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Gear up with the right sneaker

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You’ve taken the first step and committed yourself to a work-out program. Now, it’s time to gear up. But with so many footwear options – running sneakers, walking sneakers, run-walk sneakers, cross trainers – where should you begin?

“I recommend trying several different brands and styles before purchasing an exercise shoe,” says Virtua podiatrist Michael Shinder, DPM.

Shoes can be expensive, so do your research.

“Different brands of sneakers have different features, and fit different types of feet,” advises Dr. Shinder. Size, gait, arch height, and exercise habits all factor into exercise shoe decisions.

Fortunately, South Jersey has very good sport-specific stores with well-trained sales people who can give individualized footwear advice.

“As a physical therapist, I have seen many patients with injuries caused by ill-fitting shoes,” says Paul Kasper, MSPT, Virtua’s Director of Sports Medicine. “Wearing the right shoe minimizes risk of injury and helps you achieve your exercise goals.”

But, regardless of your footwear, persistent pain in the ankle, arch, heel or knee is a sign to see a doctor. To achieve the best results for your body, spend the time to find the right shoe.

The bottom line on specialty sneakers
They’re every woman’s dream: shoes that improve your physique as you simply walk around. “Don’t believe the hype,” says Dr. Shinder.

These shoes, also called instability shoes, force you to walk more on the mid-foot, and prevent the usual heel-to-toe step rhythm.

“They will make your butt and thigh muscles work more than a standard sneaker, but these sneakers alone will not deliver that coveted toned leg,” says Dr. Shinder.

He also cautions: “Since these shoes can affect your balance, they should not be worn as your primary daily shoe gear or during rigorous exercise.”

Sneaker buying tips

  • Go for comfort and stability
  • Try on sneaks in the afternoon or evening
  • Tighten and lace the sneaks, then run and jump in them
  • The right shoe doesn’t need to be broken in; it should fit perfectly the moment you try it on.