Anatomy of a Sports Shoe

Which one is right for me?

Gone are the days when buying sports shoes was simple. To walk into a shoe store and be confronted by multiple choices and options is often disconcerting and frustrating to people, and in most cases enough to convince them to continue in their worn out shoes for an extended period of time. Choosing the most expensive or best looking shoe can often lead to discomfort and in-turn injury if the shoe is not suited to your biomechanics, so it’s beneficial to know what your requirements are before purchasing your next pair. With so many different features, benefits and brands on the market these days it’s always important to consult an expert before making your decision.
Here are a couple of helpful tips on what to consider when looking for your next pair of sports shoes:


With price, aesthetics, and performance on the mind of the average shopper the most important characteristic in finding the right shoe is often the first forgotten. A shoe needs to fit first before anything else is considered. There’s no point in having the most expensive or best looking shoe if it doesn’t fit in the first place. The shoe must be snug around your heel and comfortable around your toes. Allowing too much room in these areas increases the risk of the foot and shoe moving in different planes and can lead to an increase in the chance of injury. All major shoe brands will offer a shoe for the same foot type so it’s a good idea to try on as many pairs as you can. Don’t buy the first shoe that fits well and then find that the second shoe would have fit better.
(Hint: Take note of the time of day and the weather when purchasing shoes. Remember that your feet swell in hot weather, during physical activity, and generally as the day goes on. This must be catered for in the initial fit.)


Now that the fit of the shoe has been taken care of, it’s time to know what you want the shoe to do for you. With seven major footwear brands offering their own version of approximately 10 different technologies it’s in your best interest to consult an expert on the subject. By discussing your level/type of activity and foot type with an expert, the appropriate performance technologies can be prescribed for you. The feel of these technologies will once again vary with different brands so trying on more than one shoe is again preferable.

Beneath all the glitz and glamour that has developed around the new range of sports footwear the basic principle remains……we are all individual and therefore have different needs. Just because your best friend thinks their new pair of runners are the best they’ve ever worn doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same. Consult an expert to point you in the right direction and most importantly, buy the pair that you feel the most comfortable and safe in. Taking your time and getting some helpful advice might be the one thing that prevents an injury, and could also save you some money in the process.

Article Provided by:       Rainer Maier – Orthotist

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