Physical activity is essential for everyone. It helps improve your overall health and fitness and can reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers.
But if you don’t have the right equipment and clothing, you may not be able to participate in physical activity safely or comfortably.
Shoes are especially important, as they protect your feet and help keep you stable while you exercise. You may be at risk for injuries such as blisters, calluses, bunions, and dangerous slips, trips, and falls without appropriate footwear.
Shoes Must Match Your Activity
The first thing to consider when choosing athletic shoes is the type of activity you will be doing. Different activities require different types of support, tread, and cushioning.
- Running shoes provide shock-absorbing cushioning and are designed for forward motion.
- Trail running shoes have aggressive treads for traction on uneven surfaces.
- Walking shoes may have a more rounded sole to encourage a natural rolling motion of the foot.
- Basketball shoes provide ankle support and lateral stability for quick side-to-side movements.
- Cleats for various sports like soccer, football, and baseball provide traction on the field.
- Hiking boots allow you to walk safely on uneven and often slippery terrain, and they can provide additional support for carrying a heavy backpack.
- Cross-trainers are versatile shoes that can be used for a variety of activities.
Whatever activity you choose, make sure you wear shoes designed for that specific activity.
The Right Fit
It is also important to make sure that your shoes fit comfortably. Shoes that are too big or too small can cause blisters, calluses, sprains, and other injuries.
When trying on shoes, wear the same type of socks that you will be wearing when you exercise. Make sure there is enough room to wiggle your toes, but that the shoe is snug enough that it doesn’t slip off when you walk or run.
It would help if you also had your feet measured periodically, as they can change size over time.
Also, be sure they are laced and tied correctly every time you wear them.
When to Replace Your Shoes
Even if your shoes fit well and are comfortable, you will eventually need to replace them.
You will know it is time to replace your shoes when they start to show signs of wear and tear, such as:
- The tread is worn down.
- The shoes are no longer flexible or more flexible than they should be.
- The shoes no longer provide the same support or cushioning.
- You start to experience new aches and pains in your feet, legs, or back.
If you exercise regularly, you will probably need to replace your shoes more often. Proper care of your shoes can help them last longer. This includes keeping them clean, storing them in a cool, dry place, and only wearing them for their intended activity.