Feet are prone to more injury than any other part of the body according to the American Podiatric Medial Association (www.apma.org). One good way to limit these injuries is to wear properly fit shoes. I am often asked, "What is a good shoe?" This is an impossible question to answer. The question really is, "What is a good shoe for my particular foot for the particular activity I plan on doing." Now that is a much easier question to answer. Specific sports require different things of your feet. Running is all about impact, the constant pounding in a vertical direction. Tennis is more about quick stops and starts and lateral movements. Bottom-line, different activities require different shoes.
Here are some simple, common sense tips to help you choose a "good" shoe.
Have your feet measured while you’re standing.
Always try on both shoes, and walk around the store.
Always buy for the larger foot; feet are seldom precisely the same size.
Don’t buy shoes that need a “break-in” period; shoes should be comfortable immediately.
Don’t rely on the size of your last pair of shoes. Your feet do get larger, and lasts (shoemakers’ sizing molds) also vary.
Shop for shoes later in the day; feet tend to swell during the day, and it’s best to be fitted while they are in that state.
Be sure that shoes fit well—front, back, and sides—to distribute weight. It sounds elementary, but be sure the widest part of your foot corresponds to the widest part of the shoe.
Buy shoes that don’t pinch your toes, either at the tips, or across the toe box.
Try on shoes while you’re wearing the same type of socks or stockings you expect to wear with the shoes.
If you wear prescription orthotics—biomechanical inserts prescribed by a podiatric physician—you should take them along to shoe fittings.
My best advice if you are planning to start a new exercise program is to invest in a new pair of shoes. Go to a store that specializes in athletic shoes. I recommend a store like Fleet Feet (www.fleetfeetsports.com) if they are in your area. The knowledgeable staff do a very good job with fitting and they can guide you to a sport specific shoe.
Remember, you would not start a new sports activity without the right equipment and shoes are big part of that.
Committed to your health,
Dr. Craig Conti
Sarasota Foot Care Center