a sweet balance of comfort and ground feel.

Brooks Connect 4

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

Brooks is one of the most popular brands for marathon sneakers. They focus on high-performance running shoes with made with high-quality materials and a solid build. Great running shoes like Brooks should have a place in the gym.  My choice goes to their Pure line. It's composed of 3 lightweight, low to the ground shoes: the Connect, Cadence and Flow.  Small frame shoes are preferable for the gym because they are lighter and more flexible.

The Connect is the fastest and most responsive of the 3 workout sneakers: it features an outstanding midsole and a seamless upper sole. The forefoot is extremely flexible, which something I value when I'm doing any exercise that requires jumping or plyometrics. The fit is narrow and supportive, thanks to a strapping system called the "Nav-band".

Also worth mentioning is its traction. Several pods in the outsole give you an outstanding grip, regardless of which surface you're working with.

Under Armor Speedform Gemini

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

Though Under Armour is better known for its apparel, the brand released a shoe that works well for most types of exercises.

Its cushioning is consistent, and on the firmer side. The shoe's midsole foam firms up when you accelerate and it softens up when you decelerate, making transitions smooth and exciting. This shoe is a great asset for HIIT running workouts, where you often need to change gears.

The upper, crafted in a clothing factory, is perforated for increased breathability with no visible seams. The only drawback is its non-removable sockliner, so make sure you buy anti-odour sprays before you slip them on.

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

The American brand delivers a great lightweight shoe with the Fresh Foam Zante. At a light weight of 8.1 oz and with a low stack height, this shoe will help you run fast. Runners would use it for uptempo workouts to increase speed and endurance.

The midsole is made out of a single soft foam, which increases flexibility while adding just enough softness to the foot strike. The rubber that composes the entire outsole offers outstanding grip and the upper foot is well ventilated. It has an internal smooth sleeve and the tongue is built on top of it – which makes these workout sneakers a perfect fit for sock-less running.

Vibram FiveFingers Bikila EVO

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

These are the most flexible workout sneakers you can find out there, as your toes can move independently. FiveFingers are synonymous with barefoot running and this Bikila is no exception. It features a minimal 8.5mm of cushioning and the upper feels like a second skin.

Of course, this is not the choice for long-runs on the road but they are perfect for running on the treadmill. The transition can be hard, especially in the beginning, because you're using different foot muscles to compensate for the lack of cushioning and the flat sole. Expect stronger calf muscles and a stronger big toe.

What's your choice for the gym? Do you go with regular trainers or are you peeky about your choice? Let us know in the comments below!

Fastblr is a powerful running shoe finder which lets you compare prices among 13 online stores. If you don’t know which running shoe to pick, start with our shoe recommender – it gives you 5 best shoes based on your physical and performance characteristics. Keep in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook.

Cover photo via PumpUp member @rachaelgervais.

5 Running Workouts To Do the Impossible: Lose Fat And Gain Muscle

5 Running Workouts To Do the Impossible: Lose Fat And Gain Muscle

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There's a myth that cardio— in any way or form— is destructive for muscle-building. For this reason, some bodybuilders prefer to walk on an inclined treadmill rather than increasing their pace. On the other hand, those who want to lose weight (like me), tend to resort to slow and long jogs. Whatever your fitness goal is, high-intensity interval training might be the way to go. Recent research found that when you throw high-intensity workouts into the mix, physiological adaptations are greater.  It turns out that aerobic exercises and muscle-building are very far from being incompatible, and that high-intense interval training (HIIT) helps you build more muscle and lose more fat. With HIIT, it's possible to lose fat and gain muscle. Here are 5 running workouts to help you // The PumpUp Blog

But what exactly is high-intensity interval training?

PumpUp has covered its principles before, but in essence, HIIT is can be described as “short, high-intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest or low-intensity activity”. Believe it or not, you can make a fine workout for yourself in 4 minutes. It works because you’re able to incorporate lots of short vigorous exercises into your routine, all of which would be impossible to sustain for long periods of time if each individual exercise were to be performed on its own.

