How to Choose Lightweight Footwear

A pair of shoes is considered by many to be one of the most important pieces of clothing, as it is primarily utilized to protect your feet from different types of surfaces, from rocky terrains to rough cemented floors. While almost all types of shoes are effective in providing protection for the feet, not all of them can offer the same levels of comfort and support when compared to sports shoes, which include basketball shoes, running shoes, and more.

When choosing sports shoes, you should consider not only their cushioning and their ability to support your ankles and other areas of your foot but also their weight. When you wear shoes that are too heavy, your feet will feel fatigued faster, which can then lead to foot pain and soreness. So, you should try to find the lightest footwear that still has the same comfort and support as most sports shoes. Here are tips for choosing lightweight footwear.

Check the Materials of the Upper

The first thing you need to do to confirm that a pair of shoes is lightweight is to check the materials on its upper. The upper usually determines if the shoes are light or heavy, as there are certain materials that can really add weight to footwear. Synthetic leather, genuine leather, and suede are a few of the materials that can be quite heavy for shoes, while textile, mesh, and nylon are significantly lighter. Choose shoes with lighter materials so that the overall weight of the shoes will be more balanced.

For basketball shoes, there are certain parts of shoes that are covered by multiple layers of different materials to increase their durability. However, these layers can inevitably add weight to the shoes. But, if you want the best basketball shoes, you really can’t get away from wearing a pair that doesn’t have two or more layers, as these layers can also offer support for your ankles, midfoot, and other areas of your feet.

For running shoes, it is fairly common for them to have only one material on their upper, although the material would be reinforced with a thin layer of plastic on high-wear areas. You should also check the flexibility of the upper for running shoes, as a flexible upper would allow you to bend your feet freely while you are running. However, be sure that the upper would be supported on the sides of the midfoot to prevent your feet from sliding left and right.

Read the Details About the Shoes

Next, you should read the details about the shoes, which include the materials used on the upper, the midsoles, and the outsoles, as well as their features and weight. Fortunately, a lot of brands already provide these details on their website, so all you really have to do to find out more about specific shoes is to search for them on the brand’s website and read the features and details on the pages of the shoes.

You can already learn about the weight of the shoes you are planning to buy when you read their details and features online. So, if you cannot actually test a shoe out in a physical sporting goods store to check its weight, you can just know its weight by searching online. Lightweight shoes are usually 8 to 12 ounces in weight, so keep that in mind when buying shoes in sporting goods stores or in online shops.

Choose Shoes with Breathability

When shoes are breathable, you can expect them to be fairly lightweight, as the materials used on the upper of these shoes have porous surfaces that make the materials less dense compared to synthetic leather, suede, and other heavy materials. Besides being lightweight, these breathable shoes are also very comfortable to wear since they wick moisture away from the interior of the shoes so that there wouldn’t be any sweat build-up. The sweat that builds up inside shoes can feel very uncomfortable for your feet, and it may also lead to overheating, which can cause soreness and pain.

So, breathable shoes are the best option if you want your feet to feel a lot cooler compared to wearing shoes that don’t have breathability. You can already find out about the breathability of the shoes you would like to buy by reading the features of the shoes on the brand’s website.

Research on the Average Weight of Sports Shoes

Sports shoes come in different weights, so it is important to learn more about the weight of the shoes you are planning to buy for you to really know how light the shoes are, especially when you begin comparing them to other sports shoes. Here are the average weights for sports shoes that you should know about.

1. Heavyweight Sports Shoes

Heavyweight sports shoes are usually above 15 ounces for men and above 12 ounces for women in terms of weight. These heavy shoes are usually designed to have more protection and support instead of comfort and cushioning.

The reason why heavyweight shoes are heavy is because of the materials used on the upper, as you would often see heavy and rigid materials like leather, synthetic leather, and suede on these shoes. If you are going to look for lightweight footwear, it would be best to find shoes that aren’t made entirely of leather, suede, and other heavy materials you would often find in heavyweight shoes.

2. Average Weight Sports Shoes

Sports shoes that have an average weight of 12 ounces for men and 9.5 to 12 ounces for women are in between heavyweight and lightweight shoes. Average weight sports shoes are very versatile, as they provide the protection and support that heavyweight shoes have while also having ample comfort and flexibility that lightweight shoes offer.

However, since these sports shoes are a “jack of all trades,” they are also a “master of none,” so they don’t have the same level of support as heavyweight shoes, and they also don’t have the same level of flexibility as lightweight shoes. But there is no denying that average weight sports shoes are still the most versatile, so if you want to get the best of both worlds for both heavyweight and lightweight shoes, you should wear sports shoes that have an average weight.

3. Lightweight Sports Shoes

Lightweight sports shoes are 10 ounces for men and 8 to 9 ounces for women in regard to their weight. These lightweight sports shoes are suitable for people that want to move fast in specific sports. For running, they would need lightweight shoes so that they can run faster and longer. When we wear heavy shoes for running, they put a lot of weight on our feet, and this causes the feet to move slower. In addition, heavy shoes can also feel painful to wear after a while, particularly on longer runs.

Many lightweight shoes are also very flexible, and the flexibility of these shoes is beneficial for people that want their feet to have more freedom of movement. A lot of shorter basketball players tend to wear lightweight shoes so that they will feel faster on the court, not only because of the shoes’ lightness but also their flexibility.

Don’t Sacrifice Durability

The materials used on lightweight shoes are soft and flexible, so there is a chance that there are some of them that aren’t durable. When looking for lightweight shoes, it is important to never compromise on durability, as you would want your shoes to last, and you need them to remain intact while you are playing a particular sport.

So, always go for lightweight shoes that are made from relatively tough materials, and these include nylon, mesh, and reinforced textiles. Even though there are some materials that are more flexible, the ones we have mentioned are still better when it comes to making the shoes last much longer.

Rely on Reviews

Despite being lightweight in terms of the official weight given by the brand for their shoes, there are still some pairs of shoes that would still feel quite heavy due to not having proper weight placement on the upper, midsoles, and outsoles. These shoes generally feel “clunky,” especially when they feel heavy only on the back or on the front. 

In order to know if the shoes truly feel lightweight, you should check out reviews, which will tell you not only about the lightness of the shoes, but also their strengths and weaknesses. These reviews are readily available online through review websites, forums, blogs, and video streaming channels on YouTube. The reviews can take only a few minutes to read or watch, so you will have a much faster time determining how good or bad specific shoes are instead of checking and testing them out in sporting goods stores.

Try the Shoes

The last tip is to just try the shoes if it is possible for you to visit a sporting goods store. You will never really be sure how light the shoes are unless you try the pair yourself. The shoes that may feel lightweight for many reviewers online may still feel heavy for you, so you really need to try the shoes on to gauge their weight. 

Besides the weight, you will also be able to gauge how comfortable the shoes are by trying them on. The comfort level of the shoes is attributed to how soft or plush the interior of the upper is and also to how soft the midsoles are while still offering impact protection.

However, if you don’t have time to visit a sporting goods store, it is still okay to rely on reviews if you are going to buy shoes online. But be sure to read multiple reviews for the same pair of shoes so that you can see if a lot of reviewers agree on the lightness of the pair.

Those are the tips we can offer when it comes to choosing lightweight footwear. Follow the tips above so that you will have a convenient time finding the best pair of lightweight shoes that you can for workouts or different sports.