Whether the athletic shoes you are shopping for are to be used for running, tennis, baseball, basketball, cross-training or any other of the many sports or activities, there are some common guidelines you should follow to keep your feet happy. Purchasing the incorrect athletic shoe can lead to foot pain, shin splints, and can prevent you from enjoying your chosen sport or activity.
One thing that is not often considered is that foot size changes. It changes as we age and, believe it or not, daily. Because this is not often understood, many people do not obtain the best fitting shoe. Feet tend to be a bit smaller earlier in the day. The more foot activity you have during the day, the more your feet will swell. You should take this into account when purchasing athletic shoes if you looking are to get the best fit. It is recommended to shop late in the day or in the early evening to ensure you find shoes that fit your feet at their largest size.
Although waiting until late in the day to a make decision can and often does increase foot comfort, it is more important for you to measure your feet before each purchase of new athletic shoes since, as mentioned, your foot size can change over the years.
Use the size on the box as a starting point for selecting the correct athletic shoes, but don't rely solely on manufacturer's size. Sizes are by no means consistent from one brand to another. It should go without saying that, as with any style of shoe, athletic shoes should be more than just tried on. To select size accurately, beyond trying the shoes on, walk and even run briefly in them. Contrary to popular belief, a well fitting shoe should immediately be comfortable and not need to be broken in.
Another major determining factor in choosing the correct athletic shoes is having a good understanding of your foot type. A commonly known test to identify your type of foot is called the “wet test". It is conducted by wetting the bottoms of your feet and stepping on a brown paper bag or similar object to create a footprint. If your footprint shows your entire foot, your arches are low or you are completely flat footed. However, if your footprint shows only your forefoot and heel with little to no imprint otherwise, you have high arches. People with flat feet tend to overpronate, which means they roll their feet inwards when walking or running leaving them more prone to injury. For those with high arches, underpronation, or rolling of the feet outwards is common. After determining your foot type, you can make a more informed decision to choose the athletic shoes that will provide you with the proper support. Having the proper support will help to minimize injury risks as well prevent arch pain and other foot discomfort.
The next time you are in the market for athletic shoes use some of these basic guidelines, your feet will be happy you did!