The Best Type of Shoe for Boot Camps

The other day I met with a personal  trainer, Shawna Kaminski, who runs Calgary NW Adventure Boot Camp and she described a situation that deserves it’s own post.  Many new ‘campers’ (as she calls them), show up to their first boot camp and have shiny, new ‘runners’ on.  Typically, they are more fashion runners than true functional athletic runners.  They will have little to no cushion, structure or support but yes, they are cute looking and are the latest style.
I’m a big fan of looking and feeling really good for workouts.  No one is motivated working out in baggy, sweat pants.   I ‘think’ I look fantastic in my shorty shorts at 6 am lunging and jumping around like a fool backlit by my living room  TV.  Nobody sees me but I still want to ‘feel’ good about what I’m wearing.  But your shoes should not be part of your fashion statement.   My workout shoes are running shoes that I selected specifically for my foot type and foot mechanics.  This is a very important key to injury free activity.
Little do boot campers realize the amount force their body needs to attenduate while working out on an extremely hard concrete surface.  Without the right positioning and cushioning, it’s entirely up to lower limb joints and muscles to attenuate these excessive forces. Without proper footwear, shin splints, heel pain, knee pains result.    People have been known to blame their new activity for injuries but in fact, it is often poor shoe choice.

Shoe selection for any sport or activity is crucial. Most people understand the concept of sport specific shoes.  A squash player needs a squash shoe  and linebacker needs a football shoe.  These two examples  have very unique movements and surfaces and the shoe is designed to function in that environment. But for some reason when it comes to attending boot camps, the footwear is not the athlete’s first thought.  Instead, it’s what to wear and what does my butt look like in these tights. 

 A well fit, cushioned running shoe that is chosen to match your foot mechanics is the best shoe for boot camps.  The trick is to find a qualified running shoe fitter to teach you about your  foot mechanics and recommend the appropriate shoe.  The three main points for proper shoe selection are fit, cuhioning and control.

Fitthe volume and shape of the shoe must match the volume and shape of the foot.  A wide, deep foot needs a wide, deep shoe.  An narrow foot needs a thin narrow shoe.  New Balance  makes fitting easier because of it’s multiple widths and length fittings.

Cushion – all most all of current running shoe designs, use ethyl vinyl acetate or EVA in the midsole as their cushioning material.  The material type doesn’t differ greatly between styles of shoes but thickness does.  For example, a running shoe and walking shoe will have a thicker midsole (more cushioning) than a court shoe. 

Controlhow the shoe ‘controls the foot’s movements by it’s combination of densities in the midsole.   Because feet tend to roll inward, the density changes are done to the medial aspect of the midsole.  Primarily, these control options are offered in running shoes only.  There are three general levels of control which are described below.




 Neutral:   shoe has a single density midsole.  All of the midsole is white indicating uniform density.  Normal foot mechanics do well in this level because they simply needs shock absorption.





Support- shoe has a dual density midsole, meaning there is a firmer density
material on the inside of the midsole.  It’s grey colour indicates a higher density reducing the amount the foot is allowed to collapse inward.  A foot that moderately over-pronates does well with this level of control is for a foot who has moderate over-pronation.





Control – shoe offers maximum control through the use of high density material and some other reinforcing material such as plastic.

For  boot camp work outs, the best shoe is a running shoe.  It offers maximal cushioning and we have the most choice between the level of control so we can best match foot mechanics to footwear.

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  1. #1 by Susan on November 24, 2010 - 4:20 pm

    Uh, I think I need to come in for new shoes. Have been getting funny pains with all my jumping around. It’s time. Got any 11B’s in stock?

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