Fit to Run
Whether you’re a runner, walker or gym rat, wearing proper shoes makes a difference.
Every fitness buff knows the importance of good footwear. No matter your activity, your feet need support and comfort, and even the best-made athletic shoes wear out within months, depending on your level of activity.
The best way to choose athletic shoes is to treat your feet like the individuals they are, says Betsy Hughes, co-owner with husband Jon of Track Shack (trackshack.com) in Orlando.
Customers need “to be evaluated for what they need personally, not what their best friend wears,” she says.
A good shoe evaluation includes not just measuring your feet but also examining the shape, width and volume of each foot and the amount of support you need, Hughes says.
That’s why it’s important to bring inserts and orthotics when shoe shopping—and the kind of socks you’ll be wearing. “The thickness of the sock makes a big difference,” she says.
Although Track Shack caters to runners and walkers, Hughes says, “these days we have a lot of customers who are also going to the gym, so a walking or running shoe isn’t necessarily the best.” Instead, she recommends a low-profile shoe that’s closer to the ground. “The heel of a regular walking or running shoe can be between eight millimeters and 12 millimeters higher than the forefoot of the shoe. For a gym shoe, you want it closer to four millimeters difference from heel to toe.”
And you want it to be fashionable, of course. Athletic shoe styles change rapidly. In addition to all the fluorescent colors, some brands recently have released navy and black mesh shoes, Hughes says. “People like the darker colors for several reasons. For one thing, they don’t show dirt.”
But vibrant colors still predominate, and for customers who are put off by all that brightness, Hughes has just the thing. “If people are overwhelmed, we’ll change the shoelace color, which tones the shoe down.”
Here are some tips for athletic shoe shopping from the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society:
Try on athletic shoes after a workout or at the end of the day, when your feet will be at their largest.
Make sure that you can wiggle all of your toes.
Walk or run in the shoes. They should be comfortable immediately: There is no break-in period.
Always re-lace the shoes you’re trying on. Begin at the farthest eyelets and apply even pressure as you create a crisscross pattern to the top of the shoe.
If you participate in a sport three or more times a week, make sure to buy a sport-specific shoe.
Ready, Set, Go!
Take off running with these 10 Central Florida clubs.
Central Florida Women Runners
Downtown Orlando YMCA Runners Club
East Orlando Moms RUN This Town
Florida Ultra Runners
Hunters Creek Running Club
Lake Nona Running Club
Orlando Runners Club
USA Fit Orlando