We have all suffered the effects of bad fitting or inappropriate shoes at some stage of our lives. Blisters, black toenails, aching feet, joint pain and tendonitis are just a few problems which can occur from wearing the wrong shoes.
So how do you know the which are the right shoes for your sport? Shoe stores often label shoes as ‘running’, ‘tennis’ or ‘football’ shoes but this does not mean one style suits all. There are many aspects to consider when investing the big bucks on a new pair of sports shoes.
Know your feet
Knowing your feet and your gait (the way you walk) is the first step in finding the best shoes for you. Many professional sports shoe stores will examine your gait with the use of specialised equipment. Width, length, arch shape and the tendency to turn or roll your foot inwards or outwards are all factors which will determine which shoe fits best. An experienced shoe fitter or podiatrist can advise you on the best type of shoe for your needs.
Remember to have your feet measured and analysed each time you buy shoes as age, weight loss or gain and injuries can change the size of your foot or the way you walk.
Know your sport
Different sports demand different movements and unique pressures on your feet and body. Running, for instance, requires good cushioning and arch support to minimise impact to your joints and encourage your foot to move with out turning inward or outward. Netball and basketball, which have lots of side to side movement, stopping and starting requires a shoe with more stability support to prevent ankle injuries and added grip to avoid slipping.
Higher price doesn’t always equal a better shoe
Studies of sports shoes have shown that going to the top of the price range doesn’t always convert to a better shoe. Mid priced shoes ($150 to $200) proved to be comparable to the upper price range ($200+) in support, the only difference the high priced shoes was they may last slightly longer and increased mid-sole cushioning.
Shop around, do the research and try on different styles and brands. Don’t be swayed by looks as the funky looking pair may not fit as well as the boring coloured pair. Anyway, if you are playing hard enough no one will be looking at your shoes (a great team uniform on the other hand, will have everyone looking).