Exercise Shoes Tips

Exercise shoes can trip you up when it comes to buying a pair suited for your feet. Avoid the pitfalls (and blisters), use these tips to shop for the best exercise footwear for you.

I've got it badly wrong in the past. Lights, mirrors, great displays, pushy sales people and I was straight to the till.

Big mistake. It's not all about looks when buying footwear for exercise.

The right footwear will help prevent injuries and stimulate correct technique. Both essentially, go hand-in-hand. Many overuse injuries start from poor technique when running or walking.

Your feet have specific needs. The key is buying according to those needs. When you next go shopping for exercise shoes, remember to take these tips with you.

Buying Tips

1) Socks. Wear the socks that you usually wear for exercise, or the thickest socks you have.

2) Insoles. Take any insoles or orthotics that you have been prescribed. Put them in the exercise footwear when you try them on.

3) Timing. Head to the shops late in the day. Your feet swell towards the evening, you'll be buying for your maximum foot size.

4) Comfort. Your ideal exercise shoes should feel comfortable instantly. Run away from anyone who tells you they need "wearing in".

5) Test run. Test the shoes by walking, running, jumping and lunging in them. If the shop doesn't have enough space, ask to go outside and test them.

6) Fitted heels. Your heels should fit closely, without any slipping. Check for any rough edges that may rub against the top or sides of your feet.

7) Toe space. Push your thumb down on the toe area. There should be space for a thumb width between the shoe's end and your big toe.

8) Cost. A high price doesn't necessarily mean great quality. Shoes that are endorsed by sports people, have an added price because of their name. Consider how often you'll be using your exercise shoes. Look to extend your budget if you know you'll use them more than 3 times a week.

9) After you buy. When you get back to the comfort of your own home, try them on indoors first. Just to confirm the test run in the shop wasn't a one-off. It's your last chance to check the comfort without getting them dirty, so you can still return them if need be.

10) When to hit the shops again ? The guidelines say after 400 miles of use. Use your judgement. If the padding (e.g. gel or air) has gone, the sole is worn or the comfort level has disappeared, it's time to shop for a new pair.

Remember..

Exercise shoes affect your whole body. From your ankles, shins and knees to your back and hips. Great footwear will go a long way to keeping you free from injury.

Be sure to choose the specific shoes tailored for your sport. It sounds obvious, but just under 2/3 of people playing sport in the UK, wear the wrong shoes for their sport (according to The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists).

So if you play a sport regularly, make sure you have the correct shoes. Running shoes for running, football boots for football, basketball shoes for basketball and so on.

It's all about comfort and fit. Keep your feet happy by treating them to your perfect pair of exercise shoes.

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