Tips to choose the best athletic shoe.
Shopping for athletic shoes can be an overwhelming task. There are hundreds of styles and brands to choose from for each specific activity. As you browse the aisles, maybe you’re tempted to buy the cheapest shoe, a certain brand, or a particular color and style. While you may want to save money or look hip, your feet, legs, and back may suffer from your decision.
Shoe manufacturers know that everyone has a different shaped foot and pronation (the natural way your foot lands on the ground when you walk or run). Because of this, they make shoes that fit people differently and that are designed differently for specific types of activities. So how do you find the right one? Here are a few tips.
If the Shoe Fits…
Plan to go shoe shopping at the end of the day. Why? Your feet swell during the day. They also swell when you exercise. By trying on shoes when your feet are largest, you’ll be more likely to find the right fit. Have your feet measured to make sure you’re trying on the right size.
When you shoe shop, plan to try on shoes while wearing the socks and orthotics you’ll be wearing when you exercise. Lace up the shoe completely as you try it on. You should be able to comfortably wiggle your toes. Leave about a half-inch space between your big toe and the end of the shoe, then get moving. Your heel shouldn’t slip out of the shoe as you walk.
As soon as you put the shoe on it should be comfortable. Don’t expect a break-in period. Walk or jog around for a few minutes to test out the support and comfort.
You Pay for What You Get
Generally speaking, the cheaper the shoe, the lesser the quality. Protect the health of your feet by spending a little extra for good quality. If possible, shop at a specialty shoe store where the staff is knowledgeable about proper fitting and any specific foot concerns you may have. You may pay a little more, but their expertise may keep you in the game and help your feet go for more pain-free miles.
Designed With You in Mind
The first thing to look for is a shoe designed for your specific type of activity. Walking shoes don’t provide the support you need for basketball just like soccer cleats won’t work for jogging.
Once you’ve pinpointed the task you plan to perform with your shoes, ask an athletic shoe salesman to help determine your pronation. If your feet roll inward, have low arches, and are flat they’re considered overpronated. Feet that land on the outer edge of the foot and have high arches are called oversupinated or underpronated. Some feet have a neutral arch. You can also figure this out by examining your old shoes to see where they’re most worn down. A salesman can help you find a shoe that’s designed for your specific type of pronation.
A shoe may look brand new but lack support from frequent use. It’s time to purchase new shoes after wearing them for 300 hours of aerobic exercise or after running 300 to 500 miles. Divide 500 by the average number of miles you run per week. This is the number of weeks you have until you need to buy a new pair of shoes. Write the date on the side or bottom of your shoes as a reminder.