Are Your Shoes Helping or Hurting Your Fitness Program?

shutterstock 335848376 1200x480 Are Your Shoes Helping or Hurting Your Fitness Program?

Wearing the right footwear can help you meet your fitness goals. The wrong athletic shoes can minimize the benefits of your workout, and even lead to injuries. For instance, walking shoes are less flexible than running shoes, which include extra cushioning to absorb more impact. Here are a few facts to help you step into fitness most effectively:

1. Have your feet professionally measured. Some people don’t realize that adult feet change sizes over time. Experts recommend having your feet measured twice a year to stay current. Plus, sizes aren’t always consistent from one brand of shoe to another. When you try shoes on, be sure to wear the kind of socks you’ll wear for your workouts, and to include orthotics to ensure they fit into the shoe and provide the support you need.

2. Don’t break them in. Shoes for running or walking should feel comfortable as soon as you put them on. Walk (or run) around the store where you’re trying them on to make sure they feel right as you move.

3. Experts say there should be a space about the width of your thumb (about 3/8 of an inch to a half inch) between your big toe and the front of the athletic shoe. You should be able to easily wiggle all of your toes with the shoe on your foot.

4. Look for support. The part of the shoe that goes over the top of your foot should be snug and secure, but not overly tight in any place.

5. Do you need special features? Some trendy-looking features on athletic shoes serve a practical purpose. Clear inserts that are filled with air, Freon or gel, can add extra shock absorption, which can help people who get heel pain. But they’re not a great choice for people whose ankles twist easily since those shoes provide less traction. And the pump-up tongue provides a more customized fit for some people whose feet are hard to fit.

6. Replace athletic shoes as needed. Watch to see when the back of the sole gets worn out, or if the shoe feels less supportive or comfortable. The average pair of running shoes should be replaced after about 350 – 400 miles.

Visit your nearest Foot Solutions store where we can help you find the right shoes for your feet, your body, and your fitness goals.