Whether or not gearing up to get your “fitness on” involves dusting off an old pair of running shoes that haven’t seen your feet since last new years or heading to the store to pick up a new pair, having the proper footwear is an important start to your fitness regiment.
Investing in a quality shoe can help reduce injuries by lessening the impact of your step and cushioning the arches of your feet. Also, the right running shoe can make your workout a more pleasant and comfortable experience allowing you to stick to your resolutions just a bit longer.
Here’s what you should look for when choosing a new shoe.
Know your foot
Determine your foot's shape by performing a "wet test"--- wet your foot, step on a piece of brown paper and trace your footprint. Or just look at where your last pair of shoes shows the most wear.
If your footprint shows the entire sole of your foot with little to no curve on the inside or if your shoes show the most wear on the inside edge, it means you've got low arches or flat feet and tend toward overpronation (your feet roll inward). Overpronation can create extra wear on the outside heel and inside forefoot. You'll want a shoe with a motion-control feature and maximum support.
If the footprint shows only a portion of your forefoot and heel with a narrow connection between the two or if your shoes wear out mostly on the outside edge, you have high arches and tend to underpronate (also called supinate), meaning your feet roll outward. Underpronation causes wear on the outer edge of the heel and the little toe. Look for a cushioned shoe with a soft midsole.
You have a neutral arch if your footprint has a distinct curve along the inside and your shoes wear out uniformly. Look for a "stability" shoe, which has the right mix of cushioning and support.
Ensure a proper fit
Our feet do change as we age, so it’s important to re-measure your feet at least twice a year. Also our feet swell over the course of the day, they expand as we walk or run. I would recommend buying shoes at the end of the day. Aim for a thumbnail's length of extra space in the toe box.
Having to “break in” shoes is a myth. Shoes should feel comfortable as soon as you put them on. If they’re uncomfortable don’t buy them. Lastly, if you wear orthotics make sure to bring them with you as you shop for new shoes. And lastly, forget the logo! Whatever's on the side of your shoe has nothing to do with finding the best shoes for you.