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Finding the Right Athletic Shoe

I am not too crazy about athletic gear (tank top and yoga pants are all I need) but I like having a nice pair of shoes for that extra motivation. Also, let me tell you how I always come home with a pair that catches my eye rather than their functionality (smart right). Luckily, besides minor aches here and there, I have not had any major injuries (knock on wood)..So, for the sake of my own safety and hopefully yours, I wanted to share few things I think we all need to consider before purchasing a new athletic pair.

– Right Shoe for the Right Workout: a shoe made for running is very different than a shoe for playing basketball.

Running shoes have no lateral stability built into them because you don’t move your feet laterally when you run. You’re only going forward. A running shoe is built to give you support and stability as you move your foot through the running gait cycle.

– Know your Foot: Do a “wet test”- wet a foot, step on a piece of brown paper and trace your footprint. Or just look at where your last pair of shoes shows the most wear. This will tell you if you have high, flat or neutral arch and depending upon that choose the shoe with the right support and cushioning. I have a neutral arch so I go for a shoe with equal mix of cushioning and stability.

– Ask, Research, Test Drive: A good pair of athletic shoes can cost anywhere from $80-$200 but expensive does not necessarily translate as the best. I usually read reviews before hand and plan on spending sometime at the store, ask questions, and try it on with my socks before making a final purchase.

– Know when to replace them: I am guilty of not throwing away my running shoes since senior year of college (now don’t ask me when I graduated college).

The typical athletic shoe is only made to last approximately 500 miles for people who walk and 350-500 miles for heavy runners or “hard foot strikers,” people that hit the ground harder than normal with their feet. Weight and use is also a factor – the more you weigh, and the more often you use your shoes, the faster your shoes will wear out. Most athletic shoes, used on a regular basis, need to be replaced every three to six months.

– Get Measured and Purchase Late: Did you know that your shoe size and shape changes as you age? I rarely get my foot measured but for the most comfortable fitting, get it measured while you are at the shoe store. I have also noticed that my size slightly differs depending upon different brands.

Our feet swell during the day, after a long walk, or a run, so it is best to purchase shoes at the end of your shopping trip when your foot is at the largest in order to get the most comfortable fit (source).

– Don’t Multitask: Use your athletic shoes for their specific purpose in order to protect yourself from injuries and also to maintain the quality of your shoes. I try to use my older athletic shoes for walking/strength training and running shoes only for running.