Picking Shoes for Your Fitness Needs

If you are starting a new fitness routine or switching to a new sport, you will want to make sure you have the proper fitness shoes. According to Runner’s World, 25% of all athletes need a specialty shoe to match their specific foot type to help avoid injuries. By selecting an incorrect shoe, you put your body at risk for shin splints, knee injury, hip pain or back discomfort.

The medical staff at WebMD recommends that you purchase a shoe that is designed for the specific sport you are doing to avoid injuries. For example, walking shoes are stiffer by design while running shoes have more flexibility and extra cushion to help your legs absorb the impact of the pavement

The Right Fit

When selecting a new athletic shoe, you will want to determine the shape of your foot and the rotation of your ankle. Are you flatfooted or do you have high arches? Do you overpronate or underpronate? This is an important characteristic to know when purchasing shoes because pronation can lead to a host of injuries. By knowing how your ankle moves, you can buy specific shoes to offset any form of pronation.

An easy way to help determine the shape and motion of your foot is by completing the wet arch test. Simply wet your foot and step on a piece of dark colored paper and trace an outline of your foot. If the entire base of your foot shows on the paper, then you may have flat arches. You should be able to visualize the lift of your arches. In regards to pronation, if the inside of your heel rolls towards the inside, then you may overpronate. If your heel left a deeper imprint on the outside of your foot, then you may underpronate, meaning that your foot rolls outward. 

It is recommended that you get fitted by a professional to ensure you purchase the correct shoe for your foot. Most running stores or athletic stores will be able to properly fit you to a shoe.

Agility

If you are participating in a sport that has you starting, stopping and changing directions quickly, like tennis or basketball, then look for a shoe that offers lateral support. This support will help you avoid spraining your ankle when you quickly change directions.

Endurance

If you are looking for a shoe that allows for endurance activities, such as long distance running, then look for a shoe that includes additional support in the heel. This will help prevent injuries and discomfort when out running long distances.

Group Fitness

If you are the type of person who likes to complete in numerous different types of fitness classes, then you will want to look for a versatile shoe. Look for an aerobic shoe that has additional cushioning, ankle support and arch support. This will help protect your feet during high and low intensity fitness classes.

Cross Training

For those of you who like to workout on the elliptical or treadmill, look for a cross trainer shoe. This type of shoe has evenly distributed cushioning and good foot support. This type of shoe is also good for walking and weight training.

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