Sports Shoes

The team at James Pascoe Podiatry offers a number of tips to help you choose the right shoe for your sport. There are many factors to consider when selecting appropriate footwear and ensuring a smooth fit. An ill-fitting shoe can cause premature damage and injury. This often results in a range of conditions including heel pain, shin splints, foot and leg pain and Achilles tendinopothy.

The motions performed in some sports vary greatly between those required of a different sport, placing stress on different areas of the body. While a walking shoe allows your foot to push off the ground naturally, a running shoe is designed to absorb impact at the heel.

If the shoe fits...

Length: The shoe should allow your foot to spread and lengthen during movement

Width: Your foot should not be squeezed around the toes, nor should it allow too much movement at the front of the shoe.

Depth: If you have orthotics to place in your shoe, you will need extra depth.

Heel Width: The heel should be cupped, providing stability. If you wear orthotics, you should fit them in the shoe when trying it on.

Grip: Your heel should not slip on the back of the shoe when walking or running.

The right pair of shoes should be comfortable and stable, allowing you to be active without restricting your movements. Ill-fitting shoes can cause blisters, corns, calluses and foot injuries and the continual wearing of inappropriate shoes can lead to long-term injuries.

The Shoe’s Structure

There are features of the shoe to check for when trying on new shoes. These include:

The ‘Last’ shape: A ‘last’ is the form onto which the shoe is built. It can be made from wood, metal or plastic and dictates the overall shape of the shoe. There are three main types of last -straight, standard or curved. The shape of the last should be matched with the shape of your foot. For example, curved lasts are best for feet that roll outwards.

Midsole Density: The density of your midsole should be selected based on the type of foot or activity you plan to do.

Torsion: Some torsion is required to allow your foot to move

Flexibility: The shoe should flex at the ball of the foot, allowing you to move your foot without impact the big toe joint.

Length: Once fitted and standing, there should be a thumb’s width between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.

Fastening: Your shoe should be firmly tied to ensure support and to prevent foot fatigue.

When shopping for a new running or sports shoe, be sure to do it in the afternoon. As feet swell during the day, this will ensure your feet have expanded to their maximum size. Always choose shoes that feel comfortable. If they feel uncomfortable in the store, chances are they will continue to feel uncomfortable when you get them home.

Try on both shoes, as most people have one foot larger than the other. Always buy the size that fits the larger foot. When you are buying a sports shoe, try it on with the style of sock you would normally wear. And ALWAYS bring your orthotics when trying on shoes, as it is important that these fit correctly.

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