Choosing The Right Sports Shoes For You

Choosing The Right Sports Shoes For You
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“Your body holds deep wisdom. Trust in it. Learn from it. Nourish it. Watch your life transform and be healthy.” ~Bella Bleue 

Your health is your wealth, and your feet are your primary mobility machines. For most persons, an active lifestyle is one that is part of our daily and weekly routines. The natural tendency when getting ready for the gym, the great outdoors, and even our own backyards is for us to put on our sports attire, and then put on the associated sports shoes. Since your feet carry the weight of your body, it is important to ensure that they are well protected as you carry out your sporting activity. Statistically, the majority of ankle related injuries are due to physical activity, so let’s get you organised with respect to how best you can protect your precious feet. 

It is very important to choose the right pair of sporting shoes. Depending on your sport, the type of shoe that you invest in will vary. Bear in mind that with the differences in the design of sports shoes, you can induce injury if you wear the wrong shoes. For instance, you wouldn’t want to play basketball in football boots. One requires more stiffness since you’ll be using your feet to impact a ball, while the other will require more cushion, because your vertical motion and consistent jumping require you to ensure that the feet are adequately protected from the impact of the ground during a jump. Based on how the ankle joints are designed, excessive pressure will wear away the cartilage, and cause conditions such as arthritis. With our focus on prevention rather than cure, let’s jump into the criteria. 

Types of Sports Shoes 

While by no means exhaustive, the following are the main categories of sports shoes: 

  1. Running Shoes: With jogging increasingly on the rise, it is important for persons to ensure that they purchase the right shoes. Your sporting goods store will facilitate the appropriate fitting, if requested. Don’t guess in this instance, the staff are trained to assist you. 
  2. Football Boots: Football is a sport that relies on the lower body significantly. Football boots are designed to be tough, but utilised on a soft surface such as grass. If worn on a hard surface, the odds of stressing the feet are higher as the impacts will shock the feet during the match. Careful fitting is necessary, as foot conditions such as corns and calluses, as well as ingrown toenails can develop if the boots are too tight. 
  3. Tennis and Squash Shoes: These shoes require much more cushion, since the athlete will be running and jumping a lot. The ankles need support, based on the motions that a tennis player undergoes. 
  4. Trainers: Owned by the majority of persons, for physical activity the best options will be the ones that offer cushions for the feet. With activities such as jumping jacks, or rock climbing, the feet must be protected.

Now that the categories have been outlined, let us look at the five main criteria to look for when choosing shoes for your sport. When you have a foot problem, you usually consult with your foot and ankle specialist. Likewise, when you’re choosing your shoes, the assistants in all sporting goods stores are trained in gait analysis and will facilitate sizing and shoe choice. You need to arm yourself with information in order to make the right decisions. 

  1. Ensure that you understand your feet. Your orthopaedic surgeon can give you an assessment, and allow you to understand the various dimensions of your feet. If you have special conditions such as flat feet, you’ll be able to add features to your shoes that will customise them for your personal design. A “wet-test” which involves you tracing your feet, will determine what size shoes are best fitted for you. Simply wet your feet, after you’ve been active for a few hours, and place them on a brown paper large enough for your feet. Go ahead and stamp your feet. Based on the outline you can determine factors such as: 

*Foot Curvature

*Your Arches 

*Critical Ratios (length to width)

2) Ensure that the shoes fit on the spot 

Unlike leather shoes, which your feet will have a chance to warm to and adapt to, sports shoes are designed to work on the feet right away. If you take the time to ensure that they are adapted to the feet, then it might be too late, and shoes may need to be replaced. 

3) Ensure adequate space for movement of your feet

Bearing in mind that you’ll be wearing socks with your running shoes, you need to ensure that there is adequate space (⅜-½ inches) between the front of your big toe, and the end of your shoe. Ensure that toes can wiggle with and without socks. 

4) Invest in Quality 

An investment in your health will always be worth more than the price that you pay for the shoes. Choose quality over price, and you’ll reap the benefits in comfort. Additionally, the higher the quality, the longer that the shoes will likely last. 

5) Replace at the appropriate point in time

Just like the tires on your car, your shoes will eventually begin to wear at the sole. Since factors such as absorption of shock will be critical to your ankle health, it will be important to ensure that the shoes are providing adequate protection. Orthopaedic surgeons have recommended replacing your sports shoes after 350-400 miles. Unless you have a device that can measure the miles on your sports shoes, just check the soles, and once you see signs of wear and tear, you’ll know when it’s time to replace them. 

For further details on your shoe purchases, ensure that you speak to your orthopaedic surgeon. A consultation will ensure that you get off on the right footing! No pun intended!

Reference Articles 


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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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