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So many athletic shoes, so little time!

Athletic shoes, all-terrain shoes, cross-trainers; what is the difference?  Each trip to the store is overwhelming with all the new types of sneakers out there, and all you want to know is how to pick what is best for you!  Here are some helpful tips to think about when trying to pick out the right athletic shoes for you!

sneaker tread

Check the tread!

Why do you need the right athletic shoe?

Most athletic shoes are built to suit the demands of why they are built.  Hiking shoes are more durable with high ankle support where as basketball shoes have a flatter sole to grip the court easier.  Some shoes, like a cross-trainer, are good for weight lifting, walking, indoor running, and other gym like activities.  When it comes to other things like tennis or golf, make sure you are using the right equipment.

Know your foot!

Feet come in all shapes and sizes, leading to different wear patterns on your sneakers.  Most sporting good stores have staff that can help you determine tread wear on your current shoe, or you could go to your podiatrist for a more in depth look at the needs of your feet.  If you notice wear on the outer edge of your shoe, consider a shoe with a soft mid-sole.  If the inner portion is worn, check out a shoe with a bit more arch support.

Sneakers for sale

Sneakers for sale!


Test them before you buy them!

Athletic shoes should be comfortable right away with no need to have a breaking in period.  Later in the day is the best time to try them on, using your own socks for a better fit.  Take a lap or two (walk, don’t run) around the store and try to pay attention to any friction spots, if your heel slips out of the back, or if you can’t wiggle your toes.  There should be about a thumb’s width between the front of the shoe and your big toe.

piggy bank

Pinch those pennies!

They cost HOW MUCH!?

Set your budget and stick to it.  Some shoes can cost $200 for the latest and greatest celebrity endorsement, pump up soles, or light up laces.  There is nothing out there that says the most expensive shoe or the most popular brand is the best shoe for you.  Keep in mind, it is recommended that you change your sneakers every 350-500 miles, so if you can afford it, $50-$100 is more than enough to get a good quality athletic shoe.



Riki Duncan, MA.Ed, ATC, LAT