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Does your shoe fit the activity?

Having difficulty deciding if the shoe fits, do I wear it? These days walking into a sport shoe store can leave you feeling as dazzled as when you looked into a kaleidoscope for the first time!! Colours, claims, comfort, confusion. Where should you start?

The best place to start is to look at what you will be doing in them. Many people turn to a running shoe as the default "activity" or exercise shoe, but this is not always the most appropriate. Athletic shoes are as different as the sports themselves and have been designed to support the foot in the best way that that sport requires.

For example – Running shoes provide cushioning (and sometimes arch support) for the movement and forces that are involved in the forward running action, but are quite soft and unstable in a court sport like tennis or basketball.

So, if you intend to walk or run in your shoes then a running shoe is likely the most appropriate choice here. But there are still some features to keep in mind though ... Running shoes can be categorised into 4 major types – cushion/neutral, support, motion control and minimalist. Working out which is the right one of these for you may require a Podiatrist or a trained athletic footwear shoe fitter.

For court sports like Tennis, Basketball, Netball, Volleyball, indoor Soccer etc, a more sport specific style would be more appropriate. A cross-trainer can sometimes provide the correct support here too but still give you the versatility of comfortable walking.

Weightlifting and gym workouts may require specific shoes too depending on the type of training that you are doing too. Heavy lifting in running shoes is not generally a safe practice.

As far as brands go, there are some subtle differences in arch shape, toe box room and heel height that can sometimes impact the long-term comfort and satisfaction with the shoe. When you try on a sports shoe there should be an ability to freely wriggle the toes but firm enough with the laces that secures the foot from sliding forward during activity. The length should be about 1cm or a finger's width longer that the longest toe (but not too much longer than this as the shoe will bend in the wrong place above the toes). Unfortunately buying online doesn't allow for assessing if the fit is correct.

If you are having trouble working out which shoes is right for you then see a Podiatrist or qualified sport shoe fitter.

This blog post has been written by guest author Stephen Devenish – Owner and head Podiatrist at LiveWell Podiatry in Seaford. For further information Stephen can be contacted on ph. (03) 8740 9927


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