I started playing hockey recently and to help get fit faster I started running. The first few days were fine. But I noticed that my old pair of shoes weren’t just good enough. I noticed some brusing over my big toe and even a few blisters after a run.
Sigh.....I got to go get a new pair.
Selecting an athletic shoe is important to ensure optimum performance and prevent injury. Selecting the latest version from an establish brand may not be the best thing for you. Buying the most expensive pairs in the market may not also be wise.
What you need to know is what to look for when purchasing your shoes. This is more so if you are going to be using it often. And it doesn’t matter whether you are a man or woman - getting a proper pair is the common sense thing to do – period. Traditionally, the female shoe was a scaled down model of the male version. This is now changing as more and more manufactures realize that female feet are not “small” male feet. The female foot typically has a narrower achilles tendon, a narrower heel in relation to the forefoot, and a foot that is narrower in general than its male counterpart.
Type of feet
Mechanics of the foot. The movement from heel strike to toe off during a stride determines the type of foot. Correct amount of inward movement of the foot (pronation) allows the foot to absorb the force of the stride. Too much pronation will cause buckling over the inner aspect of the foot and is not good. Too little pronation increases pressure over the outer part of the foot.There a three basic type of feet. A rough assessment can be done by the WET TEST.
Wet you feet by stepping into a shallow container of water. Step out onto a piece of absorbent paper and see the tracing made by your foot.
1. The overpronator – the flat foot – no/mild inner arch.
a. The foot rotates from heel strike with pressure being concentrated over the inner edge of the foot.
2. The underpronator – the high arched – exaggerated inner arch
a. There is under rotation with pressure being concentrated over the outer aspect of the foot.
3. The neutral
a. The foot maintains a normal amont of pronation during stride. Approximately half of the mid region is seen
1 2 3
Shape of the shoe
Based on the type of feet you have, the shape of the shoe you should choose differs.
Overpronators should use a shoe with a straight shape. This gives the most control of foot motion and are general called – Motion Control Shoes.
Underpronators should use curved shoes (up to a 7 degree curve). This gives most support to the outer part of the foot and are called – Support Shoes.
Neutral foot type should use a semicurved shoe – Stability Shoes – This gives moderate arch support on the inner foot.
Once you understand the type of shoe you need you’ll need to ensure that it fits well.
There are some basic determinations to be made in the fitting of shoes. One must first ascertain that the length is correct. This can be guided by the “rule of thumb” test performed by pressing on the end of the shoe while the wearer is applying full weight. There should be between half and a full width of the examiner's thumb between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
The next step in the fitting process is to determine proper width. The “pinch” test helps with this. The individual stands in the shoe while the examiner tries to pinch a small amount of material in the upper between the thumb and index finger across the forefoot of the shoe. Make sure that the heel does not slip up and down while walking. This will predispose you to injuries of the achilles tendon.
The final test is a determination of the flex point of the shoe in relation to the metatarsal break (the part of the front of the foot that bends when you step) of the foot. If the shoe does not have the proper degree of flexibility in the appropriate location, one can expect potential injury. This however depends on the sport one plays. Having too flexible a shoe in some sport can be detrimental too – eg – soccer. When in doubt ask the doctor/podiatrist on the best option for you.
Tips while purchasing
- Feet tend to swell at the end of the day or after vigorous activity, this should be taken into consideration.
- In most individuals, one foot is larger than the other. Size for the larger foot.
- Bring along the socks that you are going to use with your shoe.
- Shoe size does not remain static over the years. Always measure your size before purchasing.
- Bring along your current footwear to allow assessment of wear and foot type by the sales advisor.
- Purchase a comfortable size. Don’t purchase one that is too tight expecting it to stretch.
- Walk or run in the shoe to assess comfort before purchasing.