How to Choose the Right Athletic Shoes

Tuesday, August 16, 2016
How to Choose the Right Athletic Shoes

Choosing the right sports shoe is more than finding the right fit. The right sports shoe can determine whether you have an enjoyable and safe… or uncomfortable and dangerous sporting experience.


When it comes to your sports shoes, you deserve the best. Many sports involve a number of dynamic movements of the lower limb. These movements are performed at speed, with forces many times that of your body weight being transmitted through the bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the foot and leg.  Wearing the appropriate sports shoe is vital to preventing injury and optimizing performance. This is your all-you-need-to-know guide to the correct sports shoes, including the most common mistakes and tips.


Tip 1: Match your shoe to your sport

While aerobic shoes might look like running shoes and walking shoes like cross trainers, they are worlds apart in construction. Sport shoes of today are designed for a specific function and are not suitable for use in a variety of sports. By sticking with the shoe designed for your sport, you will be reducing your risk of injury. Sport shoes are not meant to be multitasked; for example, walking shoes are stiff, while running shoes are more flexible, with extra cushioning to handle the greater impact.


Tip 2: Quick sports – lateral support

If you are into sports that involve sudden acceleration or deceleration, as well as rapid direction changes such as squash or tennis, you’ll need a shoe with more lateral support. These shoes are designed for this purpose and will provide protection from ankle injuries as well as increased traction on the playing surface.


Tip 3: Be sized up regularly

The size and fit of the shoe is of paramount importance, regardless of the sports activity undertaken. But don’t assume you know your shoe size! Your foot size does change with age, and it is likely that feet will continue to increase in size during your lifetime. Your feet should be properly assessed for width as well as size.  The right fit is essential for comfort and safety.


Tip 4: Shop toward the end of the day

Feet swell over the course of the day; they also expand while you run or walk.  Shoes should fit your feet when they're at their largest, so try shopping for them towards the end of the day. Also, since most individuals have one foot larger than the other, always try on both shoes to make sure they fit both feet comfortably.


Tip 5: Space it up

There should be about a thumb’s width between the front of your big toe and the end of the shoe. The heel should fit relatively tightly; your heel should not slip out when you walk. The upper part of the shoe, which goes over the top of your foot, should be snug and secure, and not too tight.  


Tip 6: Are you flexible or rigid?

Before you go out shopping, you need to figure out whether you have a flexible foot or a rigid one. Sit down, put your foot on a ruler, and measure where your toes fall. Stand up on the ruler, and if your feet have spread forward more than 0.8 cm, then you have a flexible foot. If there's no movement at all, you have a rigid foot. Your foot is neutral if you have some movement… but less than 0.8 cm. If you have flexible feet, you need to be looking for more stable shoes, while rigid feet need shoes with more cushioning.