Did you know that up to 70% of athletes are wearing shoes that don’t fit their feet properly? And, these shoes can lead to everything from foot pain to more serious injuries like twisted ankles and torn ACLs. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, wearing the proper shoes is essential for not just your foot health, but your overall health.
In addition, wearing shoes that don’t fit or aren’t right for your sport can impact your performance. If you want to outperform your competition or hit a new personal record, wearing the proper footwear is a must.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the importance of wearing the right shoes and how they can improve your performance.
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Some people have a simple pair of lace-ups they call “gym shoes” and wear them for everything from running to weight lifting to basketball. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all shoe for sports! Depending on your needs, you need to consider a few factors when buying a new pair of shoes.
Picking the right pair of shoes is about picking the right amount of shock absorption. If your shoes aren’t absorbing shock, your body is. This risks damage to your ankles, knees, hips, and even your back.
On average, running a mile takes 2,000 steps. If your shoes aren’t pulling their weight, that’s 2,000 repetitions of high-stress impact on your body!
If you play a sport with a lot of jumping and running movement, shock absorption is a big factor. The more shock your shoe absorbs, the less your body has to. This will prevent injuries so you can stay in the gym or the game.
For sports like football and soccer, rapid direction and speed changes are a bit part of the game. This means finding the right level of traction for your shoes. Your shoes should allow you to move in any direction without staying stuck, but should also prevent slipping.
This is especially important for your knee health. If you cut an angle and your foot stays stuck or slides unexpectedly, you risk tearing your ACL or your meniscus. Both injuries will have you off the pitch for at least six months and can be very expensive to rehab, so it’s worth investing in a new pair of shoes to avoid this.
The Right Support
No matter what sport you play, you need to make sure the arch support works well for your shoes. You should always ask for a gait check when buying a new pair of shoes. You can also go to a physical therapist for a running analysis to make sure your shoes work well with your foot anatomy.
Your feet are similar to a fingerprint in that they’re entirely unique to you. They are the sum of every step you’ve taken, every injury that’s ever modified your gait, and every muscle imbalance. For that reason, you can get a pair of custom orthotics that will fit your feet like a glove.
In addition, for sports like basketball that have a lot of back and forth movement, you should have proper arch support. Your shoes don’t have to be too high; you don’t want them to cause blisters or dig into your Achilles. However, they should provide adequate support so that your ankles don’t twist.
Most athletes wear shoes far longer than they should. It’s easier to keep wearing a pair that works well than to go find a new one! So they keep wearing the same pair of shoes until they have holes in them and they can’t wear them anymore.
There’s no hard rule for when you should replace your shoes, but for running shoes and walking shoes, most studies agree that you should buy a new pair every 300 miles. At that point, the soles are generally worn down and compressed even if you don’t see any damage on the outside.
You can also go by feel. If your shoes are getting uncomfortable or feel stiff, it’s time to get a new pair.
If you wear your shoes past their natural lifespan, they won’t have as much shock absorption, the support will be weaker, and the treads will be worn. In other words, all three of the three most important factors will be impacted!
If you want to extend the life of your footwear, you can buy multiple pairs and rotate between them throughout the week. This will prevent the soles from losing their spring.
Sports shoes can be both fashionable and functional. As long as you don’t sacrifice function, it’s fine to go flashy! Any athlete can attest that a cool new piece of gear makes them more eager to train, and this morale boost can improve performance during games.
If you’re looking for basketball shoes, a great example is the Nike LeBron shoes. They walk the fine line of stylish look and functional design. They have all the ankle support, traction, and shock absorption for the game without sacrificing looks.
Start Picking the Proper Footwear Like a Pro
Picking the proper footwear all boils down to three things: shock absorption, traction, and support. Your sport will dictate which of these three factors is the most important, so follow the above guidelines and start picking the right shoes for your sport! You’re sure to notice that you both perform better, and feel better while you play.
If you enjoyed learning about picking the right shoes for the job, we have lots of similar health and lifestyle advice on our blog. Check it out for more!