Proper footwear can improve safety, performance


To have the most effective workout possible, it’s important to treat your feet well. Proper shoes and support are essential to injury prevention and optimal performance.

Shoes are extremely important, but they can also be expensive. Many people just stick with the same pair of tennis shoes for years simply because they haven’t fallen apart yet. While shoes are pricey, and it is often hard to part with your favorite pair, it’s important to buy new shoes regularly.

A general rule is to replace shoes every six months, or every 300-500 miles. The exact amount of time and miles depends on a person’s weight, running style and frequency of activity. If you begin to notice significant shin or knee pain, it might be time to replace your shoes. Don’t just buy shoes based on style, though; make sure to buy shoes that are appropriate for your feet and running style.

Knowing your feet is a good way to determine what kind of shoes to buy. You should know if you’re an overpronator, oversupinator or if you have neutral feet. Overpronators tend to have flat arches and flexible feet and their ankles roll in when they walk. Oversupinators have high arches, which are rigid and hinder some of the necessary flexibility of feet. Their ankles appear to roll outward when they step. Those with neutral feet have a natural arch and a straight ankle when walking.

If you are an overpronator, you should look into shoes that provide sufficient arch support and motion control. There are also orthopedic insoles that can help to correct this problem.

Oversupinators should consider buying athletic shoes with a lot of cushioning to counteract their rigid feet.

A number of athletic shoe specialists can give you information on whether you overpronate, oversupinate or have neutral feet and can advise you on how to pick the proper fit for your specific gait.

However, if you’d like to see for yourself, you can try this simple test at home.

Wet one hand towel and wring out extra water. It should be wet, but not dripping. Place it on the ground and cover it with a dry towel. Step onto the towel with one foot (try to make it as normal and natural as possible). Step off of the towel; you should see an imprint of your foot.

If the ball of the foot and the heel are connected with a slim line, your foot is neutral. If the water shows a separation between the ball of the foot and the heel, you are an oversupinator.

If you can see your entire foot, with no indentation where your arch should be, you are an overpronator.

Knowing these things can help you to take good care of your feet and joints, resulting in less pain and a more enjoyable workout.