When you’re playing a sport, your shoes can make all the difference. The right shoes can cushion and support your feet, ankles, and other parts of your body as you run, shift, and make other quick maneuvers.
And while Kyle Durfey, DPM, Brian Hiapo, DPM, and our team at Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center treat many conditions that commonly plague athletes, such as achilles tendon problems and plantar fasciitis, we want you to wear the right shoes so you can avoid issues like these.
With that goal in mind, here are some tips for buying shoes for your athletic activity of choice.
Determine how much stability you need
If you’ve had any foot problems in the past, such as plantar fasciitis, or if you have a current issue, such as flat feet, opt for a shoe that will help support and stabilize your foot. In other words, if you have or have had foot issues, a minimalist shoe probably isn’t for you.
Find out your pronation type
Grab your last pair of athletic shoes and flip them over. Look at the wear patterns on them.
If the outer edges of your shoes are worn, this probably means you underpronate. Underpronation is when you roll your foot outward as you step. If the inner edges of your shoes show more wear, you probably overpronate, or roll your foot inward.
If you have either of these issues, wearing shoes with proper support may help you correct the problem. To learn more about pronation, check out this beginner’s guide.
Check your arches
Get your foot wet and take a step on a flat surface where you can see your footprint.
If your footprint shows your whole sole with little to no curvature in the middle of your foot, you probably have flat feet. You’ll want shoes with a low arch insole to give your arches support without putting excess pressure on them.
If your wet footprint only shows a narrow strip connecting the ball of your foot to your heel, you have high arches. Look for shoes with lots of arch support.
We can also help you get the support you need. We offer custom orthotics, which are inserts that you can put in any shoe.
Do some sole searching
Make sure you’re buying a shoe with the right soles for your activity. If you’re playing squash or tennis, for example, you probably don’t need too much ruggedness in the sole of your shoe. But if you trail run, you’ll want something with enough grip to help you over unpredictable terrain.
Shop late and bring socks
Feet tend to swell throughout the course of the day. To ensure you’re buying shoes with enough room in them, shop for athletic shoes late in the day and bring the socks you usually wear for your activity of choice. Then, when you try on shoes, wiggle your toes to make sure you’ve got enough roominess in the toe box.