Sports Specific Footwear for Kettlebell Training

The Base 

Sports podiatrists have long since understood the importance of correct footwear for sports specific training. The correct footwear is essential for postural support, reducing the risk of injury and ensuring that correct technique is used throughout various exercises. Given the risks involved, this is particularly important when using a kettlebell. Many people train with footwear designed to offer cushioning and support when running by reducing the impact of force on the knees and ankles. This can often be the cause of knee and lower back pain. However some fitness methods require not cushioning but a solid and stable base from which to assist in lifting heavy weights and to support the rest of the body. Kettlebell training is one such sport in which the correct footwear can make the difference between safe and unsafe training.   

Supporting the Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell training is effective because the off-balanced weight of the kettlebell requires the body to stabilise itself. It recruits core muscles across the mid-section in a bid to do this, however in order for the core to be effective, a solid, grounded base is required. Running trainers have padded heels that raise the heel off the floor and cause the centre of balance to shift. Should a person swinging a kettlebell stumble or fall off-balance the body would automatically recruit multiple muscles to help correct the posture. Unfortunately, the shock of this movement can result in strains on the muscles, tendons and ligaments. 

Footwear for Support

In order to prevent this type of injury sports podiatrists recommend various types of footwear. Cross-training footwear has been designed with a thin but solid sole and is highly recommended for kettlebell training. The firm sole with limited cushioning helps an individual to keep their balance whilst retaining the ability of the foot to naturally grip the floor, by keeping the heel low. The second recommendation is to wear hi-top baseball shoes. Again, these have a flat and rigid sole, with the added bonus of a canvas ankle support which provides additional support to the ankle, whilst retaining some flexibility of the joint. Thirdly, wearing no trainers at all allows the person to naturally grip the floor with their whole foot. This has the added benefit of providing slightly less stability because of the reduced base but encourages the strengthening of the muscles and ligaments of the feet. 

Talk to an Instructor 

If choosing to train with a kettlebell, it is important to speak with a certified instructor who will be able to offer advice and guidance on both correct technique and footwear to help you to train safely. Whilst running trainers can be worn, it advised that lighter weights are used to minimise risk until more suitable shoes can be found.