How To Buy Athletic Shoes and Which Type You Need

Last Updated on August 28, 2023 by Ellen Christian

When you’re considering a new exercise routine, one of the first things you need to do is learn how to buy athletic shoes.  Check out these tips.

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How To Buy Athletic Shoes and Which Type You Need

How To Buy Athletic Shoes

When I was younger, I exercised in whatever type of shoes I had on. If I walked during my lunch break at work, I wore my dress flats.  If it was a hot day, I wore flip flops or sandals. And, if they were handy, I grabbed my sneakers.   After years of doing that, I have developed problems with my feet. 

Now, when I’m searching for athletic shoes, I make sure to buy the correct type of athletic shoe for the type of exercise I’m planning on doing. It can be confusing to buy athletic shoes when you are faced with all the different choices at the store.  Cross trainers? Running shoes?  Here are a few tips on how to buy athletic shoes.

How To Buy Athletic Shoes and Which Type You Need

What are the best athletic shoes for walking?

Wondering how to buy athletic shoes for walking? Athletic shoes aren’t all the same and whatever you do, don’t pick an athletic shoe based on what it looks like alone. Yes, I have done this. If you are jogging, walking or running, go with running shoes or walking shoes.  They are made for heel/toe movement.  

How To Buy Athletic Shoes and Which Type You Need

Can I use running shoes for gym work?

If you do aerobics, kickboxing, or weight training, choose cross trainers.  Tennis shoes are for tennis. Basketball shoes are for basketball. If you do more than one kind of exercise, choose one of each. The best athletic shoes for each type of sport will be different. If you’re wondering how to buy athletic shoes, check out the tips at the end of the post.

How To Buy Athletic Shoes and Which Type You Need

How to choose gym shoes

We all stand and walk differently.  How you stand and walk will wear your shoes differently.  A podiatrist can tell by how your shoes wear what types of foot problems you have.  Since I have plantar fasciitis, I need an athletic shoe that has extra cushioning.  Someone with arthritis, fallen arches, etc. will need different types of support. When it’s time to buy athletic shoes, keep in mind any feet problems that you have.

I look for shoes that have a breathable, mesh upper.  No one likes sweaty feet.  To help, even more, I choose cotton socks.  Never, ever wear bare feet in your athletic shoes.  It can encourage the growth of bacteria and fungus and cause all sorts of problems in the future.

walking running jogging shoes

How to choose the right shoes for your feet

Choosing the right pair is just as important when you buy athletic shoes as when you buy athletic equipment. You wouldn’t play baseball with a football would you?

  • Choose based on the sport that you’ll be doing.
  • Replace them at least every six months or when they start to show wear.
  • Understand your budget. A $200 shoe is not necessarily better than a $50 pair.
  • Get fitted at the store. Don’t assume that because you have worn a size 8 for 5 years you will wear it today. Feet change.
  • Be flexible about brands. Don’t buy based on brand alone. It’s OK to have a favorite brand, but don’t choose exclusively based on the name.
  • Shop in the afternoon. Your feet swell as the day goes on so shopping in the morning won’t give you an accurate fit.
  • Wear the socks you plan to wear while you’re exercising. That will give you an accurate idea of how the shoes will fit.
  • Allow for a thumbs width beyond the tip of your big toe to the end of the shoe.
  • Don’t rush. Try on a variety of different styles and brands so you can get a good idea of which you like best before you buy the wrong athletic shoes.

I’m the first person to admit that I care about what my shoe looks like when I buy athletic shoes. While it’s definitely not the first thing I look for, it does matter. Don’t choose a shoe you dislike because you won’t want to wear it.

Now that you know how to buy athletic shoes, check out these tips for buying walking shoes.

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