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How Do I Choose the Best Plyometric Shoes?

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  • Written By: Dorothy Bland
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2014
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Choosing the best plyometric shoe may require you to take some time to consider which features are most important to you. Plyometric shoes are athletic shoes that feature an elevated sole at the front of the foot and no heel to target calf muscle training. Specific benefits attributed to training with these shoes include improving speed, advancing lower leg strength, and gaining a better range of motion. Not all plyometric shoes, however, provide the exact same benefits. When looking for the best shoes with plyometric elements, consider the shoe's construction, design properties, and the training materials provided.

Training in plyometric shoes can be a very intense workout, as the calf is forced to endure constant tension. Due to the tremendous force exerted doing moves, it may be easier to sustain a serious injury when wearing plyometric footwear. Doing a little research to ensure you choose a shoe with superior construction and high-quality materials may help reduce this possibility. Look for shoes that use padding and shock-absorbing materials to stabilize balance and protect the balls of the feet. Having an outersole that includes ridges or another non-slip design can help improve traction on smooth or wet surfaces indoors and outdoors so the chance of slips or falls is reduced.

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Another factor to consider is the shoe's overall design. A high-top is commonly thought to be better capable of stabilizing the ankle and preventing rollover, a common cause of ankle sprains. Good closure systems are important to keep the foot securely planted while doing movement sequences, such as sudden breaks and running. Straps do provide some stability, but if they come undone or loosen up while exercising, a serious injury may occur. To avoid this problem, some plyometric shoes feature loop lacing systems intended to stay locked in place.

Plyometric exercises are high-intensity and involve jumps, bounds, and other dynamic steps that are likely to require full range of motion. To achieve this range, look for strength shoes that feature a lightweight design. Lightweight shoes generally have greater flexibility and motion control to limit overpronation, knee pain, and poor body alignment. To allow the feet to breathe, top plyometric shoes also typically include breathable mesh materials.

Top brands of plyometric shoes frequently provide an all-inclusive workout program with the sale of their shoes. This workout will usually be provided in DVD form, but to assist you with using the program when away from the TV a printed training manual with pictures of each exercise may be included. Actual workouts should generally include pre- and post-stretching, warm-ups and cool-downs, and progression to give the body a complete but safe workout.

The best plyometric shoes for you are those that fit your unique situation. Some shoes currently available offer the type of arch support and workout intensity probably best suited for professional athletes. The price of the shoes and your current level of physical fitness should also factor into your decision. Besides traditional plyometric footwear, platforms are available that can be strapped over regular cross training shoes to provide many of the same benefits offered by plyometric shoes.

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