Choosing your workout shoes is almost as important as choosing your workout. Wearing athletic shoes that aren’t a good match for your feet or activity can cause injuries that sideline you for weeks. So how to pick new kicks? These six tips can help you select the best workout shoes.
Know Your Feet
Feet are unique, so you’ll want to know yours well before investing in athletic shoes. Are your feet narrow? Wide? Are your arches high or low? If you aren’t sure, ask a shoe specialist or take a close look at your old shoes to see where they are worn.
Match Shoes to Activities
You don’t wear beach shoes to the office, so don’t make athletic shoes multitask either. The best workout shoes are built for a particular activity. The best cycling shoes won’t be the best gym shoes. Running shoes won’t cut it for a yoga class. For example, running shoes are built for heel-to-toe movements and don’t have lateral stability. They won’t work for basketball or tennis, sports where you move your feet side to side. If you are cross-training, you’ll need good cross-training shoes.
Buy Comfortable Shoes
Don’t swallow the adage that shoes need breaking in. Your workout shoes should fit comfortably the first time you put them on. If they pinch, try a different pair. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) says you should be able to wiggle all toes in new shoes, with at least a half-inch between the big toe and the front of the shoe.
Shop at a Specialty Store
If you want the best workout shoes, find a store that specializes in your exercise activity of choice. Runners should head to a running shop, cyclists to a store catering to bike riders.
How to Try on Shoes
You may not think there is a science to trying on athletic shoes, but experts at the AAOS recommend trying on shoes later in the day. According to Harvard Medical School, your feet naturally enlarge during the day as you use them, so shoes you buy in the morning will probably feel small or tight in the evening. (Overnight, your feet return to their natural size while you sleep.) Avoid shopping for shoes in the morning in favor of shopping later in the day for a shoe that will be comfortable all day long. And don’t forget to bring your socks so you can try on both shoes by walking around the store on a variety of surfaces.
Pay a Fair Price
You aren’t going to find quality athletic shoes for peanuts. You should expect to pay a solid price for high-caliber workout footwear. Why? Because good-quality footwear won’t wear out quickly and will hold up better when they’re designed for a specific activity. You can save by avoiding brands that rely on celebrity names instead of added quality.