Today’s consumer has a lot of choices. A walk down the cold cereal aisle in the grocery store, for example, can make your head spin, with dozens of brands to choose from. Each brand in turn has its own variations – who knew there were so many ways to flavor little squares of wheat or tiny oat circles?
Manufacturers are trying to appeal to as many taste buds as possible. It turns out that it’s no different for the sneaker industry. Actually, we rarely hear the word “sneaker” anymore, choosing instead to use the terms “running shoe,” “court shoe,” or “cross-trainers.” Sneakers have become very sport-specific, and within each sport, there are dozens and dozens of shoe “flavors” to choose from.
At Montgomery Foot Care Specialists, we think this is a good thing. Even though choosing an athletic shoe takes some time and effort, it’s well worth your time to choose carefully. Why? Because, simply put, the right shoe for the right sport does the best job at protecting your feet.
What the right shoe does
All good athletic shoes will be designed to:
- support your arch
- cushion your heel
- absorb shock
- prevent fatigue
But the level of support and the location of maximum cushioning will vary depending on the type of sport a shoe’s designed for. For example, the quick side-to-side movements of tennis require a shoe with firm support on both the inside and outside, while the rocking motion of walking demands a shoe with more cushioning on the bottom.
Consult a qualified retailer
Our podiatrists, Heidi M. Christie, DPM and Chanda L. Day-Houts, DPM, recommend that you discuss your needs first with a trained salesperson at a specialty shoe store. Tell them the following:
- what sport you play
- any problems you have with your feet
- if you wear orthotic inserts
A salesperson at a specialty shoe store can not only provide the proper measurement, but will most likely analyze your gait as well. They can examine what’s happening to your foot as you walk and get a head start on choosing the best shoes for you to try on.