There are a million games to play and a million ways to play them. Just to add to the mix there are also a million types of athletic shoes to wear while you’re playing. Every major brand of women’s shoes offers a line of athletic shoes promising to make you run faster, walk healthier, climb higher, throw farther, and feel good while you are doing it. You know that shoes are an important part of playing your best game. But do you know how to pick the best shoes?
Know Your Feet
The type of shoe good for you is one that is made for the particular conditions of your feet. If you have flat feet you need a shoe that is less flexible and provides better support. High arches require shoes with padding or higher insoles to prevent damage. Weak ankles benefit from shoes with a higher top and bad heels do better with gel or springs to take the pressure off. A good shoe for sports bends at the ball of the foot allowing the foot to naturally move and function properly. Make sure you go into the store knowing exactly what your foot needs in a shoe.
Know Your Fit
Remember the mean stepsisters of Cinderella? When the glass slipper (not a good athletic shoe, to be sure) showed up at their house and didn’t fit, they cut off their toes and mutilated their feet just to get the shoe on. It didn’t work for them, and it won’t work for us. We buy shoes to fit our feet, not the other way around. A good fit in an athletic shoe is when the heel is snug against the foot and doesn’t move. Heels that slide create blisters and don’t support the foot as well. For the front of the foot, a space the width of your thumb should be between your longest toe and the shoe. You should be comfortable in your shoes. While some breaking in is good for a shoe if you feel pain or it doesn’t fit right no amount of breaking in is going to help. Make sure the sure is comfortable when you put it on.
Know What Time It Is
You should never shoe shop in the morning. As the day progresses and temperatures rise your feet swell. You should always shop for shoes in the afternoon when you have the best chance of making a perfect fit. Make sure you also have time to try on both shoes, re-lace them if they were laced when you went in, and stand or walk on them for at least 5 to 10 minutes. This will give you a much better feel for the long-term comfort of the shoes and allow your foot to adjust to them. Wear the kinds of socks you will wear when you are wearing the shoes and if you use any braces of orthopedic devices put those on too. You don’t want a shoe that isn’t going to accommodate an ankle brace or put your foot at a bad angle for a shin guard.
Remember, the best shoe isn’t the one with the highest price or coolest logo. It’s the one that fits your foot and lets you play your game.