Athletic footwear is meant to prevent injury and optimize performance. Decades ago, the sports shoe consumer had very few options other than the all-purpose sneaker. Today’s athletes have hundreds of choices designed for every sport and activity. It is important to find the correct shoe that will match the needs of your foot to the requirements of your sport or exercise routine.
So first, focus on your sport. Are you a runner? A good running shoe should offer ample support and cushioning. Is tennis your game? You will need a shoe that provides support for quick side-to-side movements and changes in direction. Shooting hoops? You may want a high-top shoe that delivers maximum ankle support. Carefully consider the demands of your particular activity.
Secondly, visit a reputable athletic shoe store and get properly fitted. Check reviews of your local stores to see which ones have the most helpful and knowledgeable salespeople. An experienced staffer can help you understand your gait, your arch and even show you the best way to lace up your new shoes.
Next, know when to go shoe shopping for the most accurate fit. The ideal time is at the end of the day or after a workout, when your feet are at their largest. Bring along your own socks that you normally wear for your chosen activity, and any inserts that you use.
Lastly, know when to replace your athletic footwear. Most shoes begin to break down around 300 miles of use. They begin to lose stability and shock absorption over time. Once your shoe starts to feel uncomfortable or less supportive, it is time to go get a new pair!