Sneaker, Tennis Shoe, Cross Trainer- What is the Difference?

I am a New Yorker, born, raised, and proud. I love the city, the beach, and the people. It is unlike any place I have ever been. My husband and I both worked hard. I worked some crazy shifts so we didn't have babysitters. I spent many years working overnights with some great people but I was exhausted. I would meet people when traveling and they didn't seem so tired. I was ready for a change and my husband agreed. We wanted a change of scenery, the market was in our favor and I wanted to spend more time with my daughters. I did a lot of school searches, looked for nice areas and after 15 years working my way up in a major company I handed in my notice and we moved to the Midwest.. Indiana to be exact.

I became a stay home mom and was able to attend every sports event and activity my children participated in. Call me old fashioned but I like baking cookies when they came home from school and I love their friends all over my couch. I ride my tractor and mow my grass, I see cornfields and cows when I drive... I just bought my daughter a pick up truck. My town had a population of 1200 and one traffic light when I moved in. Our friends and relatives thought we were insane. As of today, we now have one set of parents, sisters and brother in law, nephews and one cousin now living within 5 miles of us.

I had no idea how different I am from the people in the Midwest. Food is different, the haircuts are different, I look different from most. I have even been asked what I am. The biggest difference which is still brought up almost daily is the way I talk (tawk). I speak extremely fast and don't complete the ends of many words. I have been told I sound like Marissa Tomei from My Cousin Vinny and I sound like criminal characters on Law and Order. I have a solid NY accent. I order food in a restaurant and they ask where I am from, I thank a cashier at a checkout and she asks. My kid's friends still make regular comments but do think my husband I am sound "way cool".  It is still daily after 9 years: “say coffee” or “say water”. I am their science project. It is all meant well, I have been treated great by everyone I have met here. It has been a wonderful experience. I have named my town “Pleasantville”

There are a few things the Hoosiers say which absolutely crack me up. Too many to list but one which deserves specific mention is tennis shoes. Apparently here in Indiana, people do not wear sneakers. They wear tennis shoes.

I mentioned to a friend I bought new sneakers and he started cracking up. “Sneakers, do you mean tennis shoes?” so I said “yes, sneakers.” I was told only babies wear sneakers and adults wear tennis shoes. I started laughing and wanted to clarify. I said, “ok, so if you go to the store and need shoes to play basketball you say you are going to buy tennis shoes?” He said yes with a straight face. I asked a little differently. “if you want to go out and get new shoes for track, do you go buy tennis shoes or sneakers? He said tennis shoes of course...others have agreed. Just for the record...I will never call them tennis shoes. They will never break me! Historically, sneakers were invented first and tennis shoes are a category of sneakers. They will forever be sneakers!

That being said, it can be quite confusing when you go to a shoe store. There are so many types of sneakers: running, walking, gels, cross trainers, tennis shoes. What is the difference? How do you know what to look for?

Tennis shoes are adapted with a low and wide rubber sole for rapid lateral movements and change of direction. This feature helps prevent rolled ankles. Tennis players also have a tendency to wear out the toe of their shoes so the toes are often reinforced with extra rubber or other material. Soles are often made of non-scuffing material as not to damage the courts.

Running Shoes are often made to allow your foot to breathe and stay cool when running. They are often made from a combination of leather and fabric with a roomy toe area to allow your toes to move during the running motion. Running shoes should also have enough base cushioning to allow for the pounding which occurs on the ground when running. This is one of the most popular reasons for air and gel cushioning, especially around the heel area. Running shoes often have an intricate tread which helps with running forward movement. Stability running shoes have stiffer material along the inner side (mid-sole) to prevent the foot from rolling inward. Running shoes are often lightweight but walking shoes are often even lighter.

Walking shoes do not offer quite the same protection for the feet as running shoes but the benefit is their extreme light weight with adequate cushioning. Walkers should be landing with heel first therefore, walking shoes should also have a lower heel than running shoes. Walkers should look for shoes with the least difference in height from the heel to the toe as well as flexibility in the entire sole of the shoe.

A Cross Trainer, is slightly different from running shoes in that they are usually made primarily of leather or a heavier material than that of a running shoe. They are made to handle a variety of sports such as kickboxing, weightlifting, and aerobics, among others. They are often designed with a heavier material along the sides to helps for these variety of movements and to offer more support for these motions. Cross trainers also have a lighter tread than that of a running shoe.

Sneakers further break down into court, field and track treads. It is recommended to look for specific characteristics of sneakers for the surface you will be on.
Reebok Crossfit Apparel

Proper-fitting sports shoes can enhance performance and prevent injuries. Follow these fitting facts from the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society when purchasing a new pair of athletic shoes no matter which activity you participate.

  • Try on athletic shoes after a workout or run and at the end of the day. Your feet will be at their largest.

  • Wear the same type of sock that you will wear for that sport.

  • When the shoe is on your foot, you should be able to freely wiggle all of your toes.

  • The shoes should be comfortable as soon as you try them on. There is no break-in period.

  • Walk or run a few steps in your shoes. They should be comfortable.

  • Always relace the shoes you are trying on. You should begin at the farthest eyelets and apply even pressure as you create a crisscross lacing pattern to the top of the shoe.

  • There should be a firm grip of the shoe to your heel. Your heel should not slip as you walk or run.

  • If you participate in a sport three or more times a week, you need a sports specific shoe.



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