Keeping your feet comfortable and healthy is important when you are playing sports or performing activities such as hiking or running. Shoes that fit properly are key to preventing foot problems such as blisters, or ankle injuries. But with the choice of footwear seemingly increasing by the day, how do you know what to look for? Here are some tips that can help, and possibly prevent you from having to nurse shin splints or aching heels.
Don't make shoes multitask
If you do a few different activities, such as walking, running and playing sports, make sure you get shoes for each activity. That way, you will get the best performance and know that your feet are supported in the right way for the movements you make.
Athletic shoes are grouped into categories: Running, training and walking. This includes shoes for hiking, jogging and exercise walking. For a walking shoe, look for a comfortable soft upper, good shock absorption, smooth tread, and a rocker sole design that encourages the natural roll of the foot. A good jogging shoe should give you cushioning, flexibility, control and stability in the heel counter area, as well as lightness and good traction.
Court sport shoes include shoes for tennis, basketball and volleyball. Most court sports require the body to move forward, backward and side-to-side. The key to finding a good court shoe is its sole.
Field sport shoes include shoes for soccer, football, rugby and baseball. These shoes are cleated, studded or spiked.
Speciality sports shoes include shoes for golf, aerobic dancing and cycling.
Outdoor activity shoes include shoes used for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing and boating.
What to look for when trying on shoes
Always choose a shoe that conforms as nearly as possible to the shape of your forefoot. This is the front, widest part of your foot. Different brands can vary in size, so you may have to try several before finding your perfect footwear.
- Look for roomy footwear that has enough room for your toes and the ball of your foot.
- Look for shoes made of materials that will give or stretch a little. They will be the most comfortable.
- Look for shoes that do not have internal seams. This will prevent rubbing or irritation.
- Look for shoes that breathe when your feet sweat.
- Make sure your heel fits comfortably in the shoe with a minimum amount of slipping.
- Make sure to stand while trying on your shoes, since your foot gets longer when you stand.
- Wear the type of socks that you will most often wear with the shoes to be sure they fit.
Have your feet measured. Sometimes one foot is larger than the other, and your feet can change in size, even when you are an adult
Know when to replace your footwear
The average pair of running shoes should be replaced after about 500kms of use, according to experts. Better yet, go by how your shoes look and feel. Once the back of the sole is worn out or the shoe feels uncomfortable or less supportive, it's time to look for a new pair of shoes.
Don’t over or under pay
As with all things, you get what you pay for in footwear. Good-quality running and walking shoes can be pricey, but you will notice a difference. A $15 shoe will not be as good as an $80 shoe – but not everyone needs an $80 shoe. If you are just starting out with a certain activity, an entry level shoe will be ideal to see if you like what you are doing. Once you start performing your activity regularly or at a higher level, you can switch over to a more expensive type of footwear. But remember that you will pay a premium for super-fashionable styles or footwear associated with a celebrity -- and they won't be any better for your feet.
For a great selection of active footwear for women, take a look at Anaconda. Here you will find top brands as well as everyday basics in a wide range of styles and prices for every budget. They also stock shoes for men and kids, so you can kit out the whole family, no matter which activity or sport they enjoy.