While it seems like you could basically wear any running shoe to play sport, the fact is wearing the wrong shoe can lead to massive issues, from injuries to permanent damage. It’s important to look into the sneakers that suit your fitness of choice – yep, even if you do circuit training at the gym.
We asked Under Armour HOVR Run Expert Monique Craft for her top tips on selecting the right shoes – and how to make sure they’ll look after your bod as well as make you faster (no).
1. It’s About The Support System
When it comes to selecting the right shoes for the fitness you do, it’s all down to the support and cushioning system. For example, netball shoes need a different traction than trail runners, because the way your feet move and the impact is completely different.
Footwear can have the ability to impact the times you achieve and help prevent you from injuries, so be sure to look into the shoes cushioning system and what they are designed for, whether that be trail running, long distance, sprinting etc.
So instead of just buying the sale sneaks, consider the fact that your selection might actually prevent you from stacking it, you know?
2. Even Gym Shoes Need To Be Specific
Thought you could wear any old sneaker to the gym? Nope – again, you need the right support and cushioning, even if you’re just doing strength training. Obviously it depends on the intensity of your workout, like if you’re just on the rowing machine you’re good.
You can get away wearing a less supportive shoe when the sport is low impact and not much distance needs to be covered.
But if you’re lifting heavy weights that’s putting impact on your ankles and soles, so you need the right shoes to sustain that. Ditto for HIIT training and circuit work – jumping up on boxes in shitty old sneakers can lead to slips and ankle rolls, mates.
3. Your Feet Are Unique
Another reason just picking up some sale runners is a bad idea – everyone’s got unique feet, and getting your shoes professionally fitted for sport is the best way to ensure you are going to be adequately supported.
Invest in a credible brand and make sure that they are fitted correctly. Be sure your footwear choice supports your footwear structure and type of training you’re doing.
Most big athletic stores will have professionals on hand who can measure your feet and suss if you’ve got ankles that roll in/a narrow arch and so on.
4. Feet Swell
Who knew – feet swell up when you run due to impact, so it’s important to get shoes with a little wiggle room.
Measure a space (about a thumbs-width) between your longest toe to the tip of your running shoe. The reason to allow for extra room is because your feet swell when you run due to the impact from each step, the heat and the extra blood and fluid flow. Be sure you are able to wiggle your toes comfortably because if there isn’t enough space, then you can say hello to blisters!
5. Innersoles Aren’t Always The Answer
Basically, before you buy innersoles you should be seeing a podiatrist, because they often just mask a bigger issue that’s causing more long-term damage.
Ensure you are wearing the correct footwear for your sport and body type and that you don’t have any mechanical or muscular issues. Innersoles will just alleviate the pain but don’t fix the real cause or problem. If you are running in shoes that provide stability and support and you’re in no pain, then there’s no need for orthotics.
Innersoles are good if you have pain or an injury, but be sure to speak to a physio or podiatrist first before making a purchase of any innersoles/orthotics. It’s important to see a medical professional if you are experiencing any pain to ensure you get the correct diagnosis and treatment plan.
You can check out the Under Armour range of footwear here.Image: Kath & Kim