The Importance of Proper Workout Shoes

The late, great Marilyn Monroe said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” That goes for workout shoes as well. Experts talk a lot about proper hydration, eating properly, and getting adequate amounts of sleep. There are so many details to remember. Here’s one more: Take care of your feet! They will thank you—and your entire body will feel better.

Think of your feet as the foundation or your body. If the foundation of a building isn’t set properly, the entire building can fall. If your feet develop problems, you’ll feel them everywhere.

Did you know that 25% of the bones in your entire body are in your feet? All those joints work as natural shock absorbers every time you walk, run or jump. Behind your heel, your Achilles tendon is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body.  

The key to protecting the joints and tendons in your feet is wearing workout shoes that fit, support and cushion your feet. The right shoes can prevent back problems and minimize the effect of impact exercise (such as running, and even walking) on your body. Bad shoes can increase your risk of developing or worsening foot and ankle injuries, back pain and other joint problems. Once you have the right shoes, make sure you replace them regularly, as the cushioning will degrade long before they look worn out.  Typically, exercise shoes should be replaced after 5 or 6 months, depending on the frequency, type and intensity of your workouts.

Choosing workout shoes doesn’t need to be difficult. Try these tips when buying shoes:

  • Shop at the end of the day when your feet are largest (due to normal swelling).
  • Get both feet measured! Most people’s feet are not perfectly symmetrical, and it’s not unusual for the difference to be a half size or even more. Choose your shoes based on how the larger foot feels in its shoe.
  • If you have shoe inserts or orthotics, take them with you so you can test them with various shoes.
  • Get both feet measured again! Pregnancy, weight changes and age may all affect your foot measurements so make sure you get resized every so often.
  • When trying on shoes, take a walk around the store to make sure the fit feels right. Make sure there’s enough room around your toes (avoid blisters) and that your heel doesn’t slide around. From ankles to arches, the fit should feel right before you buy.

Remember, the average person with an average stride, will walk roughly 110,000 miles in their lifetime. That’s equivalent to walking around the world 5 times! If your feet aren’t happy, you won’t be either. Whether you’re headed to the gym or to work, having proper footwear for whatever you’re doing is essential. Keep yourself healthy and your feet happy by choosing the right footwear. And go forth to conquer.