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Taking Care of Your Feet
Taking care of your feet is critical to a good work out. The force on your feet resonates throughout your joints, impacting your ankles, knees, hips and back. With the right shoes, you can enjoy many terrific workouts. Buy the wrong shoes, though, and you may find your body doesn’t respond well to the exercise. To make matters worse, the market for workout shoes is vast, making the right choice difficult if you’re uncertain about what you need in a shoe.
The Right Shoe for the Right Workout
Decide how you typically work out. If you’re planning to be on an elliptical, followed by using weights, you’ll need a significantly different shoe than if you’re going for a daily run or taking a spin class. Focus on cushioning with side (or lateral movement) support if you regularly take group exercise classes. Aerobic shoes in particular need to cushion the front of the foot and absorb shock well. Since you’re typically moving quickly in class, the shoes must also provide stability to prevent your ankle from rolling over. Find a crosstrainer that provides support, isn’t too heavy when you try it on and is cushioned and stable if you typically use cardio machines (such as an elliptical or stair climber) and then hop to the weight equipment. This type of shoe also provides good support for walking. Avoid something overly cushioned, as it can destabilize the walking motion you’re mimicking on the machines.
Special Needs for Runners
Runners need a cushioned running shoe with plenty of support for the impact of running, especially if you regularly run on paved surfaces. Look for shoes specifically built for runners, and check the padding and cushioning when you’re trying it on–they should support your feet without destabilizing your ankles as you run. Walking or Hikinh Get a hybrid walking shoe that supports a full walking roll through your foot and provides a supportive construction to protect your ankle, if you plan to spend time outdoors walking or hiking.
Get spinning shoes if you’re a dedicated spinner. These shoes have clips on the bottom that attach to the pedals of the spin bike and enable the use of the front of the foot, which makes for a more efficient pedal stroke.
The Best Time to Shop
Shop when you’re feet are most fleshed out, typically in the afternoon. Shopping at this time helps you feel how the shoe will fit when you’re working out.
Preparing for the Best Fit
Wear athletic socks, typical of the ones you wear when working out, when trying on the shoes. Trying on with your usual socks helps you gauge whether the shoe fits comfortably with the gear you already have. In general, workout shoes should not fit tightly in the toes, so look for shoes that aren’t too snug in this area or you’ll find your toes bashing against the toe box when you’re working it. On the other hand, the fit should be snug, but not tight, in the heel cup at the back of the shoe. The heel cup is the rigid support that provides much of the stability in the back of the shoe. You don’t want your heel to slip out of your shoe, but it shouldn’t feel pinched here either. Find more helpful foot care tips!