We tend to spend a large amount of our day on our feet and they can be subject to many stresses and strains. They take the equivalent of approximately 1.5 to 3 times our body-weight in impact. It is important to select shoes that provide appropriate comfort, support and stability to meet the demands of our daily activities.
The key features to look for are:
- Firm midsole. The shoe should remain solid and stable if you try and twist or bend it in the middle
- Firm heel counter. The back of the shoe should not deform or fold down when pressed down upon.
- Cushioned EVA (rubber) sole. This offers the most cushioning especially as most of the surfaces that we walk on are hard and unyielding. The outersole should also be a solid rubber. Avoid anything with varying air pockets, gels etc as this tends to make the shoe more unstable.
- Laces, buckles or velcro straps to hold the foot securely into the shoe.
- Good fit. If there is any deformation of the shoe upper when you put the shoes on then it indicates a poor fit. There should be enough depth and width at the toe box to accommodate the width of the forefoot and the toes. Corns on the tops or in between the toes indicate the shoes are too narrow or shallow.
- Shoes should be comfortable straight away and should not need a ‘break in’ period. If the shoes feel too tight or there is pain, the best option is to select a different style.
General consensus amongst health professionals is that most running shoes are designed to last approximately between 500-800km. This is the equivalent of 45-60 hours of basketball, aerobics or tennis. Even only after 300km the cushioning in most shoes has already started to lose its resilience to pressure and deformation. We commonly see patients wearing shoes that are noticeably worn out and this may pre-dispose them to developing overuse injuries. Sole wear does not necessarily reflect the loss of shock absorption by the shoe. Even with a new looking shoe, adequate shock absorption may be lacking.