Reebok says people wear running shoes to the gym. It’s true, we do. In fact, the company surveyed people from Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi and found that 65 per cent of them regularly wore running shoes to the gym. No surprises here, though. We all know of folks who go barefoot when they go heavy on the squat rack for better stability. But forget barebones weight training; think High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I can’t imagine jumping from one drill to another without a versatile pair of trainers hugging my feet.
Despite the naysayers, I am not entirely of the opinion that you can’t train in a pair of running shoes. A little over a decade ago, my famously stern track and field coach would make us sprint for 100 metres, jump over a few hurdles, front roll and dive straight into pushups and finish it up with burpees (x4). In the old days, he had a whistle and a stopwatch and called his arbitrary drill the “100-second snap”. HIIT or not, we did it in running shoes, and some pairs could endure it.
Here’s what I think your shoes must have for it: a breathable upper, a strengthened toe box, a wide heel support, a lightweight and flexible midsole and an outsole with a good grip. A few running pairs come close, but a plush midsole (Boost or Gel) is not ideal for strength and cardio supersets. You need something that is closer to the ground.
This is where pairs like the Reebok HIIT TR come into play. The pair has the above mentioned qualities, plus a few more things. I tried it through HIIT and also through a few weight training sessions that ended in intense cardio, and left the gym feeling much better than I did leaving the field in my school days.
But it’s important to set the expectations right. It takes a couple of sessions to break in the shoe. And if you are used to a more plush midsole, it might take even longer for your feet to get used to greater impact. But once you are through with it, expect the Reebok HIIT TR to become your go-to gym pair. Its direct lacing system secures the midfoot in place. The sockliner inside also wraps around the rear foot for greater stability. But I feel it could have fit more snugly.
It’s a sleek shoe that helps with better lateral movement and has a low heel drop for more ground contact — important differentiators from a running shoe.
The colourways — black and white, black and orange, and white and black with green detailing — make these chic-looking sneakers. The fact that a lot of trainers in the market are monochromatic and dull is also why people wear running shoes or sneakers to the gym. The Reebok HIIT TR should be able to change that to some extent.
For Rs 8,999, it’s at par, if not cheaper, than an entry-level running shoe or a versatile sneaker. It’s certainly an excellent buy for people interested in various forms of workout. It’s versatile but not meant for pure running — just like most running shoes are not meant for HIIT. I hope we have settled this debate.