Wednesday, July 20, 2011

13 Tips for Selecting the Best Fitting Athletic Shoe

Protect Your Feet and Avoid Podiatry Problems with Shoes that Fit Correctly.

Your foot-ankle area is truly an architectural wonder. While composing 2-4% of the body’s total skin surface, the sole of the foot is capable of absorbing up to 7 times normal body weight with each foot plant.

There are a few general guidelines to be remembered when shopping for activity shoes:

  1. Never buy new shoes early in the day; shop in late afternoon or early evening when feet have swollen to their greatest width otherwise what felt good in the morning may be too tight in the evening.
  2. Bring the socks that you intend to wear with your activity shoes when you go shopping.
  3. If you have an old pair of activity shoes, bring them along with you to the store. Put on one old and one new shoe as you walk, hop, jump around the store. Compare the feel and then switch again onto your other foot.

  4. Set the shoe on a flat surface and look at it from the back. Make certain the heel counter sits perpendicular to the surface without leaning in or out.

  5. Take your thumb and attempt to flatten the heel counter into the shoe; heel counters should be firm.

  6. Check for double stitching especially around the laces and toe box.

  7. Make certain that the “break” in the top of the shoe is directly above the ball of your foot to ensure that the shoe bends where the foot bends.

  8. Leather uppers wear longer but are hotter than nylon mesh. Mesh will “breath” to help keep the foot cool and dry, but may be harder to keep clean.

  9. Match the shoe to the activity.

  10. Remember that a snug shoe might stretch in width, but a short shoe will not stretch in length.

  11. Match the toe box width to the shape of your toes. Some people find a wide toe box to be more comfortable with no pinching, squeezing and eventual blister formation.

  12. Break shoes in gradually. Alternate during the activity period between old and new for a while until the new feels as comfortable as the old.

  13. If you have a history of bunions, calluses, blister, arch strains, plantar fasciitis, it may be worth a podiatrist visit to get an explanation and/or manufacturer model number for the best shoe for you.

Many problems can be controlled or eliminated with prudent first aid and preventative measures. Consider using products such as Spenco® 2nd Skin if your new shoes rub your toes, Cramer® Blister Foam if your new shoes are rubbing the back of your heel, Longitudinal Arch Pads if you have a high arch and the shoes just don’t seem to support your arch, or Plantar Fascia Straps to help combat plantar fasciitis.

View all podiatry products available from Sports Health >>

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