If you’re new to working out – or even if you’re not – the right exercise shoe can make a big difference.
Whether your workout involves running, walking, sports or gym equipment, well-fitting shoe is very important.
Often when people feel pain while exercising it’s because they’re wearing the wrong type of exercise shoe, says Whittney Thoman, a senior exercise physiologist in the Cancer Prevention Center. Investing in a quality shoe can help you to prevent foot and ankle damage, and make your workout a more pleasant and comfortable experience.
Exercising is an essential part of maintaining a healthy weight, and maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of lowering your cancer risk. The American Cancer Society and the American College of Sports Medicine say you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activy each week to reduce your cancer risk.
Here are Thoman's tips for finding the right exercise shoe for your workout.
Make sure you have the right shoe for the activity you want to do.
Having the right shoe for the activity you plan to do can make a big difference. Decide which activities you enjoy doing, and then select the shoe that will support you best.
- Walking or running: A long-distance running shoe offers support and is usually lightweight. Thoman recommends this type of shoe to many patients because it’s built to offer support for long periods of time.
- Strength training and weight lifting: Look for shoes with a flat sole that is wide enough to disperse your weight comfortably.
- Cycling: Cycling shoes are typically the least flexible. These shoes are stiff so that you can push against the pedals evenly.
Talk to an expert.
Many specialty shoe stores hire experts to help you select a shoe. They’re trained to help you find the shoe that’s right for your foot and gait, the way you walk or run.
“Finding the right shoe is a critical part of establishing a successful exercise routine, so don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Thoman says.
Make sure your shoe looks like your foot.
The sole of your shoe should have the same outline as the sole of your foot, Thoman says. If you have more of a wide foot, you should look for a boxy shoe. If you have a narrow foot you should look for a narrow shoe.
When you try the shoes on, see how they feel. Arch support should feel natural and not harsh.
It is also important to that you try on shoes in the afternoon or evening, or after your workout, because feet tend to swell over the course of a day.
Replace your shoes as needed.
Aim to replace your shoes after 80 to 100 workout hours. If you start feeling new pain or discomfort in the joints of your feet or legs it may be past time to get a new pair of shoes.
“Our feet support our body’s movement. With each step you take shoes assist in the transfer of weight and energy,” Thoman says. “The proper shoe will allow for you to exercise with less injury and more comfort.”