Choosing the right athletic shoe

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May 01, 2012

Choosing and wearing the right athletic shoe is a vital part of maintaining your weight and a healthy lifestyle. However, research has shown that most persons do not exercise at all or not consistently if they have foot pain. Wearing the correct athletic shoes when engaging in your physical activities can go a long way to encourage and promote regular exercise. Not wearing the correct shoes is like trying to perform a specialized skill or activity without having the right tools.
Several factors influence the type of athletic shoes you purchase and wear including the sport you play, foot type and body weight. Body weight must be considered when purchasing a shoe. Increased body weight places more demands upon the feet and shoes and also contributes to the shoes wearing out earlier.
You can find the athletic shoe to fit well and give you the needed support during your physical activity or sport. Here are some reminders to consider when purchasing your athletic shoes.
Know your foot type
Your foot type should play an important role in selecting the correct pair of athletic shoes and can go a long way to preventing many foot injuries and reducing the risk of accelerating and aggravating foot deformities. Feet come in different shapes and sizes and they must be considered when buying your athletic shoes.
For the most part, there are three main foot types -- the low-arched foot, the medium and high-arched foot. Shoes should be selected based on the foot type. Based on the foot type, the foot becomes less flexible and the shoes become more rigid to better accommodate the foot.
Choose the shoe style and type based on your foot type.

The low-arched, pronated foot should wear motion control shoes, while the medium-arched foot should wear stability type shoes with a slight curve in the middle part of the shoe and the high-arched foot should wear a neutral cushioning type shoes. Whatever shoe you purchase must be supportive and fit properly.

Buy a sport-specific shoe
The sport or activity you are planning to engage is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing shoes. It is best to purchase sport specific shoes. If you are going to walk or play soccer for example, purchase walking sneakers or soccer cleats. The sport specific shoes are specially designed for the movements usually conducted in that sport and will support your feet better while performing it.
Purchasing a shoe designed for the exact sporting /physical activity you will be participating in not only improves your performance but also protects your feet from foot and ankle injuries. Of course, if you are playing basket ball or soccer then buy the shoes for that sport.

Don't make
shoes multi-task
All shoes are not suitable for all activities.
Walking shoes tend to be stiffer while running shoes are more flexible, with extra cushioning to handle the greater impact on the foot anticipated when running. If you plan to do both activities, choose a shoe for each sport or choose a cross-trainer style shoe for general or multiple activities.

Measure your feet before purchasing athletic shoes
When buying athletic shoes, try on the shoes and walk about in the store to be sure it is a perfect fit. Remember, to make sure there is at least a thumb width of space between the longest toe and the end of the shoes.

Don't forget the socks
Without the right sock, even the best athletic shoe won't fit or function properly. Fit your shoes with the sock or type of sock you plan to wear during the sport to ensure a proper fit. The right athletic sock should be made of a natural and synthetic blend to help wisk away moisture and not have any large seams that can cause blisters or irritation.
Finally, remember, the old adage, you get what you pay for. The reality is that a good quality shoe that fits well and provides the support your feet need to continue with your sport or physical activities will cost some money. It is estimated at anywhere from $80 to $200 or even more, based on the sport, the type of shoes needed and your foot type. Don't only look for a specific brand of shoes, rely more on the fit when you try on the shoes.
These shoes don't last forever and should be changed on a regular basis. Don't wait for the shoes to wear out or be torn to replace them. The older the shoe, the more likely it has lost its built-in support and can no longer support your feet. For example, it is recommended that running shoes last anywhere from 200 to 400 miles. So if you run a whole lot per week, your shoe will wear out faster than someone who doesn't run as many miles as you. Think of your sneakers like the tires on your car, so keep a close eye on them. When the outsole (bottom) of a shoe starts to wear down, it will get smooth and start looking like the bald tire on a car. When this happens it's time to replace your shoes. You can also twist the shoe and if it twists from side to side really easily, the shoes are worn and do not offer enough support and must be replaced. Of course, if the shoe is worn, torn or changed shape to fit your feet, they need to be changed. Foot pain can also be an indication that it is time to change your shoes. Remember, foot pain is not normal. Stop, change your shoes and if the pain persists see a podiatrist for a complete check up.

oFor more information email me at foothealth242@gmail.com or visit www.foothealth.org or apma.org. To see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates on Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820.

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News date : 05/01/2012    Category : Health, Nassau Guardian Stories

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