Put Your Best Foot Forward: How to Choose the Right Athletic Shoes for Your Feet

Shoeography | Friday, February 26, 2021 | 0 comments

If you've ever experienced foot pain or have suffered a podiatric injury, you know just how important wearing the right shoes is. You're also not alone; over 20 million adults have difficulty walking or climbing stairs. Below, we'll explore the critical factors to consider when buying a pair of athletic shoes for the perfect fit and function.

Shoeography: Put Your Best Foot Forward: How to Choose the Right Athletic Shoes for Your Feet


Whether you're running, jumping, or simply walking, your heel must be protected. Look for shoes with extra shock absorption in the heel and under the ball of the foot. This feature can help prevent shin splints, stress fractures, and other injuries caused by overuse.

Light Weight and Flexibility

To prevent foot fatigue, choose a light-weight athletic shoe and one with a soft, flexible upper (the part that covers the top of the foot. If you plan to move around quickly – if you're playing tennis, for example – you'll want a shoe that offers flexibility in the sole underneath the ball of the foot. Where you won't want flexibility is on the inside and outside of the foot; make sure the shoe has stability on the sides to prevent your ankles from rolling.

Arch Support

Some people have low arches while others have high arches. Regardless, you'll need an athletic shoe that comfortably hugs the arch of your foot to reduce unnecessary pressure. If you have a chronic foot ailment, like severe flat foot, high arches, shin splints, or tendinitis, you can get custom arch supports to insert in your shoe. These custom inserts concentrate relief on one area while supporting other areas of the foot.

High-Top vs. Low-Top

You might assume that high-top athletic shoes will do more to protect your ankles, but that's not necessarily the case. A study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research reported that there was no difference between participants who wore high-top shoes and those who wore low-tops. Still, the study did show that high-top athletic shoes stopped the participants' ankles from moving as much, and over time, those participants lost flexibility in their ankles, making them more prone to injury.

Foot and ankle injuries are more common than you might think. It's important to note that if you were injured at work and your injury is covered by workers’ compensation, your first temporary disability payment is due within 14 days of your employer receiving notice.

Your shoe needs may differ from those of your friends and family, so always talk to your doctor about choosing the right footwear if you're experiencing pain or chronic discomfort. You can get a recommendation from your primary care physician or even a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs make up approximately 11% of the physician population in the United States).

Over 145 million adults report that they include walking as a part of their physically active lifestyle. To always put your best foot forward and protect your health, choose the right shoes for your feet.

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