What matters most when selecting sporting shoes, say experts

July 14, 2022

When I was a kid, everyone had a single pair of gym shoes that they used for all sports and activities. That era has long since passed. In the US, the athletic footwear market is worth $16 billion at the moment. The number is anticipated to increase significantly over the following few years as Americans purchase many pairs of athletic shoes made for various activities. But is having a closet full of sneakers required, or is this all just marketing speak?

Athletic shoes may also improve your athletic performance because they are made to offer the right amount of stability and support for a certain activity, like running. A good running shoe will be light and have a flexible outsole to keep the foot moving while absorbing the shock of the foot impacting the ground because running requires repetitive forward motion.

In contrast, hiking shoes have deeper tread patterns than running shoes to increase traction on rough and natural surfaces. They also frequently have higher uppers to help stabilize the ankle. Similar to other court shoes, volleyball shoes offer support for all-around movement as well as cushioning for frequent jumping.

Finding the right shoe

Running, basketball, volleyball, hiking, and tennis are just a few of the sports for which it's imperative to have a sport-specific shoe, particularly if you're a more serious athlete looking to maximize your performance. But with so many brands on the market, how do you know which is the best shoe for you? Typically, it's the one that best accommodates your particular foot form. Unfortunately, the majority of us struggle to find the right fit. According to a 2018 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, between 63 and 72 percent of people wear improperly sized shoes, especially older people and those with diabetes. Inadequately fitting shoes have been linked to foot problems such as corns, calluses, and deformities, according to the evaluation of studies.

Determining the right fit for your feet is essential because athletic footwear can't serve its purpose if it doesn't fit comfortably. When your feet are a little puffy from exercise or at the end of the day, it's also crucial to shop. Be sure to try on both the right and left shoes while wearing the socks you usually wear for this sport. There should be at least half an inch (1.27 centimeters) between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe, and the heel counter should keep your heel from slipping. Additionally, the toe box should never feel restricted and allow for easy toe wriggling.

Whatever you do, don't buy a pair of shoes that aren't quite right and assume you can break them in over time. You can't. Once you've chosen the best shoes for your feet and gotten them home, keep an eye out for wear and tear indicators over time. However, occasionally shoes look and feel fine even after they are worn out. This is because using athletic shoes past their prime can also result in injuries. So using mileage and time is another approach to monitor them. Basketball shoes should be replaced after 45 to 50 hours of play while running and walking shoes should be changed after 300 to 500 miles (485 to 805 kilometers) of use.

According to the professionals at the American Council on Exercise, if you wear other sports shoes most days, aim to replace them every six months. However, if you only work out a few times each week, you might be able to maintain them for a full year. Lastly, avoid wearing your sports shoes out in public. The feet are our foundation, and improper use will only cause them to deteriorate more quickly. For action to continue to be a regular part of our lives, we must safeguard and assist them.

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