How to Choose an Athletic Shoe

How to Choose an Athletic Shoe
Shoe manufacturers offer athletic shoes in a wide variety of materials, prices, features and colors. It can be difficult to sort out which shoe is right for you. More expensive is not necessarily better. A proper fit can stabilize your foot, offer comfort while you are engaging in sporting activities and help you to avoid injury.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Decide which sporting activity you will be buying shoes for. Athletic shoes come in many styles and most are designed for specific sports. For example, running shoes have extra cushioning to compensate for impact, whereas walking shoes have stiffer soles for that specific activity.
Step 2
Identify the shape of your foot. Place a piece of construction paper on the floor. Get your foot wet and step on the paper. Trace your footprint and you will be able to determine what kind of arch you have. If your entire foot is outlined and you can see little curve on the inside of the footprint, you have low arches or flat feet. You will need a shoe with a great deal of support. If you can see only part of your footprint, you may have high arches. You will need a shoe with cushioning and a softer midsole.
Step 3
Visit a retail store that offers specially trained associates who can perform custom fittings. Some stores offer individualized fittings that may include videotaping your feet as you walk on a treadmill. The sales associate can often discern the special needs of your feet based on the way you walk.
Step 4
Ask the sales associate to measure both your feet. Some people may have feet that are one half to a whole size different. Also, the size of your feet may change throughout your adulthood. Pregnancies, injuries and weight gain may all affect the size of your foot.
Step 5
Try on several pairs of shoes. Do not hesitate to spend as much time as needed to determine if the shoe is comfortable and fits well.
Step 6
Test the quality of the heel box. They heel box of the shoe is the rear third portion that supports your heel. Once the shoe is on and properly tied, bend over and squeeze the back of the shoe to see how much resistance you encounter. The less resistance, the more support the shoe offers.
Step 7
Check the amount of support from the upper. The upper is the part of the shoe that surrounds the middle of the foot. Uppers are made from many different materials including leather, mesh or fabric. Lack of proper support in the upper can cause stress fractures or tendonitis.

Tips & Warnings

Replace your shoes when they wear out. You can tell that it is time to buy new shoes when the heel box and uppers are not supporting your foot the way they did when the shoe was new. Over time, your shoes will become softer and offer less protection, which makes you more prone to injury.
Don't choose shoes to match your outfit; it is more important to find shoes that fit properly than those that are fashionable.

Article Written By Cate Rushton

Cate Rushton has been a freelance writer since 1999, specializing in wildlife and outdoor activities. Her published works also cover relationships, gardening and travel on various websites. Rushton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah.

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