Are Weighted Shoes The Boost Your Workout Needs?

You want to get the most out of your workout. That's why you've invested in all the gear, including hand and ankle weights. So, it just makes sense that you add a little weight to your feet too, right? That's the theory behind weighted shoes. A regular shoe weighs roughly a pound or so. However, weighted shoes add a little bit of extra weight to the sole (between 1-5 pounds), so your body has to work slightly harder during your normal evening walk or run. 

Adding a little work to your routine means burning a few extra calories. But it might not be that cut and dry. Before you run out and buy a pair of weighted walking shoes to pump up your workout, get a little insight into how weighted shoes might cause a bit more harm than good. You can also explore a few easy ways to make each step count beyond just adding extra weight. 

Weighted shoes might do more harm than good

Following the rules of basic science, when you work harder, you expend more energy. Therefore, adding weights to your shoes works much like adding weights to your ankles — you need to work harder to make it that next mile, or even minute. Additionally, in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, heavier shoes did alleviate muscle fatigue during the break phase of running. While it might seem like adding weight is a no-brainer, there are a few other things you'll want to consider. 

First of all, there's not much research on how much boost those weights in your shoes will give you. Plus, the weights may cause extra strain on the joints of your ankles and feet, making you walk or run slower, which is obviously not the goal. Another downside of weighted shoes is the comfort factor. The weight is buried in the sole, so they aren't going to be extremely comfortable on your feet. 

Likewise, they don't have a lot of stretch, bend, and give when you walk in them, which can suck the fun right out of your evening stroll. Just because weighted shoes might not be the solution you were dreaming of, to pump your fitness up to the next level, doesn't mean you're all out of options, though. There are a few other effortless ways you can increase your workout without it feeling like work.

Effortless ways to boost your walking workout

Thankfully, weighted shoes aren't the only way to add oomph to your walk. There are a lot of different methods of burning more calories without adding much extra effort, like walking poles, for instance. In fact, Prevention reports that walking poles can boost your workout from 15% to a whopping 50%. And that huge increase comes with less stress on other parts of your body, too. 

If you're determined to carry some extra weight, consider adding a hiking backpack or a weighted vest to your next dash outdoors instead. Moreover, a little music can make all the difference. Adding some tunes with a quicker tempo will get your heart rate up and your feet moving faster. You can also vary the intensity of your walking with faster and slower portions to take advantage of a bit of HIIT training. Finally, consider changing up the terrain you're walking on. 

Adding hills, stairs, or even uneven terrain will definitely challenge you more. While weighted shoes are sure to make your workout a little harder, they do have a few downsides you'll want to consider before investing your hard-earned cash in them. And if you do decide to forgo the weighted shoes, you can always try a cheaper solution, like walking poles or adding some new songs to your walking or running playlist.