No matter what sport you play, even if you simply walk for fitness, your efforts can be more productive if you’re wearing the right shoe. While sometimes making the selection seems overly complex, every activity has a few basic support demands. Meet these and you’ll improve your chances of increasing your performance level while minimizing the risk of injury.
Today, we examine some points for you to consider, and if you need more in-depth advice, call or click to make an appointment at Scheffel Foot Center to make sure you choose the right shoe.
Understand your foot
Though the components of your feet may be the same as the next person’s, yours are unique, with their own strengths and challenges. Some people have high arches, with a tendency to roll their feet outward, and others have low arches. Their feet tend to rotate inward.
Not everyone has an ideal balance. You can often get clues about your own feet by examining the wear patterns of shoes you already own.
Low arches tend to show wear on the outside heel and inside forefoot. This can sometimes cause your knees to point inward. Strong arch support and motion-control features in any shoe can relieve this condition and stabilize your foot.
High arches tend to show wear on the outside edge of shoes as well as toward the baby toe. You’ll need a cushioned shoe with a midsole that’s soft, without extra arch support. Those with neutral arches can choose shoes that maximize stability, balancing support and cushioning.
One shoe, one activity
No matter your sport, don’t mix-and-match shoes between activities. For instance, a walking shoe should be stiffer than a running shoe. Footwear for tennis or basketball is generally more flexible and built with support against extreme lateral movement.
Golf, football, soccer, and baseball all have their own cleats for improved traction in the normal playing conditions for each activity, and sometimes there may be dry and wet-weather versions of these.
Don’t be tempted to wear the same shoe for multiple activities. You won’t be getting the best support and performance, leading to an increased risk of turned ankles, strained or torn Achilles tendons, or other foot injuries.
Watch the wear
Shoes have their own lifespan. If you’re an avid runner, you know how quickly you can wear down the soles. It’s not just a matter of road wear. The cushioning and other foot protection breaks down too, even if it’s not as visible as wear-and-tear on the sole. Continuing to use sports shoes after they’ve run their course increases the risk of injury.
The fit is key
Your foot should fill the shoe while leaving enough room to wiggle your toes. You shouldn’t feel you’re crammed into the front of the shoe, but there can’t be an overabundance of room, either.
Don’t be shy or impatient when shoe shopping. If something feels off, then it’s not the right pair.
“Breaking in” shoes isn’t a necessary part of the process. The right-fitting shoe is good to go out of the box. Try the shoes on both feet and walk around a bit to feel for loose or tight spots. Proper fit of an inexpensive shoe will outperform an ill-fitting high-end shoe.
If you’re having problems with your feet or need to know how best to take care of them, such as advice on shoes to fit your feet and your activities, call or go online to make an appointment at Scheffel Foot Center.