A Trainer’s Plea to Change Out of Your Street Sneakers at the Gym

Photo: Getty/SolisImages
Thanks to the athleisure trend (and, ok, the Kardashian family), sneakers have become footwear apropos everywhere from the office to a black tie events. But as more-and-more people have started wearing their sneaks IRL, fitness pros have noticed more-and-more street shoes in the gym—and while you might just shrug it off, the habit of not changing your shoes ahead of your workout could be more problematic than you think.

"'Street' sneakers normally are structured for low impact, casual, light activity,” says Julie Wandzilak, Tier X Coach at Equinox Columbus Circle.  “It depends on the brand and the structure of the shoe, but usually it's not recommended to wear them in a gym setting or for higher intensity activity.” TLDR: When trainers see fashion sneaks in fitness class, it makes them cringe.

“Wearing those types of sneakers while working out can compromise the sophistication of shoe itself,” says Wandzilak. "Not only will it lack in stability and decrease your performance ability, it may have effects on your foot itself.” Plus, if we’re being honest, doing permanent damage to your body, at best, isn’t worth it for the sake of looking cute in a workout class, and at worst, will keep you from hitting the gym tomorrow.

While picking out the right sneakers can feel like an overwhelming task (Google “workout sneakers” and you’re met with 518 million results), there are a few things to keep in mind the next time you’re shoe shopping. “Start with what your goals of your workout are and what you plan on doing for your physical activity. Since workouts tend to vary from day to day, your shoes should complement that and also be able to differentiate between workouts,” says Wandzilak, who notes that if you might even consider investing in different sneakers for running and cross-training to minimize damage (otherwise, pick the option you do the most).

Aside from the type of workout you’re doing, your actual *feet* play an important role in telling you what kind of shoes you should be wearing, too, which is why Wandzilak recommends heading to an outlet that can analyze your foot structure to provide recommendations for what you need. "Educating yourself on your foot and the fit within a certain type of workout shoe will cause immense benefits to the exercise or activity you plan on executing dependent on your fitness goals,” she says.  The bottom line? No matter how cool you look in your Yeezys, they don’t belong anywhere near a workout studio, so go ahead and try one of these sneaks on for size instead.

Keep scrolling for running and cross-training shoes that you can change into ahead of your workout.

Oh, BTW: Here's the easiest way to keep your sneakers from smelling and this is a major sneaker trend that isn't going away any time soon.

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