How to Choose The Best Shoes for Exercise

By: Cynthia Gao, Campus Recreation Services, Group Fitness Instructor

Not all shoes are made equal. Depending on what you’re using the shoe for and for how long, here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing the right shoe.

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Nora Kuby

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Nora Kuby

1. Asses your activity.

What kind of activity will you be doing? Are you going to be playing tennis, running, walking?

If you are playing tennis, or any similar sport, you will want a shoe that has a laterally stable build. In sports like tennis or basketball you are constantly moving front to back and side to side, therefore the shoe must be able to support that side-to-side movement in order to prevent injury.

If you are running, you’ll want a shoe that gives you both support and stability for the forward and backwards movement, but because you don’t move laterally when you run that lateral build is not necessary.

If you just want a shoe for walking, then you’ll want a shoe that has stiff rubber in the back in order to accommodate the heavier heel strike that is associated with the walking motion.

2. One shoe for all activities?

What if you don’t just do any one activity in particular and are looking for a causal exercise shoe that you can wear for anything?

According to Kathleen Stone, president of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), you might want to consider a cross-trainer shoe. Look for one that has a firm heel, good support (not too bendable), and a light weight (not too heavy on your foot).

3. Don’t get too attached.

So, you’ve picked the perfect shoe for you and your activity. You begin to love them so much that you never want to get rid of them.

Waiting until they “look bad” to replace them is very common but, not a great idea. This is because even if your shoe still looks good, the support of the shoe may be worn out which can lead to aches and pains.

A common recommendation is to replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles. If you don’t run or walk frequently enough to track your miles, aim to replace your workout shoes at least once a year.

Treat your feet right because you’ll be using them throughout the rest of your life!

Source: 5 Biggest Mistakes When Choosing Workout Shoes (WebMD)

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