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Beyond Trim

Choose Your Shoes Wisely

Some women are obsessed with handbags. For me it’s all about shoes. I don’t even know how many pair I own, and I am afraid to count them. I do know how many pairs of running shoes, though. I recently found a brand I love so much that I donated all my old ones to a charity.

The shoes you wear for walking or running can make a big difference. Finding a shoe that fits, is right for the shape of your foot, and matches your activity can help to make your walks or runs more comfortable and help to prevent injury in the short and long term.

There are several factors to consider when shopping for shoes. Here are just a few:

Choose a shoe that’s designed for your activity

Running and walking shoes are made for forward movement so they shouldn’t be worn for sports involving side to side movement. Conversely, shoes made for training or dancing may not provide enough support for running or walking. And I always cringe when I see people walking any distance in flip flops, which should come with a warning label...something like “Unsafe at Any Speed.”

Consider the arch

Your feet may be flat or high-arched or somewhere in the middle. Shoes for flat feet are designed for stability and to control the motion of the foot so that it doesn’t roll. Shoes for normal arches also provide stability and have some cushioning to absorb shock. If you have high arches you will need a shoe with extra cushioning and a bit more flexibility. If you don’t know where your foot lies on this spectrum there’s an easy way to find out. Step onto some concrete or cardboard with bare, wet feet and look at your footprint. Flat feet leave a solid imprint with little, if any, curve at the instep; while a high arched foot might leave a print of only the ball of the foot and the heel.

The shape of your foot may also determine whether some shoe brands are a good fit for you. The length of your second toe, the width of your heel, etc. For example, I have a wide forefoot and a narrow heel, plus a bunion thanks to wearing high heels too much in my younger years (why don’t they tell us these things?!) Luckily, I found a shoe to accommodate.

Running and walking shoes should be replaced often; the American Podiatric Medicine Association suggests every 600-800 miles. Their website is also a good resource for helping you to select the proper footwear for any situation.