As fitness levels improve, workouts become more intense, and the impact on our bodies can take a toll. As crazy as it sounds, footwear is crucial. Are you wearing the proper shoes for the workout(s) you’re doing? You will likely need shoes for lifting in the gym that are different from shoes you wear when running.
With the weather warming up, most of us are more than ready to get outside! Taking our workouts outside is an incredible idea as well. In addition to making sure we all have proper exercise clothing, don’t forget your shoes! Similar to fingerprints, our feet are different as well. Some of us have high arches, some have low arches, and our gaits are different as well. Consistently wearing the wrong shoes can cause many issues, such as:
1. Foot pain
2. Ankle pain
3. Knee pain
4. Hip pain
5. Lower back pain
Wearing the proper footwear is incredibly important – not only to your performance, but also for your health! Your lower back, hips, knees AND feet will reap the benefit of proper shoes; conversely, they will suffer from repeated wear of the wrong shoes. The trick here is that our feet are nearly as different as our fingerprints, and the shoe that works best for your workout partner could well be the worst shoe for you!
The best shoe for you will depend on your sport of choice, your gait, and your foot (high or low arches? Pronated instep?) The good news is that there are several athletic shoe stores that specialize in assisting you to find the proper shoe for your foot and your activity! In the metro Atlanta area of Georgia, we have Big Peach Running Company, New Sole, and Run Fit stores. Be sure you tell the person helping you which activity or sport you participate in so they can help you choose the very best shoe.
Here a few tips for finding the proper shoe, according to the Athletic Shoes OrthoInfo web site:
- If you have the luxury of different types of athletic shoe stores, try to find one that caters to your particular sport
- Try to wait until after a run or a workout to try on shoes as your feet tend to swell throughout the day
- To insure the best fit, wear the same socks you tend to workout in
- Make sure the back of the shoe at your heel, the part that holds your heel in place, grips your heel comfortably and firmly to maintain stability
- There should be at least a half inch space between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe
- Make sure the toe box has ample room for you to wiggle your toes; your toes shouldn’t feel crammed into the tip of the shoe.
- When you try on shoes, be sure to walk around the store on different surfaces (carpet, hard flooring, even concrete or grass if possible) in order to make sure they are comfortable.
- Try on the right AND left shoe to insure they are comfortable and fit properly.
Finding the proper shoe for YOUR foot, and for your sport is truly important. It can get expensive, of course, but I guarantee it is a wise investment! Since my feet have really high arches, I have a pair of Topos with a wide toe box and wonderful arch support for running and other workouts. I also wear Otomix high tops for training legs. It seems silly to have two shoes for my workouts, but it truly makes a huge difference! At least take the time to have your foot and your gait analyzed to get their recommendations for your particular feet!