The most common New Year Resolution that people would make is “This year I’m gonna lose weight!” There are so many things people could do to achieve this- walking, running, working out at the gym, playing some outdoor games, phew! There’s one thing you need in common for all of these activities- SHOES!
You walk into a store or open up an online shopping portal in search of the right shoes.
This can be a really hard task because there are so many different kinds of shoes to choose from. From barefoot shoes to wrestling shoes, the variety is simply huge!
The first thing you need to do is decide the purpose for which you want to buy shoes. Each shoe is designed to suit the purpose and vary in material, weight, etc. For example, running shoes would require more cushioning whereas trekking shoes would be sturdier. If you are planning to use shoes for a lot of different purposes, it’s better to get a separate pair for each. Overworking the shoes will only lead to earlier wear.
But before you select the pair for you, there are some things you need to know about your feet.
How does your foot look?
Take a print of your wet foot on some paper. If your footprint shows the entire sole of your foot with little to no curve on the inside, or if your shoes show the most wear on the inside edge, it means you’ve got low arches or flat feet and tend toward overpronation. These strike on the outside of the heel and roll inwards (pronates) excessively. Over time, this can cause many different types of overuse injuries. You’ll want a shoe with a motion-control feature and maximum support. Motion control shoes are high stability shoes with firm midsoles and control features that reduce the degree of pronation. You should avoid highly cushioned, highly curved shoes, since these lack stability features.
If the footprint shows only a narrow portion of your forefoot or no portion at all between the forefoot and the heel, or if your shoes wear out mostly on the outside edge, you have high arches and tend to underpronate (also called supinate). Because it doesn’t pronate enough, this kind of foot is not usually an effective shock absorber .Underpronation causes wear on the outer edge of the heel and the little toe. Look for a cushioned shoe with a soft midsole. It is important for you to use shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion. Stay away from motion control or stability shoes as they reduce foot mobility.
You have a neutral arch if your footprint has a distinct curve along the inside and your shoes wear out uniformly. A normal foot lands on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards slightly to absorb shock and does not require motion control shoes. Look for a “stability” shoe, which has the right mix of cushioning and support.
Some important features
Motion control: Thick and rigid shoes which have a lot of cushioning and support. Recommended for heavy runners and people with flat feet.
Neutral: Typically designed for people with normal arches. Has some amount of cushioning.
Stability: Recommended for people who have pronation. Come with midsole cushioning.
Barefoot: These shoes attempt to mimic barefoot running as much as possible and come with little or no cushioning.
When should I buy shoes?
It’s a good idea to go shoe shopping at the end of the day, or after a walk or a run because that’s when the foot will be the longest. This way you can make sure that you don’t select the wrong size. Also, wear the kind of socks that you’ll be wearing when you do the activity for which you’re buying shoes.
How do I know “these are the ones for me”?
Comfort surpasses everything else. When you try out a shoe, it has to go right in and fit snugly. Ensure that there is enough room for you to wiggle all your toes and at least a thumb’s width between your big toe and the front end of the sole. The shoe should grip your heel firmly and the heel shouldn’t slip out when you’re walking or running. If your shoes aren’t comfortable you could end up with injuries or tossing them into the trash can because they wore out too soon. Don’t hesitate to take the help of staff from a sports specialty store.
After you’ve zeroed in on the model, the fun part begins. Now you can choose whatever colour or style you want. Neon pink or electric green, leopard prints or wacky streaks, suede or canvas, laces or Velcro, you can go absolutely wild while picking up your pair.
Well, there is one tiny thing to worry about… the cost. Good quality shoes are a bit pricey, but you need to use your discretion and go for a good brand of shoes with fair customer reviews. But remember- the comfort and purpose of your shoes outweigh the appearance several times. So by getting just good looking shoes, you’re not doing much for your feet.
Now that you’ve got your shoes, it’s time to start your fitness mantra!
P.S. When the sole is worn out, or your shoes are becoming uncomfortable, it’s time to replace them and take your feet out shopping again!