One of the latest fitness gadgets to hit the market is strength training shoes. These arent like traditional running or even cross training shoes, but rather these shoes have been specifically crafted to help add resistance to any movement or exercise that involves the legs. But do they work or are they dangerous?
What they are
Strength or weight training shoes look like regular athletic shoes with the addition of a plate of weighted material on the forefoot, much like a platform for the front bottom part of the shoe. This makes the shoe feel a bit like a reverse high heel or that youre stand backwards on a ledge.
Athletes can do their normal drills in the shoes as well as sprints and jumping exercises. The weighted areas on strength training shoes can be up to two inches in height and made in a number of colors and styles for the athlete that wants to look good as they workout
What theyre supposed to do
The manufacturer of one of these pairs of weight training shoes insists that the shoe will help shave time off of a timed sprint, add inches to a vertical jump, and increase the overall strength in the leg by five or more times.
Because the calf is engaged in the upright position and it has to support the entire body weight, the leg is gaining strength and able to be more efficient in a traditional flat shoe when the training with the strength training shoes is over.
What others are saying
But experts who have tested strength training shoes are finding that this unnatural position is leading to more injuries rather than strength gains. Just as high heels can weaken the calf muscle; these higher shoes are creating issues in the calf muscles as well as injuring the athlete as they move through exercises that are normally performed with regular athletic shoes.
Experts have found that minimal gains are being reported by the athletes that are using the strength training shoes for drills and workouts, but no more than traditional shoes.
I’d rather see someone invest in a better fitness or athletic routine instead of risking injury. The key to enhanced speed or power lies within you.
Whats the verdict?
For many, the risk of injury is not worth trying strength training shoes and the additional cost of these training devices is not applicable to their basic training needs. But if youre interested in trying something different and possibly effective for you, then strength training shoes are available to give you a different angle on your workout. Just be sure to consult a professional with any questions you may have.