Whether you love to run, do CrossFit, or shoot hoops, every exercise routine and athletic activity requires you to wear the proper footwear.
But with so many styles and athletic footwear brands to choose from, it can be tricky to find a pair that’s just right for you.
If you’re in the market for a new pair of sneakers, you’ll want to read this before you start shopping. Here are nine tips for choosing the right athletic shoes for your tootsies.
1. Buy Shoes Made For Your Favorite Activities
Walk into any athletic footwear store and you’ll see shoes made for basketball, running, training, and all sorts of other sports and activities. It’s important to know that shoe styles serve different purposes and support your feet in various ways.
Be sure to choose athletic shoes designed for the specific sport you intend to do. If you’re into various fitness and sports, you’ll want to buy a different pair for each activity.
2. Know Your Feet
Are you more comfortable in shoes with a wide toe box? Do you need extra arch support? Do you prefer a higher or lower heel drop?
Knowing your feet is crucial to buying the right pair of shoes. Yet many people don’t understand why they find one pair of shoes more comfortable or supportive than the next.
The good news is that there’s an easy way to figure this out:
Pull your favorite athletic shoes out of your closet. These should be your most comfortable go-to pair that you wear every chance you get.
Search that shoe online and read the specs and details. Most online footwear retailers are great about providing specific details about a pair of shoes. Once you know the unique construction of your favorite shoe, you’ll know the features to zero in on when it’s time to shop for a new style.
3. Try On Shoes At The End Of The Day
Whether you visit a brick-and-mortar store in person or order a pair online, always try on new shoes in the evening. Our feet swell throughout the day, so you’ll get a more accurate fit if you try them on at the end of the day.
4. Make Sure The Shoe Fits
Shoes need to fit properly, and the best way to ensure that they do is to test them out before buying them.
When you try on athletic shoes, wiggle your toes around to make sure that you have enough space in the toe box. Walk around to make sure they feel good through the ankles and heels. Make sure that the arch (or the lack of arch support) feels right for your feet.
One rule of thumb when buying athletic shoes is that if you think you’re going to need to break them in, you’re probably buying the wrong size.
5. Buy The Proper Width
Shoes don’t just come in different size lengths — they also come in various widths. In addition to buying the right size, you also need to buy the correct width for your foot.
All brands offer a “regular” width, but you shouldn’t assume that your foot is that standard, regular size. If a new pair of shoes feels too tight or too roomy at the sides of the foot, search for brands that also offer narrow or wide widths.
6. Try Them On With The Right Socks
Always try on and test out athletic shoes with the type of socks you intend to wear with them. Thinner socks can make a shoe feel too loose. Thicker socks can make a shoe feel too tight. Trying shoes on with the right socks is the only way to get the perfect fit.
If you’re shopping in person, either wear the socks you want to wear with your new shoes or bring a pair with you. This one simple trick can make a huge difference.
7. Consider The Traction
Do you like to exercise outside where the conditions can be wet and slippery?
If so, pay close attention to the bottom of the shoe and make sure it has enough traction for your needs.
Shoes with smoother, flatter soles may be all you need to exercise indoors at the gym. But if it’s outdoor jogging or trail running that gets your heart rate up, you’ll want a chunky lug sole that offers lots of grip.
8. Make Your Decision Based On Function, Not Just Fashion
We all want to look stylish, including when we’re heading off to sweat it out at the gym. But that super cool pair of sneakers that you’ve been eyeing online may not be suitable for the type of workout you plan to do.
As hard as it may be not to choose based solely on how they look, it’s more important that your athletic shoes function in the way you need. When it comes to working out, it’s vital that your shoes fit great, even if they’re not your all-time favorite look.
9. Buy Shoes You Can Afford
Athletic shoes don’t last forever. They will take a beating, and they will wear out and need replacing over time.
For this reason, be sure to buy athletic shoes that you can afford.
If you spend more than you can afford to, you might still be paying off your credit card when it’s time to buy the next pair.
Shopping for athletic shoes is different from shopping for other types of footwear. And that’s because sports and exercise require you to be on your feet almost the entire time.
The next time you shop for athletic shoes:
- Buy shoes made for your sport or activity
- Know what type of shoes work best for your feet
- Try on shoes in the evening
- Make sure they fit from toe to heel and side to side
- Try on shoes with the right socks
- Pay attention to the soles and how much traction they provide
- Choose shoes based on function and not strictly on fashion
- Stick to your budget
Whether you’re searching for shoes for jogging, playing tennis, or trail hiking, keep these tips in mind, and you’re sure to find a pair that’s perfect for you!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Copper Beech Bowling Green to help them with their online marketing.