A good pair of running shoes is an important piece of equipment for any athlete. Shoes that are chosen specifically for foot type and fitted properly can help keep athletes healthy and possibly prevent injuries such as shin splints and stress fractures. The guide below will help you determine how to shop for the right shoe for your foot and explain when to get rid of your old shoes in favor of a new pair.
First, make sure to try both shoes on (with socks, braces, and orthotics/inserts, if applicable) and lace them properly. Wear them around for 10 minutes to make sure nothing is poking or rubbing. Good running shoe stores actually allow you to run in them to see how they feel (do so if you have the chance). Other indicators of a proper fit are:
If you are a runner, keep track of your mileage. Shoes should be replaced between 300 and 500 miles, depending on your training. In general, shoes should be replaced at least once per athletic season (if not more, depending on activity). Shoes should also be replaced if they show unevenness in wear when placed on a flat surface or if there is noticeable creasing in the midsole.
Remember that the midsole (which is the portion of the shoe that absorbs shock) is usually the first part to wear out in athletic shoes. If all of a sudden you start experiencing aches and pains that you haven’t dealt with before (such as shin splints or knee pain), it could be because the shoes are no longer absorbing the shock of running and your body is instead! This may be a signal that it is time to change shoes. If you do not, the aches and pains could become overuse injuries.
If you are unsure how to shop for athletic shoes, specialty running shoe stores have experienced salespeople that can help you find the proper fit. Your coach or sports medicine specialist may be able to recommend specific stores in your area that will meet your needs and budget.
Please note that not all aches and pains can be attributed solely to shoe wear. If you have persistent problems, consult your sports medicine specialist in a timely manner before the issue becomes worse.
Consult your primary care physician for more serious injuries that do not respond to basic first aid. As an added resource, the staff at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine is available to diagnose and treat sports-related injuries for youth or adolescent athletes. Services are now available in five locations. To make an appointment, call (614) 355-6000 or request an appointment online.