It’s back-to-school time, which also means it’s back-to-sports time for student athletes. For those heading back out onto the field, court or gym, new athletic footwear are part of every back-to-school shopping list.
The proper type and fit of your athletic shoes can make a big difference in injury prevention and performance.
The type of shoe you should purchase depends on the activity or activities taking place. If you participate in one or two sports, consider buying shoes specifically for those sports. If you’re a casual athlete who dabbles in a few things, a good sturdy cross-trainer might do the trick.
Besides the types of your favorite activities, how you buy new shoes also matters. Try shoes on at the end of the day. Feet tend to swell throughout the day and a shoe purchased first thing in the morning might not feel that great when put on after school or work. Bring the exact type of sock you will wear during sports to try on new shoes. If you wear orthotics make sure to bring them. You should have about a half inch of space between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe and there should be room to move your toes in the toe box. Also, make sure you try on both shoes, lace them up and walk around the store on different surfaces. If the shoes are not quite right in the store they won’t miraculously fit when you leave.
Consider going to a store that specializes in sport footwear when making your purchase. The number of shoes available can seem overwhelming to those who are not prepared. In addition to cross-trainers, there are walking shoes, running shoes, cleated shoes with different cleat configurations depending on the sport (golf, lacrosse, soccer, football, baseball, etc.), hiking shoes, court shoes, and other specialty footwear for dance, ice hockey, ice skating, biking, skiing, and so on. Make sure you tell the sales associate if you have a particular problem. The sales associate should measure your foot and ask a list of questions to find the best fit. When shoes begin to wear they should be replaced as using a running shoe past its prime might result in an injury.
For more information about how to stay healthy and in the game, visit mysportshealth.org