Choosing the wrong trainers can be painful!
You could end up lying on the sofa nursing shin splints, serious back, knee and hip pain or blisters… instead of enjoying your chosen activity. According to one expert at The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, up to 65% of sports people in the UK choose the wrong shoe.
There are big differences in the way various sports shoes support your feet. This means that there isn’t a ‘one shoe for all sports’ solution. Playing football or tennis, for example, will need a different trainer to when you’re jogging.
We have 14 Top Tips for choosing training shoes – here are 8-14.
8. Bring your own socks
Bring the socks you wear while running or walking with you. If you wear orthotics, bring those, too. Shoes should fit with the orthotic inside.
9. Give yourself time to try on lots of shoes
When you go athletic shoe shopping, try on almost every pair you can find in your budget, size, and activity. If your current shoes are worn out, just about any pair is going to feel good, but when you actively compare several different models you can identify the most comfortable option. You also might be surprised to learn that the most expensive shoe actually may not be the best-feeling, or the brand you’ve been wearing forever is no longer a good fit.
10. Don’t believe in breaking in
The shoes should be comfortable as soon as you try them on. There is no break-in period. Walk / run / move around the shop a bit to make sure they feel good in action and are comfortable.
11. Use your thumb!
Fit is everything. Too tight and you’ll end up with black toenails and calluses; too loose and your feet will slip inside the shoes, causing blisters.
There should be about 8-10mm between the front of your big toe and the end of the shoe – about a thumb’s width. The heel should fit relatively tightly; your heel should not slip out when you walk or run.
The upper part of the shoe that goes over the top of your foot should be snug and secure, and not too tight anywhere. When the shoe is on your foot, you should be able to freely wiggle all of your toes.
Clever lacing techniques can aid a perfect fit, if you have particularly wide or narrow feet.
12. Don’t over- or underpay / set your budget
Good-quality running and walking shoes are fairly expensive – and usually worth it. A £15 shoe will not be as good as an £80 shoe, say experts. You will, however, pay a premium for super-fashionable styles or those associated with a celebrity – and they won’t be any better for your feet.
Set your budget before you go shopping. If you know your upper limit is £80, don’t even try on shoes that cost more than that. The trick here is to be reasonable with your budget. When it comes to athletic shoes, to some extent, you get what you pay for.
13. Check the Return Policy
Some specialty retailers are incredibly accommodating, giving customers up to 30 days to return shoes, even if they’ve been worn. If the store you’re visiting doesn’t offer this type of return policy, you might want to make a note of the shoe’s model number, and head to a different retailer. It would be terrible to return home to find that your new shoes hurt or don’t offer the necessary support, without any option to return them.
14. Time to change
One of the worst things you can do to your body is continue wearing a pair of athletic shoes well past its prime. Shoes are designed to provide support for your feet and ankles, but as the interior cushioning breaks down, your entire body suffers the effects. You should change your shoes:
- After roughly 300 to 500 miles of running or walking.
- After roughly 45 to 60 hours of basketball, aerobic dance, tennis, or similar sports.
- When there’s any noticeable wear to the mid-sole – the shoes look uneven when they’re placed on a flat surface.
- Even if shoes haven’t been worn regularly, replace them after a year – this is because they may experience environmental wear even if they aren’t actually used. For instance, a shoe left outside or in a sunny spot may eventually start breaking down.
If you’re very active, you may have to replace your shoes every couple of months. This can be expensive, but if it saves you the cost of medical care down the line, it’s worth it both financially and physically.