How To Choose the Right Athletic Shoe
by Robin Brett Parnes, MS, MPH
The right pair of athletic shoes can lower the risk of injuries and keep you comfortable. Shopping for these shoes can be confusing. Here are some fast facts you need to know before you head to the store.
Why Choosing the Right Shoe Matters
Wearing the right shoe may enhance your performance and give you the comfort and support you need to enjoy staying active. It can also help you:
Avoid Getting Foot Problems
The proper fit and shoe for your activity help protect your feet from problems that can happen over time. Common foot problems that may be from poor shoes are:
Lower the Risk of Injury
The wrong shoes can raise the risk of these injuries that can keep you from doing the things you like to do:
Factors to Think About in Choosing New Shoes
Tracking down a pair of shoes does not need to be scary. First, look to see if you need a new pair. Shoes should be replaced every 4 to 6 months. Some signs that you need new ones are cracks in the sole of the shoe or worn down heels. Other signs of wear are stiff feel in the shoe or changes in the shape of the upper shoe. If you have had pain or soreness in your feet, knees, or hips after a workout, it could also mean you are due for a new pair.
Let's go over a few things you need to know before you choose your shoes.
The first thing to think about is the type of feet that you have. There are three types:
Getting the right fit will also mean finding out if you need a wider or larger shoe than you usually wear.
Types of Shoes
A good cross-training shoe is best for most people. They are flexible in the forefoot and protect you from side to side motions. This will let you do more than one sport. These shoes are great for general use, but people who do a sport 2 to 3 times a week will want shoes that are made for that sport. Here are a few types:
You may not need a different type of shoe for each activity you do if the sports are similar.
Getting the Right Fit
Try to get fitted for shoes a store that focuses on the sport that you do. They know more about the right shoes you will need. The store will also factor in things like your gait, weight, and foot shape to help you choose your shoes.
It is best to go shopping for shoes after a workout or at the end of the day. This is when your feet will be largest. You will also want to wear the same type of socks you will be wearing when you exercise. This will help you get the best fit.
When you get to the store, be sure to have both feet measured. Fit shoes to your larger foot. You will want to try on many pairs of shoes. The right shoes will have a firm grip to your heel and let you wiggle all of your toes. They should not feel too tight or too lose. Be sure to walk or run a few steps. Keep in mind that you should not need to break in your shoes after you take them home.
Keep in mind that you should not be swayed by the price tag. The most expensive is not always the best. In the end, getting the right shoe with the right fit is what you want.
American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine
American Podiatric Medical Association.
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
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Last reviewed June 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 6/30/2021
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