Buying a shoe for exercise can be difficult. Walking into a sports store is like walking into a library of shoes; where exactly do you start!? Here, we can help guide you through the process of buying your next shoe, offering you handy information about the ‘dos and don’ts’ of the sport shoe retail; some of which you may never have considered!
A Podiatrist’s Guidelines:
1. As a podiatrist, we need to consider critical factors which influence the way a shoe will fit and perform which often gets missed during the ‘retail stage’. A person’s weight, height, gender, biomechanics, exercise ability (elite or weekend-warrior), exercise terrain and personal ‘goals’ are all equally important to gather an overall picture of the footwear of what that person is best suited to…
2. Changing exercise footwear for different activities is important for injury prevention. For example:
– A trail shoe for running off-road, uneven surfaces.
– A durable court shoe for netball or tennis.
– A high-mileage running shoe for running over long distances.
– A lightweight running shoe (or minimalist shoe) for faster, shorter workouts.
Saying this, if you are a regular runner or are involved in multiple sports, aim to have at least two pairs of shoes (again, appropriate to the activity).
NOTE: Minimalist footwear has been popular, but is a fading area of retail due to unproven benefits. It is best to seek Podiatry advice before purchasing and running in these shoes. They, at times, can result in “more-harm-than-good”, if poorly prescribed.
3. Use technical retail assistance when in doubt. Some stores in South Australia, have excellent relationships with Podiatrists and other allied health and will work in conjunction with the expert advice to find the best shoe fit for you. They also offer FREE foot analysis/screening which is a great personalized service for footwear fitting.
4. There is no one brand better than the other! All sports brand and shoe wear brands offer different features, catering for different foot types. Don’t rely on one brand either, as the shoe market is forever changing and the same shoe from one year to the next may have significant changes to it!
Finally, seek information from a range of people; podiatrists, coaches, physios, elite runners; but don’t draw conclusions from one person only! They may have entirely different needs, and a different foot compared to you!