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Heel to Toe: Tips on buying the right pair of tennis shoes

16 Apr. 2013 Posted by Hannah Mich
tips on buying running shoes, quality running shoes, buying tennis shoes, shoe tests, shoe arch support, recycle shoes, soles of shoes, shoe anatomy

For every occasion there are a pair of shoes. They are not just a piece of clothing or equipment, they are a companion of sorts. We travel everywhere with our shoes from a stroll through the local grocery store to hiking the mountains in New Mexico. When purchasing shoes we can spend hours searching for the right brand, color, style and size. However, we often neglect the more critical details of function, quality and comfort. In fact, it may seem it is only by chance that you buy a "favorite" pair of shoes. But contrary to how it appears, buying a pair shoes that become a "favorite" has less to do with karma and more to do with how you go about buying your shoes. Below are tips on how to buy a "favorite" pair of shoes.

1. Shop for shoes in the afternoon. Our feet swell slightly throughout the day. Buying shoes in the afternoon or early evening will ensure your shoes will not feel too snug.

2. Besides knowing the size of your foot, know your foot type. Perform this test to determine your foot type. Your foot type determines what kind of support and cushion you will need in the shoe: flat or low arch feet need more support and cushion, while high arched feet need a less rigid shoe to encourage movement.

3. Do not just wear the shoe, but touch and manipulate it. Perform the flexion test. This means you hold the heal of the shoe in one hand and push up against the toe of the shoe with the other hand to see if the shoe bends easily at the "ball of the foot" area. You do not want too much resistance with this because that can cause strain on the foot.

4. Arch support and stability. Feel inside the shoe to see what type of support it offers for your arch on the inside of your foot. Then look at the outer sole of the shoe to check for height and firmness, which plays a significant role in a shoe's stability. The torsion test can also be used to check for stability. Many shoes today do not offer a lot of arch support, therefore, you may benefit from seeing a podiatrist about orthotics if you have high or low arches.

5. When wearing the shoes, make sure you are wearing the socks or stockings you would normally wear with them and you lace them all the way up. Walk, zigzag, run, skip, and jump in the shoes to make sure they are comfortable to you.

6. Wiggle your toes. When wearing the shoes move your foot around and wiggle your toes to make sure their is a little "breathing" room, but not too much. In fact, trying on the same shoe in a half size bigger or small is helpful in determining the one that is most comfortable. A shoe that is a half size too big or small can cause blisters and pressure points, leading to pain and increasing your risk of a more serious injury.

7. Look at the bottom of the shoe. It should have ample traction for when you are out on the trails or walking on wet pavement.

8. Before you even head to the stores check out shoes on-line so you have an idea of what is out there and what you are looking forward.

Now you are officially prepared to buy your next pair of shoes. And remember do not just toss out that old pair of sneakers - RECYCLE them! If you have any additional tips or stories about your shoe shopping excursion feel free to share below.

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