Selecting the right shoe is one of the most important factors when walking, running, hiking or playing any sort of sport. If you want to enjoy a lifetime of exercise and avoid injury then taking care of your joints is necessary and investing in the right shoe should be a priority.
First of all, you’ll want to be sure to get properly fitted for your shoes so they have the right support and are the right size, width and cushioning for your foot. Most specialty stores have trained professionals that will do a gait analysis (watch you walk) to help determine which kind of support is required for your foot. Bringing your old shoes to the store with you is helpful because the customer service associate can look at the current wear patterns in your shoes. Also, be sure to take the time to test out the new shoes in the store by walking, jumping and running around the store. Some stores, like the Running Room, even let you take the shoes home to test them out (indoors) for 30 days just so you can be sure that your shoe is the right fit.
Secondly, your shoes should be activity specific, for instance, running shoes are designed for running, walking shoes are designed for walking, cross trainers are designed for weight training and lateral movements, and so on. Each shoe offers various levels of support and cushioning based on the activity they are being used for so if you participate in multiple activities or sports then you may have a variety of shoe types in your closet. Here are some tips to help you get started:
|Walking||Walking is a lower impact activity therefore the shoe is designed with less cushioning in the heel and more under ball of foot. The height of the sole is standard across the base of shoe.|
|Running||Running shoes typically have more heel and forefoot cushioning to support the impact and a good quality shoe is designed to help propel your body forward. The height of the sole will vary from the front to the back of shoe, with the back being higher.|
|Weight Training / Sports Activities||Cross trainers offer lateral support for multi-directional movements, multiple surfaces and training disciplines. The height of the sole is standard across the base of shoe.|
|Trail / Off-Road Running||Trail shoes are a sturdier designed shoe that gives more support and control on uneven terrain. These shoes have a higher sole height with thicker (and stiffer) soles and larger treads making them ideal for off-road/trail running or special events like the Spartan or Tough Mudder races.|
|Hiking||Hiking boots have more grip and traction for various terrains and are designed for multiple surfaces and environmental conditions. They tend to cover the ankles to provide support and use more leather to make the shoe thicker, stronger and more durable.|
Finally, keep in mind that new shoes should be purchased every 3-12 months, depending on how much they are being used and the quality of the shoe. Cheap shoes tend to be stiffer, heavier and don’t last so it is wise to invest in a good quality shoe that will provide better support and last longer.
For more helpful tips on running shoes check out my latest appearance on RogersTV show Daytime with Derrick and Lois at http://www.michellefit.ca/michellefit-on-daytime-rogerstv-running-shoes.
See you on the road! Michelle