Shoes For Plyometrics

shoes-for-plyometricsA plyometrics workout is simply a workout that is  designed to give you explosive, powerful movements.  These routines usually involve a lot of jumping, impact, and leave you a sweaty mess after all is said and done.  I love plyo workouts because they get my heart rate up, strengthen my core and my legs, and burn calories like crazy.  These are great workouts that help you become more athletic.  You want to run faster?  Do plyo.  You want jump higher?  Do plyo.  You want to lose weight and build muscle…  you get the point.  So with all this jumping around and impact, what are good shoes for plyometrics?

Good Shoes for Plyometrics

The answer is, of course, it depends.  I actually use different shoes for different plyo routines.  I also know people that go shoeless (on carpet, do not do plyo barefoot on hard surfaces!!).  The gist of what I am saying, is that we will have to determine what your current fitness level is, how much impact you have trained for, and what surface you will be plyo-ing on.

If you are out of shape or not used to impact at all I recommend quality cross training shoes for plyometrics, regardless of workout surface.  There are a ton of options here but you will want a good, non-running shoe, that provides cushion, structure, and support to your foot.  This will help to prevent foot, ankle, and knee injuries as you are starting out.  Go with a trusted brand like Asics, NB, Nike, etc.

Now, if you have been running regularly and are used to impact or you are in good shape, you might consider going to lighter shoes for plyometrics… especially on carpet.  I personally rock a minimalist shoe when I do plyo but I have A LOT of experience with plyo and running.  Minimal shoes are very light and provide very little in the way of structure and support.  The plus to this, besides having less weight on your feet, is that you start to strengthen the feet, ankles, and arches.  Doing this makes your feet more naturally durable and strong, which really helps with running and other activities.  Plyos have single-handedly  gotten me to a point where I no longer get running injuries.  The strength in my heels, arches, and calves are such that I can run long distances in minimal shoes and not get injured…  definitely a plus.  My running gait has greatly improved (core work has helped a lot here too), and I am a better runner because of plyo work.  Wearing the right shoes for me has made a big difference.  So if you have some conditioning under your belt and think you can handle minimal shoes, I recommend them.

Lastly, if you are working out on carpet, are in good shape, and are used to impact… you can consider going to “barefoot” shoes for plyometrics like Vibrams or going completely barefoot.  This will have the same benefit as using the minimal shoe (stronger arches, ankles, calves) that I mentioned above.  I will caution everyone to work into barefoot plyos carefully and ease into going full tilt over several workouts.  The last thing you want is a showstopping injury.  No matter what, DO NOT GO BAREFOOT ON HARD SURFACES!!   You will hurt yourself!

An exception to all cases above…  the plyometrics in workouts from Insanity – The Asylum, particularly Vertical Plyo, require me to wear structured shoes.  The the jumping in The Asylum is just too much to go with a minimal shoe in my opinion.  Don’t mess around here, be safe.

If you are just getting into P90X, I urge you to take the safe route and get some good cross training shoes for plyometrics.  Over time, and if your training requires you to start to build endurance for things like runnning, you can consider going to a lighter shoe.  This will take time and patience.  The last thing you want to do is get hurt.  Getting hurt can stop your progress and potentially throw you off the fitness path altogether.  So be smart and always play it on the safe side.

Shoes for Plyometrics: Recommendations and Running

If you would like specific shoe recommendations, I can help if I know your particular situation.  Also, for running… I highly, highly recommend going to a good running store where they observe your gait and stride before buying running shoes.  Otherwise you are just picking your favorite color.

Shoes for Plyometrics: My Favorite Plyo Workouts:

Ryan GillespieRyan Gillespie
P90X Certified Trainer / Diamond Beachbody Coach
I currently live in sunny San Diego California and work with people around the country and Internationally on their health and fitness goals. Join my Free Beachbody Team, follow me on Facebook, or friend me on Facebook to join my Free Accountability and Support group. Start today!

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11 Responses to “Shoes For Plyometrics”

  1. I did Plyo three weeks in a row in December. There was soreness (especially the first week) but nothing too major.

    Did it again on Tuesday and man, I’m walking like I just got off a long horse ride. My inner thighs are killing me! Guess I overdid it a bit.

