Some people seem to know what type of arches they have, others don’t. When you start any type of exercise program, it is a good idea to get a recommendation from a podiatrist, personal trainer, or physical therapist on a good store to shop for shoes.
You want to make sure the store’s staff are very knowledgable about shoes, foot problems (there are many), and are willing to take enough time to answer all of the questions you might have. The staff should be able to evaluate your feet and determine what type of arch you have: flat feet, feet that moderately overpronate, or even feet with high arches (the least common arch type).
Everybody knows that when it comes to shoes, one size does not fit all. But not everybody knows that each shoe is designed for a specific foot type and there are many shoes available for all different foot types. A shoe that “fits” won’t just hold your foot securely but will work in harmony with that foot type to enhance gait and reduce the risk of injury.
In our store we help elite runners, but more often our customers are people who run to stay in shape and just need the right shoe to start an exercise program. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter if you’re a pro athlete training for big race or just someone trying to stay in shape, whether you love running or hate it (or both), the shoe just needs to work. When you use a shoe that’s not right for your foot type, you risk derailing your efforts with pain and even injuries.
We live in a city, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, where there is a large population of retired people who might need shoes just to walk around. The CU area is also home to 40,000 students at the University of Illinois, many of which run for recreation or to avoid the dreaded “freshman 15.” Whatever your needs might be, the staff at the running store you go to should give you information, answer your questions, fit you properly, and be willing to take the time to allow you to try on a number of different shoes.
In our store, weather permitting, we urge our customers to go outside (yes, outside) and walk or run and to try on several different shoes. It never hurts to try on shoes that are different from what you usually wear because shoes tend to change over time (and so do feet!), so a person’s shoe preference can certainly change.
So take my advice, do your homework, and have fun shopping. Exercise can be fun and injury-free if you are wearing the right shoes.