Who needs to wear special sports shoes?

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If you play hard you are an athlete who needs to wear special sports shoes

Who needs to wear special sports shoes? Anyone who is regularly engaging in athletic pursuits should not skimp on their footwear. The wrong pair of shoes can hurt your feet and toes as well as hinder your performance and lessen staying power.

Ideally, purchase sports shoes at a specialty shop. The staff can properly fit you, which is critical to the health of your feet. When wearing the right footwear you lessen the chance you will sustain heel pain, shin splints, stress fractures, tendinitis and other overdoing symptoms.
Take your current shoes with you when shopping for footwear so the person assisting you can see how you have been wearing the footwear as well as what you have been wearing. There are telltale wear patterns on the soles revealing the bio-mechanical requirements of your feet which determine the specific footwear you should buy. If you put orthotics in your footwear, take them, too. 

Gait and Strike

Walk around in the footwear so the specialist can observe your gait and foot strike. Gait is the way you walk. Some people have abnormal gaits because of physical deformities, diseases or conditions.

When suffering from arthritis this often leads to a deviant gait because this condition leads to limited range of motion, joint deformity and pain. 

Your gait consists of swing and stance. In the swing phase, there is movement of one leg while its foot is in the air. During the stance period, there is movement of the foot and leg while the foot contacts the ground.

When a foot makes contact with a surface this is the impact or heel-strike phase. Forces of two or three times the person's body weight are conveyed to the body in the impact stage.  The mid-stance or support segment consists of the foot carrying the body as the foot transitions from heel to toe. 

The toe-off or propulsion phase entails forces being distributed across the fore foot. The arch braces as the foot arranges to leave the ground. Foot strike describes the movement of the foot as it goes through the three stages of stance including impact, support and propulsion.

Sport Specific Shoes

If you play a sport three or more times a week you need to be wearing sport-specific shoes. Determine what you need: A running shoe? Walking? Training? Jogging? Hiking? Exercising?

A jogging shoe, for example, needs to have ample cushions, offer control and steadiness in the heel counter area, flexibility, good traction and lightness. 

Runners wear shoes providing maximum complete shock absorption and good heel control. 

Walking Shoes

If you are a walker, not a runner, your footwear should be lightweight and offer shock absorption in the heel and under the metatarsal (ball) of the foot. This lessens heel pains and soreness in the ball.

When a shoe features a rocker bottom or somewhat rounded sole this assists in a smooth tranfer of weight from the heel to the toe while lessening forces across the foot. This type shoe is rigid in front, which permits the walker to roll off his toes instead of bending through them as is done when wearing running shoes. 

Selecting the Right Pair

You must have your feet measured. You can't rely on shoe size. Shop later in the day when your feet are their biggest. Wear the socks you typically done when running or working out. One foot may be bigger than the other. Fit the shoe to the biggest foot.

Make sure there is a finger's width space between the end of the shoe (the toe box) and your longest toe. Once your foot is in the shoe you should be able to wiggle your toes.
The shoe should be comfortable right off the bat. If not, move on to the next pair.

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