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Staying Active This Fall? Remember Your Summer Shoe Gear!


Now that the warm weather is here, it will be easier for us to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine. It is important for us to consider what we are wearing on our feet, since the average person will walk thousands of miles over a lifetime! Many people don’t realize the tremendous pressure that is put on their feet while exercising.

According to sneaker expert Jason Parkhurst from the Runner’s House, there is no “Best Brand” of shoe gear. Rather, it is important to know if you prefer a stability sneaker or a neutral sneaker. Stability sneakers tend to hug your arch and can help many overpronators. It is important to try on several pairs to ensure you are comfortable and have a good fit. A common misconception is that shoes need a break-n period. The American Podiatric Medical Association reminds us that shoe gear should be comfortable right away.
It is important to consider the structure of your shoe gear. There are 3 main parts of a sneaker which you should consider. The heel counter is located behind your heel; press on both sides of the heel to make sure it does not collapse. The toe box surrounds your toes; the toe area should be flexible and bend with your toes. Many sneakers have toe boxes made of forgiving mesh which is a great option for any toe deformities. The sole of your sneaker is the bottom of the sneaker that comes in direct contact with the ground. Select shoe gear with a rigid middle. You should never be able to twist the middle of your shoe/sneaker.

As online shopping grows in popularity, there is a great temptation to buy your shoe gear online. Unfortunately, this can lead to foot pain. The preferred approach is to go to a store with personal service. Your feet should be measured while you are standing at the end of the day when swelling may be present. There is not much uniformity in size between brands, so don’t get your size fixed in your brain. Be willing to try on several different styles and sizes. Gait patterns are highly unique so discovering what structural feature works for you can be one of trial and error. Be sure to replace your sneakers every year, or after 300-500 miles of running or walking, or 45-60 hours of basketball, dance or tennis.

Some top brands of sneakers include Asics, Brooks, Hoka One One, New Balance, Saucony and Altra. High quality brands of sandals for women (during those exceptionally warm days) include Birkenstock, Munro, Pisces, Mephisto, Aerosoles, and Clarks. For men, some high quality brands include leather sandals by SAS, Rockport, Vionic Propet and Merrell. Flip flops should be avoided (except for a short walk to the beach) due to their lack of support and cushion as well as the high chance of trauma to the foot.

Your shoe gear should help you function better. Buy smart to protect the 26 bones, 33 joints, and 112 ligaments in each of your feet. There is no magic shoe, but it is important to wear the appropriate shoe for the specific activity you are performing to improve your comfort and performance, and mostly importantly, to prevent injuries.

Katherine Ward-Buckley, DPM, earned her Medical Degree from New York College of Podiatric Medicine in New York, NY. She is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and specializes in Podiatry. Dr. Ward-Buckley is seeing patients at Crystal Run’s West Nyack location.