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Find the Perfect Workout Shoe for You

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    One thing to keep in mind that the author neglected to state. If one style of a brand's shoes fit well and are comfortable, don't assume that all their styles will fit the same way. I have wide feet, with a high arch/instep & I need a shoe with a wide toe box. I have a pair of New Balance cross trainers that needed replacement. The store didn't have the same style, so I tried on every other pair of New Balance they had, and could not find another pair fit as well, even if I went up 1/2 size. I tried other brands, and their "wide" shoes are too narrow in the toe box.
  • TKDEAL76
    I realize this was written several years ago, so that being said, perhaps a new article could be looked into based on all the, finally, focused information on barefoot/minimalist. I have gone most of my 35 years being barefoot and whenever I put on "high quality" running, cross trainers and hikers, yes I bought "good" shoes for all of my various activities, my knees, back, ankles, and feet would just be in pain. No matter what I did after the initial first weeks of my new shoes, the comfort would be gone and all of the issues would rear their heads. The promises of relief for my flat foot, my knee and back pain would fly out the window along with the hundreds of dollars spent trying to find the "right" shoe. Then the minimalist shoes hit and I found my answer. I have NO pain anywhere any longer. I can do any exercise with minimalist shoes and be pain free. I am not the only one. My husband who went his entire lie in shoes, never went barefoot anywhere, cured all of his "runners" injuries back pain, foot pain, knee pain even IT band issues, with going minimalist. It took him time to get used to it and to find the correct way to run ( no heel striking like we are taught from an early age) but once he got into it ( about a month) all of his typical pains were gone, vanished, healed like magic. Minimalist shoes often cost MUCH less than the traditional "specialty" shoes as well.
  • I have read so many articles about finding the right pair of sneakers, most of which end up geared towards runners.
    But they never address those of us that do a lot of kickboxing and jumping that need a lot of good cushioning in the forefoot as well as the heels...
  • I finally had the sense to get custom made orthotics (formed shoe inserts) and walking shoes picked out for me by a Podiatrist. The difference in my life is remarkable. Both were worth every penny I paid for them, and the Podiatrist has a life-long, loyal patient. One of my earliest memories was of my feet hurting. I went through 62 years of pain each and every day. The right shoes MATTER!
  • Both times I've bought shoes specifically for extensive walking, I've definitely been well-served by going to a running store. The most recent pair I bought was after trying on well over a dozen different shoes.

    In addition to the arch and the pronation/supination, other little things can and do matter. Width of the foot, width of the heel, how the back of the shoe sits for the Achilles tendon, which foot is larger and by how much.

    I have a wide foot, so about 1/3 of the shoes I tried were men's rather than women's. I have a full 1/2-1 size difference between my feet, so some pairs had one foot sliding and the other snug. I distinctly remember one pair feeling like it was pinching in on the sides of my heel. All of those shoes may have been perfect for someone else. They weren't for me.

    In trying out all those shoes, one of the best bits of advice I was given - don't ignore something that's a little uncomfortable. It's not going to get better over time. The shoe will not wear in. Find the shoe that feels great immediately. (Still giving it time before actively using it for everything, of course.)
  • I have a pair of running Nikes which are very comfortable and give good support but they've been with me for some years and they're worn out.

    I also have a pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes and while I haven't walked extensively in them yet, they are really comfortable. I've walked on rocks, cement, grass, unpaved roads and I've got to say that it really is like walking barefoot. I can feel the stretch in my arches, my Achilles tendons and my calves. But be careful! If you step on something sharp like I did (I stepped on a sharp rock), while it won't go through the shoe (I don't know about nails), it felt really uncomfortable! I wouldn't use them if you're walking on a lot of rubble and debris, but they're great for yoga, walking, swimming, more walking and my legs are getting in form.
    What about shoes that are supposed to tone as you walk? I bought a pair and have to admit I am not having the tightness that I had before. But it "appears" (not necessarily what is happening) that my ankle is turning inward. Anyone have the same sense?
  • I have Saucony running shoes, but I still experience tightness in the back of my legs and the bottoms of my feet have been hurting. I really can't afford the more expensive running shoes, does anyone have any advice for me? Right now I am not running marathons, so I don't need too expensive of a running shoe do I?
    Articles are a great way to get information and to learn more. However, especially when it comes to shoes, don't assume just because you are a certain foot type that you automatically wear the shoe recommended by most "fitness experts" in an article. Do what this article says and go to a good shoe store like Road Runner Shoes and get properly fitted. My feet are as wide and flat as a duck (hence my name - so proud of it). I also over pronate. You would think that I would wear a firm motion control shoe. Well, those type of shoes actually gave me severe shin splints and made my feet roll inward even more. Turns out after having my feet fully evaluated by Road Runners Shoes, I actually wear a neutral or very soft stability shoe with extra cushioning. So do your homework. It really makes a difference.
  • The right shoes have made a huge difference for me. My lower legs are not fatigued after walking/running, and my arches are not aching after long activity. Thanks for the information, it helped me make the right choices.
  • Thanks for the dating tip on insole! I always think I will remember when I put a pair into "use", but then I can't figure out how many "miles" I have put on them or when I started using them.

    In the past, I have waited until I'm experiencing pain to realize I need to replace the pair I have.

    One more "tip": if you have blackened toenails, your toes are hitting the end of the shoe when you walk or run. Need the next 1/2 size up no matter what size you are "supposed to be"!
  • I am finding that the best shoes for hiking and walking are my Vibram 5-finger shoes, my feet are not sore even after going for 10 miles. The 5-finger shoes are just like going bare foot the way were made to do.
  • I agree about buying good shoes that fit. I used to buy cheapie shoes at Target or Payless. Then I started having problems with plantar fasciitis - eventually in both feet. I went in to Fleet Feet and was fitted for a pair of walking shoes. The plantar fasciitis was gone within two months. Yes, I'm paying more - $95 to $125 - but being able to walk without pain is priceless. The shoes are so much better, that I only have to buy a new pair every year.
  • I do a spin class several times a week, and I've noticed my big toes are feeling bruised. I tried different shoes with a leather (instead of mesh) upper (a tennis shoe) and now my arch is hurting....I can't afford a hundred dollars for a specialty shoe. Any ideas or tips?
    I bought a pair of the sketchers from Naturalizers and wore them most of the time and at first my back hurt just above the waistline but with continued wear that got less and less so I got a second pair to wear indoors and now I have the third pair in black so I can wear it to work with black pants in the winter. They are also not slippery on the snow/ice we have now. I totally recommend them especially if you have back problems as you stand straighter. I discuss them with my therapists who said they are great but you need to wear them often not just an hour a day.

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