Someday soon, winter will be over. Then it will be time to start going outside again. (“Outside” is a real place, we promise. It is not a mythical land populated by unicorns and leprechauns. Sometimes the sun even shines there.)
If you decide to make the great outdoors part of your workout, you’ll obviously have to invest in the right footwear. After months of wearing winter boots, this can be fun! But even if you limit your workouts to the gym, you still need the right shoes for what you’re doing, to support your whole body.
Depending on what activity you decide to pursue, you’ll need different shoes. A standard cross-trainer is almost always the right choice if you’re just getting started on a new fitness routine, because they’re engineered to provide support for side-to-side movement as well as back-to-front movement. In other words, you can use them in an aerobics class as well as for a walk outside. That way, if you pick up one routine and find it’s not for you, you can always try something new with the shoes you just invested in.
If you plan on running or jogging, though, a good running shoe is your best bet. That’s because running shoes are built for back-to-front motion. But before you choose a shoe, you need to determine your foot shape. Take a good look at how you point your toes. Think about how your bare feet hit the ground. Do you have high or flat arches? Do you pronate? The same issues of podiatry that make wearing high heels a nightmare can also hurt your chances of finding the right athletic shoe. If you wear insoles or orthotics, keep in mind that you’ll have to transfer them to your athletic shoes once you find the right ones.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to visit an athletic specialty store for professional advice on which shoe to pick up. A specialized retailer will know what the best fit for your feet is. You may be asked to do a small running test, so your stride can be examined. Or you may be asked about the other sports you plan to do — if you plan to take your running shoes to a weekly volleyball game, for example, you’ll need shoes that won’t leave marks on the court.
Don’t feel like reading through all the advice on the subject, or reviews for shoes? The folks at Greatist have an excellent infographic on the subject:
Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com