Choosing the Right Shoes for Running or Walking

Dr, Donna Restivo

Posted on April 05 2016

To prevent accidents or injuries, you want to make sure you're wearing the right type of shoes. If you're running or walking as a part of your exercise program, your feet will need the proper support to absorb the shock and bounce as your body moves. When you run or walk, your feet bear the brunt of your body weight as you move. If you are not wearing the proper shoe type or size, your feet can slip inside the shoe or cause you to trip and fall.

Proper Fit

When choosing the right shoe for your particular activity, the first thing to consider is proper fit. When your foot is inside the shoe, your foot should not be able to slide back and forth or from side to side. Your foot should fit comfortably on the insole as it molds to the bottom and sides of your foot. Your toes naturally move as you walk. Once your foot is in the shoe, your toes should have enough room to move comfortably as you walk or run. This allows your foot to move as it should and prevents cramping and calluses from forming.

Proper Arch

Running, walking and jogging all place the entire weight of the body on the feet with each step that is taken. While the weight falls mainly on the balls of the feet, the arch of the foot is what flexes and stretches to help propel the body forward. When you choose a shoe for exercising, whether it be for walking, running, or another form of exercise, you must find one that offers support for the arch of your foot. If you have fallen arches, proper support is a must so that the bones, tendons and ligaments in your feet are not injured or strained in any way as you exercise.

Every person is different when it comes to the arches of their feet. Some have high arches, while others may have very low arches. It can be difficult to find a shoe with the exact arch you need. If you have an unusual arch or it is hard for you to find shoes that properly fit your feet, you have to purchase insoles that are custom-molded to your feet. These specially made soles are usually made of a firm foam that is molded to the exact contours of your feet. Custom made insoles provide maximum comfort and support and can be used in most types of shoes.

Firm Support and Ventilation

Once you have the right size shoe that fits your foot and supports your arch, the next thing you need is firm support. This can't be bought because you have to learn it. While your foot fits snugly into the shoe, the additional support you need comes from the socks you wear and how you tie your shoe across the top of your foot. Cotton socks that won't bunch or put stress on the skin are ideal for exercising of any kind. They will conform to the surface of your foot and the contours of the inside of your shoe providing you with firm support without slipping or moving while you are exercising. Cotton also breathes. Choosing a shoe that allows your foot to “breathe” keeps your feet from sweating profusely and keeps them cool and comfortable.

The next step is learning to tie your shoes so that the top portion of the shoe fits snugly without cutting off circulation to your feet or binding the skin. Tying your shoes too tightly can cause a variety of problems. It can cut off the blood supply to your feet causing them to ache, and then cramp. Your shoes should be snug, but not tight or restrictive. If they are too loose, your feet may slip in and out of the shoe while you run causing blisters and calluses. You will have to experiment to find the proper pressure that offers you the maximum comfort while keeping the shoe firmly on your foot.

The Right Shoes Make All the Difference

The right shoes are a must if you plan on exercising in any way. Without the proper footwear, you run the risk of various types of injuries that can lead to chronic discomfort and pain. There are many brand names of exercise footwear that are both affordable and versatile, providing you with all of the comfort and safety you need while you are exercising.


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