These Supportive Sneakers Completely Eliminated My Knee Pain During Squats
Whether you're a runner, a weightlifter, or a HIIT fan, knee pain makes exercise suck, and it can even stop you from reaching your goals. Despite having all the skills that come with being a powerlifter, a bout of knee pain made me hesitant to do basic strength-training moves like squats and lunges. I constantly feared that just a few reps would cause enough pain and swelling to keep me out of the gym for a week. Frustrated, I finally went to a physical therapist, who took one look at the sneakers I was wearing and said, (I quote) "what are those?" After an evaluation, my PT surmised that the constant knee pain I was experiencing was most likely the result of weakness in my hips and ankles. The main culprit, she explained, was my shoes.
My flexible lace-ups, the kind made for running, were creating instability in my ankles while weightlifting because of their squishy bendable soles and flexible exterior. Additionally, having not replaced them in over three months, my go-to shoes for all exercises became warped, causing my feet to overpronate and put strain on my knees. She recommended a pair of the Reebok Nanoflex Tr Cross Trainers, and from the first wear, I've never had to worry about knee pain since. (FYI: A knee compression sleeve may be useful for knee pain, too.)
Designed with support in mind, these Reebok Cross Trainers have a durable mesh exterior and a firm rubber sole that provides a stable surface to generate power for heavy lifts. Most importantly, they have a slightly elevated heel, which can help improve form and protect your knees by pushing your hips back. According to Lisa Reed, C.S.C.S, this higher heel may also "increase the ankle's range of motion, or the ability to stretch the Achilles."
"Once you are committed to the sport and consistent in training, a good pair of weightlifting shoes will be the most important piece of equipment you need to improve performance," she said in a previous interview with Shape. (Related: These Barbell Sets On Amazon Will Elevate Your Home Gym)
Structured for cross-training, the Nanoflex sneakers are bendable enough to handle HIIT and Plyometric exercises, but still retain all the elements needed in a great weightlifting shoe. Since making the switch, I've never once been bothered by knee pain while doing lifting or strength exercises, which allows me to lift heavier without fear of injury. An added plus: They're super comfortable and come in a range of colors (personally I'm in love with the coral-orange ones, but you do you). Head to Amazon to shop the versatile sneakers starting at just $54.