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  3. Choosing Proper Footwear for Fitness

Choosing Proper Footwear for Fitness

Release Date: April 5, 2022

When engaging in physical fitness, it is important to wear the proper footwear. Doing so will help keep your feet healthy, make your physical activity easier, and help keep your body safe from injury. If your shoes are too tight, too loose, or insufficiently supportive, your physical activity may place stress on your feet, ankles, lower legs, and other joints. This ongoing pressure can contribute to pain and injuries. You will be more comfortable being active if you choose a supportive shoe that fits you well and suits your activity.

When choosing shoes, the fit and feel should always be the priority. Keep the following tips in mind as you shop for your next pair of fitness shoes.  

  • Because feet swell throughout the day, aim to shop for shoes after exercise or at the end of the day. This will help ensure that the shoes you try on feel comfortable when your feet are at their largest.
  • The size of your feet can change over time and one foot may be slightly bigger than the other. Have the shoe store assistant measure your feet every time you buy shoes.
  • Check that you can wiggle all your toes when wearing your shoes. Remember, you need room for your foot to move within your shoes as you walk, run, and jump.
  • Make sure the shoes grip your heel; it should not slip inside your shoes when you move.
  • Your shoes should be comfortable as soon as you try them on. Don’t rely on “breaking them in.”
  • To ensure comfort, walk or run a few steps in your shoes.
  • Think about width as well as length. If the ball of your foot feels squashed, ask if the shoe comes in a wider size. Shoes that are a half-size larger, but not wider, are not always the solution.
  • Feel the inside of the shoes to check for tags, seams, or other material that might irritate your foot.
  • Examine the soles. Are they sturdy enough to protect against harmful objects? Do they provide appropriate grip? Try to walk on both carpet and hard surfaces.

For more information about choosing the proper footwear for fitness activities, visit the National Institutes of Health’s exercise and physical fitness tips on find the right fitness shoes and clothes.

Last Updated: 04/05/2022
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