The right athletic shoe can make a big difference in success with your chosen exercise or sport. Investing in separate, specific shoes for each activity will really pay off. Here are some quick guidelines:
Running. Runners need extra cushioning in the heel and forefoot to handle the great impact that hits the feet with every step. The right running shoe has a built-up heel for those who land on the ball of the foot, while runners who strike with heel or midfoot should look for less build-up on the heel.
Walking. Walkers don’t need as much cushioning in the forefoot which can add weight to the shoe. As walkers strike the ground first with the heel, having heel cushioning is essential. Look for a lighter shoe that still provides adequate cushioning.
Tennis. This sport involves lateral movements with frequent stops, starts, and turns. Choose flat shoes with lots of support, cushioning and traction.
Basketball. Look for shock-absorbing midsoles with lots of ankle support and traction for quick, sharp movements on the court.
Hiking. Your hiking shoe depends on the terrain, and choices range from supportive sandals for well-maintained trails, to mid- or high-cut hiking boots if you are carrying a light backpack, to heavy mountaineering boots with stiff midsoles.
Cycling. Whether indoor or out, look for shoes specifically designed for bicycling as these are lighter, have good ventilation and stiff soles to transfer power to the pedals.
When shopping for athletic shoes, visit a specialty sporting shoe store for the best selection and advice. Shop later in the day when feet are largest and bring along your own socks.