Fitness Equipment: How To Buy Your Next Pair Of Fitness Shoes

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 9:54am

By Michele Silence, MA

How many times have you bought a new pair of workout shoes only to find they hurt your feet later? Maybe they didn’t last very long. Or, perhaps they didn’t help you perform at your best. By following a few simple tips, you can make sure your next pair of workout shoes fits perfectly and feels great.

Decide whether to buy your fitness shoes online or in-person

If it’s your first time purchasing a specific brand or type of shoe, it’s best to buy the shoes in person. Try them on; walk around in them. Make sure your feet feel good right from the start. Proper footwear does not need to be “broken in;” shoes should fit well when you first put them on. After you’ve worn a particular brand, style and size—if you know you’d like the same shoes again—online purchases will save you time and money.

When is the best time of day to go shopping for fitness shoes?

Feet are actually bigger at the end of the day. If you’re buying shoes in person, avoid shopping first thing in the morning, especially if the shoe is going to be worn other than during morning hours. Feet can swell up to a half size by the end of the day.

Ensure shoes fit properly

When choosing footwear for fitness make sure your toes can fan out inside the toe box of the shoe. You should be able to curl your toes inside and have plenty of room in the front area. The back should not flop up and down but fit snugly against the heel. Resist the tendency to buy shoes based on what size you normally wear or feel you should wear. Once you start wearing them, comfort will be more important.

Consider your different size feet when buying shoes

If your feet are considerably different sizes, buy shoes based on the larger foot. Make sure there’s at least half an inch between your big toe and the shoe. It’s easier to make a smaller shoe feel comfortable than one that’s a bit too small.

Select the appropriate type of fitness shoe

Choose a style of shoe that fits the activity it’s going to be used for most. For example, running shoes are different than walking shoes. Both are different from cross training and fitness shoes. To ensure you feel your best, you need to pair the right shoe with the right activity.

Trying fitness shoes: lacing up is important

Once you receive your new shoes, pay attention to how they’re laced. Different lacing techniques help feet that are narrow, wide or with heel problems. Narrow feet need the side of the shoe to fit snugly so use the eyelets farthest from the tongue of the shoe. Wide feet need more space so use the eyelets closest to the tongue. Heel problems require less tension near the toes but a tighter tie. So, use every eyelet and make the top fit snug.

Replace fitness shoes often

Athletic shoes need to be replaced much more often than most people imagine. Even though they still look new, it only takes three to five months of regular use before they lose their support and cushion. Be sure to order another pair before your current pair wears out.

How much should I spend on fitness shoes?

Unless you consider yourself an athlete, you don’t need to spend a small fortune on shoes. Choose those that are towards the top of the line (usually indicated by higher numbers) but maybe last season’s style. You can get great value for less money and have a pair of shoes that will fit better and last longer.