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By John Parmakian

Four rules to keep in mind when buying exercise shoes

More than just sending a style message, exercise shoes are designed to provide the comfort and support needed for specialized activities. Buying the right athletic shoes entails more than seeking the most visually appealing shoe. Finding the right shoes requires knowing what the shoe is needed for. It requires knowing where to look and how to get the best fit. Here are four rules to keep in mind when buying exercise shoes to make finding and buying the right shoe easy.

  1. Identify the activity for which new shoes are required

Each activity or sport puts its own set of stresses on the feet and the legs. These stresses are identified and supported by the right shoe. The wrong shoe will not only not provide the necessary support, but general discomfort will increase. On top of discomfort, the likelihood of injury rises significantly.

With the activity identified, finding the right shoe is as easy as finding the shoe named specifically for the exercise.

  1. Go to an athletic shop

Proper athletic footwear is a specialty item. General athletic styles can be found in the average shoe store, but for a wide choice of specialized athletic footwear, the best location is an athletics store with a focus on athleticism over style and a large representation of sports with a decent selection of shoes for each.

Not only is the selection going to be far larger, the staff will be more knowledgeable about the specific needs that different activities have. They will be able to provide more in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of different shoes on a much better level than anywhere else.

  1. Measure first

Finding the right fit means measuring your feet first. Go shoe shopping in the late afternoon or evening, after a day that has involved walking, and measure your feet. The swelling from a day's walking gives the most accurate measure of the active foot. This decreases the likelihood of a shoe becoming too tight halfway through exercising.

  1. Always wear comfortable shoes

The foot is one of the most sensitive parts of the body, with millions of nerve endings. The sole of the foot is extra-sensitive and feels the pressure of every impact. Wearing uncomfortable shoes quickly becomes unbearable with so many nerves being irritated, and exercise exponentially increases the discomfort.

Buying uncomfortable shoes that need to be broken in leads to unbearable workouts. Always buy shoes that start out comfortable; they can only get more comfortable from there.

Worn-out shoes that no longer provide adequate support will cause foot, leg, and back discomfort. For runners this discomfort can begin at around 400-500 miles, but the shoes need to be replaced regardless of comfort at that point.

Exercise shoes are a specialty item. Crafted for a specific purpose, no substitute can be found for the right pair of shoes. As with all specialty items, the best place to find them is a specialty store. Getting the most current possible foot measurement before anything else is important for finding comfortable-fitting shoes. Never wear exercise shoes that need to be broken in or are uncomfortable. With these tips in mind, buying the right exercise shoe should be easy.

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