Whether it’s running, jogging, soccer, or football, any active sport is going to place some type of strain and pressure on feet and ankles. While you can’t avoid this, you can choose athletic shoes that are designed to absorb this extra stress as much as possible and provide sufficient support. Consider the following tips as you select footwear for the sports you participate in on a regular basis.
Don’t Opt for Multipurpose Athletic Shoes
Shoes for running or jogging need to be more flexible to allow for repetitive foot movements, while shoes for football often have a stiffer sole. If you play sports that involve different foot movements, purchase separate shoes for each activity.
Go By the Shape of Your Feet
Not all feet are identical in size and shape. Most of the top brands offer shoes designed for all of the common foot types. If you’re not sure what type of foot you have, do a simple wet test where you wet your foot and step on a brown paper bag to see your foot imprint; or look at where your current shoes have the most wear to see where you need the most support.
Measure Your Feet to Ensure You’re Getting the Right Size
Even if you’re past your growing years, feet can change shape slightly during your adult years. Some athletic shoes may have extra padding and other features that may narrow the shoe enough so that the next size up is actually a better fit for you. If you are between sizes, always round up when measuring your feet before selecting an athletic shoe.
Try On Shoes with What You Normally Wear Underneath
If you usually wear orthotics for added support or to correct arch issues and other abnormalities, leave those devices in place when trying on new athletic shoes. Also wear the same type of socks you usually wear when participating in whatever sport you will be playing while wearing your shoes.
Leave Some Room Around Your Toes
Athletic shoes should not be excessively snug. Shoes that press too close to feet may cause blistering from friction. The general rule is to leave about a thumb’s length (3/8 to 1/2 inch) of space above the big toe. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests opting for shoes that allow for wiggle room with all toes.
There should not be a “breaking in” period with athletic shoes. Your selected footwear should be supportive and comfortable from day one. If your shoes become worn, they’re not going to provide the same level of support as they did when you first got them. Replace any shoes that are visibly worn or damaged. Even if your shoes are in perfect condition, see a foot doctor if you experience any persistent or worsening foot or ankle pain.