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Cushioned soles are better for aerobics.
It can be hard enough to motivate yourself to exercise, much less worry about what kind of shoe you're going to wear while you do it. The right shoe, though, can make or break your experience; choose the wrong one and you may put yourself at higher risk for injury, or at least discomfort. Looking at the sole is a good place to start when you set out to find a new pair of athletic shoes, as it's the foundation of the shoe.
If you plan on using your shoes for walking, you'll want a lightweight, supportive shoe with extra cushioning on the soles, which support ball and heel of the foot. For those with arthritis or arch pain, you may want a shoe that has a "rocker sole," which will encourage your feet to roll in a natural heel-to-toe motion. The front of the sole will be stiffer than on a running shoe to allow your toes to roll, rather than bend, as you move forward.
Shock absorption is key when choosing a running shoe. Soles made from carbon rubber are heavy and stiff, but offer more stability to the foot and long-term durability Blown rubber soles contain air and are lighter and more flexible. The Sierra Trading Post recommends that people with flat feet avoid highly-cushioned running shoes in favor of firm, flatter soles. Though cushioning is favored by many, some runners prefer the very thin soles of barefoot running shoes, which allow for more sensation. Blown rubber soles are popular for aerobics due to their high level of shock absorption.
Sports such as soccer, football and baseball require shoes with cleats. Cleats are small protrusions made of plastic or metal that make it possible to move freely on grass or other soft materials. Some cleats come as part of the sole, while others are clipped on, or screwed into the shoe. Football and baseball cleats have spikes under the toes; cleats for soccer lack a toe spike, which would create drag that would hinder kicking the ball.
For those who play their sport on a court, such as tennis, basketball and volleyball, a light, flexible sole is desirable to allow for sudden side-to-side movements. Soles designed for court sports will have less shock absorption than soles for running or walking. On a soft court, you'll need a softer sole; on a hard court, you'll need a sole with greater tread to allow for better traction, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society.