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Health, Motivation, & The Right Kicks

Health, Motivation, & The Right Kicks

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Making the choice of starting a healthier routine is a great step towards a better lifestyle. But it also requires a lot of work and decisions: You’ll need to choose the right nutrition programs (ideally with the help of an expert); you’ll have to figure out a way to get more sleep; and you’ll need to prioritize things like staying hydrated (for which we recommend our article on “Best Drinks To Keep Hydrated”).

You’ll also need to spend some time preparing to implement a regular workout routine. And in this regard, some of the most important considerations revolve around your gear, and your footwear specifically. Having a fresh pair of shoes is always nice, of course, but it will also prevent you from having uncomfortable workouts (or even injuries), make exercise more fun, and as Real Simple has argued convincingly, keep you motivated. In order to choose the right pair of sneakers, however, you’ll need to consider your preferences and objectives.

To help you get started, we’ve taken a look at some of the best workout shoes out there in 2022, including a few for specific activities (like road running, tennis, and basketball) that you might prefer to regular cardio or weight training for day-to-day exercising.

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Nike Court Air Zoom GP Turbo

For those who may turn to tennis (or the pandemic trend sport of pickleball!) for exercise, it will be necessary to get shoes specific to the sport. Tennis players need shoes with a strong, sturdy bases that won’t give on quick stops, yet light construction that makes them easy to sprint and cut in. Truth be told, these days most of the major manufacturers have more or less perfected checking these boxes, which means you’ll have your share of options. But for something particularly current, we recommend the Court Air Zoom GP Turbo from Nike –– a pair made for both men and women, and recently worn by Naomi Osaka during her recent run at the Miami Open. The pair offers great stability, but also a good balance between traction and slide, which is particularly important if you plan to play on hard courts. The shoes are also durable, and come in a number of wonderful styles (though if you’re looking for Osaka’s fiery colorway, it’s hard to track down as of this writing).

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Puma LaMelo Ball MB.01

Similar to tennis, basketball is a common form of exercise that requires specific shoes –– built for quick motion and grip, but also sturdy enough to protect the ankles and avoid any hint of slippage. And while sneaker collaborations between major brands and NBA players have existed for decades, these days they tend to produce the vast majority of the high-quality shoes available. Young Charlotte Hornets LaMelo Ball's new pair from Puma keeps this trend going, offering an excellent grip and top-notch durability to players. It also has a solid fit, feeling tight but comfortable –– which is exactly what you want if you’re getting into basketball to maintain regular workouts. Finally, the MB.01 also offers enough cushioning to protect your feet while performing high jumps or even sprinting (such that in a real pinch you could even wear these shoes on a jog, though we don’t recommend making a habit of it).

Credit: run_shoe_bible Instagram

Nike Pegasus Turbo Next Nature

For those who want to turn to good old-fashioned running for exercise, there’s nothing like feeling the air blow by during a faster stretch. And there’s no better shoe for this sort of run than Nike’s new Pegasus Turbo Next Nature release. Nike uses its popular Zoom X cushioning for this Flyknit model –– a type of foam located in the midsole and designed to store the energy in such a way that can make running more efficient. Now, that’s not to say the shoes make you faster, but some runners do find that there’s just a sense that everything is a bit easier in shoes like these. As an added bonus, the Next Nature is also part of Nike’s expanding effort to operate sustainably: The shoes are made using recycled Flyknit and 55% percent recycled Zoom X foam.

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Vivobarefoot Geo Racer 2

Long-distance road running is also an excellent way to fit in your daily exercise, provided you have the time for it (and access to safe areas to run in). This is arguably the area in which personal preference comes into play the most. Some will prefer heavier and more rugged shoes, while others will want something light that cushions the feet but does little more. The Vivobarefoot Geo Racer 2 is more geared toward the latter preference; it may in fact look a bit out of place amongst exercise shoes due to its thin sole and minimalist design. But this is a shoe that protects the user while also allowing them to feel the terrain. And, like the aforementioned Nikes above, the Geo Racer 2 is also made out of sustainable materials.

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Asics MetaSpeed Sky

Running is not only a fun and healthy activity, but it can easily become a passion and even lead to participation in competitions. Once a person reaches that level, they tend to look for something that will make them run faster and reduce their time. The MetaSpeed Sky uses a special carbon plate that provides an extra push forward that, in the hands of experienced runners, can be a powerful weapon in a competition (even if it doesn’t on its own “make runners faster”). The shoe is also designed to offer additional stability, even for runners who can reach high top speeds. If you’re going to take your runs seriously and look to improve your performance rather than just keep those unwanted extra pounds off, you may want to give this pair a look.

When it comes to exercise, everyone has different needs and preferences. Among the countless things you can do to ensure a consistent routine though, getting the right shoes is high on the list. There are a lot of options out there, but for a variety of common types of exercise, the selections above come highly recommended.

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