Thursday, 13 June 2013

A guide to choosing athletic shoes

The wrong type of footwear

Many foot problems arise due to wearing ill fitting footwear. People think formal footwear or evening footwear when they talk about bad fitting footwear. There is a wide range of athletic footwear available in the market. What do you do when your old shoes are worn out and you need new ones? You go to your favorite footwear store, and pick up a shoe that looks good and feels good. You walk about in it, up and down the shop and if it feels comfortable, you buy it. Little do you realize that choosing the right kind of athletic footwear is as important! 

If you are a couch potato who does minimal to no exercise at all, any pair of shoes is fine. But if you do any kind of exercise, like gyming, jogging, walking etc, you need to find the right footwear that will support that kind of activity. If you are into more athletic activities like basketball or football, even if it is in the park with your colleagues or friends, it pays to buy the right kind of shoes. 

Tips to buying good athletic shoes

Every kind of exercise uses different parts of your feet. You know that different muscles are used for different sports. You can feel the tension in those muscles when performing that activity. Likewise, different spots of your feet get stressed when participating in different kinds of sports. The shoes that you wear should support the area of stress, depending on the activity that you are performing. 

Test your foot

The first step to choosing the right shoes is to understand your feet. The best way to do that is to look at your last pair of worn out shoes. Check and see which parts of the shoes are worn out. Depending on your activity and the shape of your foot and your gait, the shoe will be more worn out in certain areas. Now you know which part of your feet needs more cushioning and support.

Read up on shoes

There is a lot of material online about the different kinds of shoes available. This is not merely marketing. Most shoes these days are tested thoroughly, and used by sportspeople, before being vetted as good for that particular activity.

Talk to your podiatrist

If you have any kind of foot problem it is a good idea to talk to your podiatrist and get their inputs. They could also give you more information on splints and guards to protect your feet.

Ask the salespeople

The salesperson knows the products inside out. If you explain to them the kind of activity that you indulge in, they will be able to help you find a shoe that is designed for that activity.

Don’t multi task shoes

Many people use the same shoes for running, basketball, skipping etc. If you regularly do a number of different sports at the same time, you should have shoes that complement that sport. Otherwise by using the wrong shoe for the wrong sport, you could end up injuring yourself. For example, walking shoes are stiff, running shoes are flexible. If you alternate regularly between both these exercises, you should have different shoes for each. 

Be aware of foot change

Due to sports or age and many other reasons, the shape of your feet and your stress points could change. So you should check your old shoes for new worn out spots, and see a podiatrist and get advice before getting new shoes.

Remember, shoes can make or break your foot!

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