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How to Choose Athletic Shoes

  • Dr. Bruce Zappan
  • September 29, 2017

If you don’t have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for, shopping for athletic shoes can become a mind-boggling experience. Many folks are unaware that an athletic shoe needs to be chosen based upon the specific activity in which you will be engaged. Try playing tennis in a pair of running shoes, and the reasons will become quite obvious. The proper fitting of athletic footwear is one of the most important aspects to maintaining the good health of your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back.

Follow these tips to help choose the most appropriate athletic footwear:

  • Choose the type of activity and then buy the right shoe—Whether you will be playing tennis, basketball, engaging in cross country running, or just walking around the block, there is a shoe made with the proper structure and flexibility for each type.
  • Go to a reliable store with helpful staff—While it may be tempting to save a few dollars and order shoes online, if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for you will probably run into frustrations with fitting and returns.
  • Know your foot type—Determining whether you overpronate, have high arches or neutral arches is important for proper shoe fitting. Your podiatrist can help you with this through a physical exam and computerized gait analysis.
  • Shoes should be comfortable—Your shoes should feel comfortable right at the start and not require a breaking in period. Make sure you have enough room in the toe box and that there is space in the front of your longest toe to prevent rubbing. The heel should feel nice and snug.

Properly fitted athletic shoes can help prevent and treat many injuries and conditions including shin splints, bunions, and plantar fasciitis. For any problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles, it is important to see a foot specialist to receive the correct care. Bruce B. Zappan, D.P.M., P.C., of Medical Arts Podiatry Associates in Philadelphia, PA is an expert in proper evaluation and recommendations for treatment. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or make an appointment with our office at 215-563-2560.