Research has suggested that the higher the intensity and shorter the duration of work and the rest period, the better.

How HIIT affects muscle building // The PumpUp Blog

HIIT and running are best friends

As far as running goes, higher intensity translates into a faster pace. You won't be able to maintain a fast pace for long because you’re gasping for air. This means you are near your maximum oxygen uptake and heart rate. If you're alarmed about higher intensity running workouts, check out the curative powers of HIIT: one study demonstrated that HIIT can play a role in preventing heart diseases.

Intense running workouts can improve your strength, muscle growth, metabolism (even after your workout), and build the endurance. But there are different forms of high intensity running workouts that can give you more results for less. Here’s how can you introduce High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into running with huge results, starting with moderate-intensity Fartlek and Tempo runs, and ending in style with the full-fledged high-intensity Interval Training, “All-out” Sprint-Interval Training and 400-meter sprints used by bodybuilders.

  1. Fartlek

Swedish “Fartlek” or speed-play, is a training method that became popular in the 1940s. Swedish runners almost broke the 4-minute mile record. It consists of randomly selecting visual landmarks that you accelerate to— the next tree or a house, for example— followed by a recovery period. You can do it alone or in a group, with each person taking turns to choose the landmark and the pace.

It’s a great way to get back in shape and test your limits, while having some fun.

  1. Tempo

Tempo runs consist of continuous high-intensity sprints that last for 20 to 40 minutes or over a predetermined length. Professional runners use “tempos” to build endurance and to mimic a slightly more rapid pace but close enough to their competition pace - a “comfortably fast” pace. Sprinkling a “tempo” in your workout develops your aerobic system, stamina and efficiency.

To prepare you for faster paces of serious HIIT (as you’ll see next), you can throw a “short” burst of super-maximal intensity, every 5 minutes.

  1. Intervals

This is the most popular type of training the running world. Like Fartlek, it involves bouts of running between easy and very hard paces. However, in this case, you determine how fast you run and for how long, as well as the duration of rest period and how many times you repeat your intervals. According to Jonathan Savage, owner of running resource Fellrnr, the right pace for your intervals (which greatly varies) is the fastest you can run in 6 minutes.

An example of an workout would be 30s-1 minute at your fast pace, followed by half of the time recovering, and repeat it 5 times. Intervals should not last more than 5 minutes (excluding the rest period).

You won’t be able to recover from each fast interval. This is done on purpose, to build up the aerobic stress in your system. Research indicates that active recovery contributes to superior performance because of metabolite washout and lactate utilization. If it's hard at first, don't worry. You’ll get stronger!

  1. “All-out” Sprint Interval Training or Wintab

Shorter and very intense intervals are the ones that perform better. You cannot get more a intense workout than the WinTab protocol. It involves 20 seconds of an “all out” running sprint followed by 10 seconds rest, for 8 repetitions. The results are remarkable:

A 2014 study tested this program for 6 weeks (3 times a week) on 15 active women. It resulted in an average body fat mass decrease of 8% and a waist circumference reduction of 4%, while increasing muscle mass by 1.3%, peak running speed by5% and maximum oxygen consumption (an endurance metric) by 9%. All of this happened without a change in the athletes' food intake.

  1. 400-meter Sprint Program

This is bodybuilder trainer Christian Thibaudeau’s favorite workout for fat loss. He says that it has a “high fat-burning potency.” He found that his athletes were getting leaner and stronger after this programme.

The workout consists of 400m sprint repetitions followed by at least 1 minute and half of rest. This exercise is so intense that he recommends doing just one time per week.

See his guideline table for a recommended 8 week plan that can be adjusted for different fitness levels.

After such high-intensity running workouts, you can rest assured that your post-workout cookie will hardly affect your system. After all, you deserved it.

Fastblr is a powerful running shoe finder which lets you compare prices among 13 online stores. If you don’t know which running shoe to pick, start with our shoe recommender - it gives you 5 best shoes based on your physical and performance characteristics. Keep in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook.