It’s the New Year and you’re ready to start working toward that New Year’s resolution of exercising more. However, you’ve noticed that your old pair of athletic shoes has seen better days. Sure, they are the same great shoes you had two years ago, but common sense tells you that even if you love them they probably need to be retired.
So you now face the daunting task of finding another pair of shoes that will offer the same great fit. The shoe industry offers hundreds of different styles and brands to choose from and figuring out which one is right for you can be overwhelming and downright intimidating. Should you splurge on the latest and greatest or go for the toned-down economy model?
A good rule of thumb is pay attention to comfort. The fanciest shoe with the latest technology won’t matter at all if the shoe is painful to wear.
Here are five guidelines to help you pick the right shoe:
- Look for sturdy shoes that fit your feet well in length and in width. Going to a store with professionals trained to measure your feet to find the right size can be very helpful. If you can see the outline of your toes on the top or sides of the shoes, try on a larger size.
- Try on shoes at the end of the day; feet can swell and will be at their largest at this time.
- Try on shoes with the socks you plan to wear during the activity you will participate in.
- Make sure you put both shoes on. People will often have one foot that is larger than the other. You want enough wiggle room at the end of the shoe, approximately the width of your thumb, to avoid pinching your toes.
- Walk or jog a few steps. Make sure your foot does not slip at the heel. The shoes should feel comfortable right away. Don’t buy the shoe and hope that you can “break it in.”
Another helpful hint is to know how the joints and muscles in your feet are moving. Do your feet roll in too much with every step or are your feet stiffer? This can influence what kind of shoe you buy as well. Physical therapists are experts on assessing feet and helping you determine your individual needs when it comes to footwear.
Whether you are an athlete or just looking to start a walking program, having the correct shoes to propel you into the activity you love is priceless.