  2. Hi, I am in my second week of insanity. I have noticed that my feet tend to roll towards the outsides of my shoes while doing some of the exercises. I am also having the issue where my arches will ache/cramp and my toes may fall asleep. I am a female and where a 7.5/8. I am currently wearing a pair of sacony shoes… any suggestions on specific shoe choices?

    • A couple of questions: Are you doing the workouts on any kind of padded or carpeted surface? Which moves specifically hurt your feet and does it seem like maybe the toebox of the shoe is too big? Lastly, you will want to make sure that you have good cross trainers with some arch support starting out. there are a ton of brands out there that make great shoes but you will want to go to a good shoe store and talk to someone about getting this type of shoe (cross trainers with structure/arch support). Until then, determine the moves that hurt your feet and modify them or do something in their place that doesn’t hurt. The big question prior to all this is if you have any injuries or issues in the past.

      Thanks for the questions. I will continue to help in any way I can!

  3. Hi there. I’m a fitness lover and I usually do classes like body pump, spinning and body attack and I’m currently doing insanity (finished my first month). Haven’t been to the gym much as insanity is a killer!! (love it!). A few months back I bought a pair of Nike’s air max to help me in my body attack classes as there is also a lot of jumping around and I don’t want to get any injuries/problems on my knees. So I bought them to prevent a problem rather than to “fix” it.
    When I went back to buy a new pair so I could alternate trainers, I’ve been recommended the new flyknits lunar as they are lighter than the airmax ones. I decided to think about it.
    When I went back to buy he FN lunar another girl said that I should opt for the new run free 5.0 instead so i bought them. when I did my insanity workout I didn’t like the bare foot feeling (hard surface) (the body attack classes are on hard surfaces al well.) so i changed into my air max. should i preserver with my free runs or should I buy a different pair of trainers?? she did mention that the frees would not restrict the feet so much, therefore the feet will become stronger, but I’m more concerned a bout damaging my knees rather that my feet??

    • hey anna, if you choose to go with the more minimal shoe, you may try working into them… like doing one of the shorter workouts with them and then the rest with your older more structured shoe. Also, take the new ones our for a walk or very short run. Yes, using more minimal shoes will help to build up your strength, but you have to ease into them. Are you doing Insanity on hard floors? Be extra careful in that case.

  4. Hi Ryan
    Thanks for the post
    I just started doing Insanity program
    I was using Merrel Bare access (Barefoot vibram soles on hard surface) and after two days I realized my mistake.
    Now I got a gym floor mat from Home Depot and that has shock absorbers that have reduced the impact.
    Can you please recommend a better shoes?
    I like zero drop shoes (right now all my shoes have 0 mm cushion, but I think I am ok with some cushioning as long as I am comfortable)

    • Glad the article was helpful! yes, the mats should help with impact. As far as shoes, I would recommend finding a shoe with some structure like a good cross trainer or running shoe… I use my long distance running shoes for Insanity, they have a decent amount of cushioning and arch support. There is no particular brand that I can recommend… it’s more about what feels comfortable and works best with your foot/arch/ankle. You can always go to a running store and have them check your gait and tell you what type of shoe best fits you. other than that… aesthetics. good luck and let me know if you find something that works for you.

      Personally, all my runners and cross trainers are Asics. My minimal/zero drop style shoes have been NB. They work for me!

  5. Hello – I just started T25 for the second time (I did 5 days the first time approx 6 weeks ago)…

    I stopped bc the exercises triggered old ankle and knee injuries…

    I am easing into T25 this time, doing it every other day or so…I have new shoes now, Asics, and the cushion is great for me. No more knee pain, and since I wrap my ankle, no pain (so far). But, my feet hurt when I jump though (metatarsal). Compression socks were recommended…any thoughts? Thank you so much!!!!

    • Compression socks are nice for running so should help a little with T25 as well… Glad you got new shoes and are planning on easing into T25. I think it’s a good plan. Keep me posted on how the workouts go and how your knees/ankles do. Modifying some of the twisting movements may help as well.

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