Before you start pounding the pavement, spare a thought for your feet. Are you planning on lacing them into well‐worn sneakers? This may be a fast track to injury. Shoes play a vital role in protecting your feet from external dangers. But even if your shoes still feel comfortable, and look relatively new, they may not provide enough support or shock absorption. The shape of your feet and the way you move determines which shoe is right for you.
Not only will picking the right shoes prevent discomfort and injury, it may also encourage you to maintain an active lifestyle. Here’s how to find the right fit.
- It’s advisable to buy you sports shoes from a reputable store with well‐trained staff. That way you’re more likely to end up with the right shoe for you.
- Look for a shoe that matches the natural bend of the foot. This means a shoe should bend slightly at the ball of the foot. However, if a brand new shoe flexes too much this is not a good thing as it may become soft and supportive too quickly.
- To ensure shoes are the right length for your feet allow a thumb‐nail width from the end of your longest toe (this isn’t always your big toe) to the end of the shoe. Your toes should never touch the end of the shoe, and always stand when measuring as your feet will spread when you have your full weight on them.
- Upgrade you joggers after approximately 800km of wear, or 6 months to a year, as the support and cushioning will have begun to wear, putting you at an increased risk of injury.
- Shop in the afternoon, as your feet tend to swell during the day, and can be up to a half size bigger.
- Walking shoes are specifically designed to fit your foot mechanics when you walk, which is very different from how you run. Runners tend to land flat‐footed, whereas walkers land on their heels and roll through the foot before pushing off from the toes. Because of this, you need to look for a walking shoe that’s flexible through the ball of the foot and provides stability and cushioning in the heel and the ball of the foot. Generally, you can walk in a running shoe but you shouldn’t run in a walking shoe.
- Make sure the shoes are comfortable before you leave the shop. Your foot shouldn’t have to conform to the shoe’s shape, nor should you have to ‘break in’ a pair of shoes for them to fit properly and comfortably.