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Wear the Right Shoes When You Exercise

Exercise can be hard on your feet -- especially if you don't have the right shoes. Be sure to replace worn exercise shoes when needed -- they typically lose about one-third of their ability to absorb shock after 500 miles of use. Loss of cushioning in the shock-absorbent mid-sole occurs long before you can see wear on the outer sole or upper shoes.

Here are some tips for buying the best shoes for exercising:

  • When buying shoes, always have your feet measured, and put your full weight on the foot as it's being measured.
  • Most of us have one foot that's larger than the other; choose the size that fits the larger foot.
  • Feet expand during the day, so don't buy shoes first thing in the morning. Mid-day or later is better, because that's when your feet are their "true" size.
  • When shopping for running shoes, take your old pair with you. A knowledgeable salesperson can evaluate the wear patterns and help you choose a suitable shoe. Wear the socks you normally run in, and run around the store when trying on the new shoes.
  • Bend an exercise shoe before you buy it. It should bend where the foot does - at the ball. If it bends at mid-foot, it won't give you much support. It shouldn't bend too easily or be too stiff.
  • For women only: If you find women's shoes too narrow, get your exercise shoes in the men's or boys' departments. They tend to be cut wider up front, which is important because exercise puts so much stress on the ball of your foot and your toes.

Related information: Nutrition channel - Fitness | Hypertension channel - Lifestyle changes - Exercises

Source:  University of California, Berkeley. Wellness Made Easy, 1999.

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