Any athlete understands the value of wearing a good pair of athletic shoes. They are as valuable to feet as a good set of tires are to a car – things will simply just not work without them.
The right pair of shoes will be determined by how you intend to use them. The best pair of hiking boots ever will be useless when applied to a ballet performance, while excellent running shoes are wasted on a very technical hiking trail. The main reason for this is that using the shoes in the wrong way will lead to certain parts of the body not receiving the support it would have had from the right kind of shoes.
Most good shoe stores will train their staff up to a level where they will be able to give you the best advice based on shoes across the industry – from the flashiest pair of Nike shoes for sale in the store, to the entry-level, but perfectly capable, shoe from a lesser-known brand. The trick lies in knowing what’s out there, and what is the best shoe for your needs. (Surprisingly, it’s not always the pricier option!)
What’s your shoes’ job?
How you spend your time is how you should buy your shoes. By this I mean that the activities that you most partake in, are the ones that will dictate what kind of shoes you should be spending money on. The idea is to spend your money on footwear that is optimized for your specific activity. In turn, buying purpose-specific footwear will ensure that you are not wasting money, and that you stand to benefit from all the points that make your shoes right for the particular job.
What is the difference between walking shoes and running shoes?
During the course of a day, you will do a lot of walking, with a bit of running sprinkled into the mix. Despite the apparent similarities between the two, you might be surprised to find out that the biomechanics movement generated by the two respective disciplines, actually varies greatly.
Walking is a very natural human movement, but when it starts becoming a case of several miles to be covered in one day, performance matters. High performance walking shoes will offer a lot of cushioning to prevent chafing and blistering over long distances, while stability over the heels and ankles is crucial to the long-term health of your spine and alignment.
Running is a whole other kettle of fish, as it greatly increases the impacts on the joints, and puts you at much greater risk of fatigue due to this impact. The speed at which you move when running is also reason to pursue something with better padding, a lighter weight (to improve speed) and thicker soles to absorb the pressure to the knees and ankles.
The nature of your activity does not matter as much as matching the shoes to what you’re doing. Follow this rule, and you are guaranteed success in finding that perfect footwear!