Strap on the Right Pair of Shoes for You!

We need good shoes for our feet because our feet carry more than 25 percent of our body’s collected bone mass.  Misaligned bones in the feet can pose a number of problems and throw off your knees, hips and low back.  These issues can lead to tension in your neck, shoulders and a variety of other issues. This article was very informative and advised of the numerous physical reasons why we need proper footwear: http://www.ehow.com/about_6400512_importance-good-shoes.html

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So, How Do I Know What to Buy?

You first need to consider what you’re using the shoes for.  Are you running a marathon?  Do you plan to do a lot of walking? Does you exercise routine consist of a variety of activities?  Also consider how much mileage you plan to put on a pair of shoes and how often you’ll have to buy them.  One thing I can suggest from personal experience is never cheap-out on foot wear.  Your feet have to support your entire body all day.  Spend the money to buy a good quality pair.  Don’t just buy any pair because they’re on sale.  I would also suggest the same for your children.  It is so important for their little growing feet to have proper footwear.  Trust me, they’ll thank you in the future 😉

Now, how often you buy a pair of shoes will depend on how often you use them and how you use them.  As well,  your weight, the force at which your feet hit the ground, whether you use them indoors or outdoors and the quality of your shoe will all determine how often you’ll be running to your nearest specialty running store for a new pair.  It’s also important to know whether your feet pronate or supinate.  Pronation occurs when your feet roll inward and your arch collapses which can lead to pain such as shin splints. Supination occurs when your feet roll outward which can cause your Iliotibial  Band (IT band) to become tight, creating a whole new set of problems such as knee pain!  If you’re not really sure what your feet do just grab a pair of any of your shoes and have a look at the wear pattern on the sole.  Even better,  when you plan on buying a pair of running shoes, go to a specialty running store.  The employees there are trained to help you select the best pair of shoes for you.

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For the Runner

There are a few different types of running shoes. There’s the trail running shoe which enables you to run in comfort through the woods or areas where the terrain is a little more rugged and it’s easier to lose your footing. Trail running shoes are lighter with extra grip for traction and absorbs shock better than a regular running shoe. Then there’s shoes built for the distance runner.  These shoes are generally lightweight and flexible because most of the weight has been removed from the midsole sacrificing stability for supination or motion control for pronation.   Stability and motion control add weight to the shoe which can make them a little more tiring to run in after a while which is why these features are found more in the shorter distance running shoe.  Shorter distance running shoes weigh a little more than the distance running shoe because they offer more support and cushioning.

Whatever your choice of shoe may be, remember to replace them every 300 to 500 miles. This article has some good info on this: http://www.runnersworld.com/running-shoes/running-shoe-faq?page=single

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For the Walker

Walking shoes are designed to address the motion that our feet make in a walking stride rather than a running stride. When we walk, the stance phase of our gait (the point at which the foot is in contact with the ground during the gait cycle) starts with the heel strike, then moves in to a mid stance and ends with the toe off. When looking for a walking shoe look for something that’s lightweight, breathable and  offers flexibility to enable your feet to roll correctly.  The shoe must fit properly.  Ensure that there is sufficient room in the toe box. There should be about half an inch between the big toe on the larger foot and the end of the shoe.  Shop for a pair of shoes at the end of the day when your feet are a little bigger and don’t forget to wear a pair of socks that you’ll most likely be wearing with these shoes.  Don’t be afraid to take a little walk around the store with both shoes on to test their comfort.  There’s also nothing wrong with wearing running shoes to walk in, but absolutely do not use walking shoes as running shoes.  The construction of walking shoes just will not support the high impact of running.

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For the Gym Rat

Cross-trainers work well for both forward and lateral movement which is why they are great for the gym.  They are designed so that you can transition from jogging on the treadmill to pumping weights to sweating it out in Zumba (or whatever type of cardio class you enjoy, lol).   Depending on the make, model, etc.  they can be used for the shorter distance runs. They offer comfort, cushioning, stability, support and are durable enough to endure a variety of sports and activities.  Due to the cushioning and amount of support in these shoes they are not good for the longer distance runs.  They’re just too heavy and don’t have the same amount of flexibility. Many cross training shoes will have a leather or leather/lightweight synthetic mesh combination upper to provide ankle support as well as a secure lacing system to  keep your feet stable during lateral movements.  The foot base of the shoe will be wider and will offer more weight-bearing stability.

When comes to purchasing the right pair of shoes with your hard-earned money it can be quite a challenging task because you wan to make sure you make the right choice.  Seek some help if you’re not sure and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Bring a friend or, as previously suggested, go to a specialty running store where they will be able to make an analysis based on a variety of factors including your posture, weight, gait pattern, activity level and your goals.

Happy shopping 🙂

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About fitchick007

I aspire to educate and motivate others towards acheiving a healthy body and lifestyle.

Posted on January 31, 2013, in Fit Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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