Of late, many a client has passed through the door with injuries stemming from incorrect training shoes. Conditions such as: Shin splints, plantar fasciitis, tendinopathies, stress fractures and overuse syndromes may be as a result of the this…
Shoes play and important role in our lives as we wear them most of the time is our daily activities. But how do I know what the right shoe is for my sport?
This is a quick go-to when having a look at which shoe is best suited for you.
Firstly you need to purchase a shoe that is in line with the activity you are performing.
Walking shoes: lightweight, with extra shock absorption in the heel and under the ball of the foot to decrease heel pain and burning/tenderness in the ball of the foot. Walking shoes are more rigid in the frontal area of the shoe for toe roll off. If you feel that you need more even weight distribution, a smoother transition from heel-to-toe and less force over the foot, look for a shoe that has a slightly more rounded sole.
Running shoes: have good overall shock absorption, and heel control. Check your running style first, as a heel-striker requires different shoes to a fore-foot/mid-foot striker!
Aerobic conditioning shoes: lightweight with extra shock absorption in the ball of the foot to prevent foot fatigue.
Tennis and netball shoes: give upper support with quick transferring of weight and side to side movements and a flexible sole for quick changes of direction. When playing on soft surfaces look for a softer sole shoe, and vice versa with a hard surface.
Basketball shoes: have a stiff, thick sole for more stability whilst on court. The high top gives extra ankle support but won’t prevent the risk of ankle injuries.
Cross training shoes: a combination of many features and therefore help you participate in more than one sport, without having to purchase more than one pair of shoes. It will be flexible in the forefoot for running and have lateral control for aerobics and court activities. Obviously, because they are the “jack of all trades” when it comes to functionality, they are not particularly good at any one specific component. For exmple, a cross training shoe shouldnt be worn to run more than 10km. Rather get a dedicated running shoe for that purpose.
How to go about choosing the correct shoe.
-Like clothes- different brands fit differently, so don’t take it for granted that if in the one brand you are a size 7 you would be the same in the next brand.
-Measure both feet when they are at their largest- usually after exercise or at the end of the day. Remember one foot may be larger than the other.
-Use the same type of sock that you would usually use in your activity of preference.
-Comfort is key- the shoe should mimic the shape of your foot
-There is an old saying- “the shoe will become flexible/ loosen with time” this is partially true, however when purchasing a shoe, you should not keep this in the back of your mind. The shoe should be comfortable and fit correctly when purchasing it!
-The widest part of your foot should not feel cramped in the shoe, you should be able to wiggle/ move your toes freely
-The part where your toes are in the shoe (toe box) should have enough depth to prevent chafing, or calluses formation
-Stand and ensure that there is about half the width of your finger between the big toe and the second toe.
-Test the shoe, walk around in it, and ensure that it is comfortable with no chafing. Your heel should not slide forwards and backwards either.
Some extra tips
If you participate in a particular sport 3 or more times a week, then a sport-specific shoe is advised.
Shoes need to be replaced depending on how often they are used and age. It is recommended that after 300 hours of aerobic activity, or a maximum of 800km have been reached on the shoes, they have run their course and need to be replaced, much like the tyres on your vehicle. Rubber degrades with age, so a shoe that’s more than 5 years old, regardless of mileage/hours still needs replacing!
These are just a few pointers in helping you find the right fit for your foot. So the next time you head out to upgrade your footwear to what your feet deserve, stop and think before you just choose a brand and type of shoe because of its aesthetic appearance. Choose FUNCTION over FASHION!
Happy shoe shopping!
BY: Amy Abel
Ankle injuries, Foot injuries, General Health/Fitness