Residents of our Richardson, TX community who wish to remain active and stay in shape by participating in various sports have many opportunities. If you enjoy sports, working out, or running for exercise, it is important to be knowledgeable about athletic footwear. Choosing the right (or wrong) pair of shoes for your favorite physical activities can make a big difference in the health of your feet, so let’s take a closer look at this subject.
Types of Athletic Shoes
Anyone looking to buy a pair of athletic shoes has a wide range of options. There are clearly many different manufacturers and models, not to mention the various style choices. To simplify things for you, here are some general categories of athletic footwear:
- Running, training and walking shoes. No matter which of these activities you wish to pursue, you will need footwear offering good shock absorption, a certain degree of flexibility paired with stability in the heel counter area, and good traction. You should take your pronation pattern into consideration when picking out these shoes.
- Court sport shoes. Shoes for sports played on a court—basketball, volleyball, tennis—need to support the forward, backward, and lateral movements required. Due to the high-impact, footwear for court sports need to be constructed of durable materials and feature outsoles that provide exceptional traction.
- Field sport shoes. Typically, shoes for sports like soccer, baseball, and football are cleated or spiked. The spikes and cleats will vary based on your sport and the field conditions, but they are essential features for providing stability while moving.
- Specialty sport shoes. The footwear required for activities like cycling, golf, and aerobic dancing can vary extensively in nature, depending on what kinds of actions the sports entail. If you or one of your children is participating in these activities, be sure to find a store specializing in equipment for the sport.
Shoe Buying Tips
When shopping for your athletic footwear, there are several things to keep in mind:
- Go later in the afternoon or early evening. Feet tend to swell in size throughout the day, which means a pair that fits well in the morning may be too tight later on. Shopping later means footwear will fit correctly all day long.
- Wear (or bring along to the store) the socks and orthotic devices you will be wearing with your athletic shoes. Not all socks are uniform in thickness and this can create issues with how your shoes fit.
- Grab the heel and toe of one of the shoes and twist to see if it is excessively flexible. If it twists too easily, move on to the next model and repeat until you find a pair that offers ample stability.
- Try bending the front part of the shoe upwards. You want to see it bend in the toe box area, not in the midfoot or lacing areas.
- Stand to determine if the shoes fit correctly. Keep in mind, your feet spread out a bit when all of your bodyweight is on them. Trying shoes on while seated doesn’t provide a complete picture of how they actually fit when in use.
- Try wiggling your toes upwards and spreading them apart. If they don’t move easily, you need a pair with a larger toe box.
- Walk around a bit to see how the shoe feels and if it offers the cushioning and support your feet require. Take a couple of laps around the store and make sure they feel right to you.
This information shows how footwear can either help keep your feet safe or become a cause of problems with your foot health when you play sports. Of course, it is also important for you to check with your physician and our office to ensure you are healthy enough to participate in certain activities. We can help by evaluating your gait pattern and identifying any potential cause of concern or issuing a clean bill of health.
At Richardson Podiatry Associates, we want you to enjoy your favorite sports and stay safe while doing so. Give us a call at (972) 690-5374 for additional information or assistance in scheduling an appointment with our Richardson, TX foot doctor office. You can also do this today with our online form.