The mistakes you're making when choosing the right sports shoe

woman running in sneakers
Depending on what you're doing in them, you might be choosing your sneakers all wrong. Photo credit: Getty.

I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. I hate the actual process of getting there: lacing up my sneakers, struggling into a sports bra, venturing out on a run when the Auckland sky looks characteristically dodgy. But then when I'm doing it, I feel great. 

Or at least, I usually do. But I noticed recently that post-run, instead of the usual endorphin high, I've been battling aching feet and sore knees. I'm 25 rather than 65, so what gives?

It turns out it's not just my wine-a-day habit (although it's probably not helping) but also not wearing the right sneakers for my feet. So I went last week to get my shoes checked out by a professional.

I have to admit, comparing the old, beaten-to-death New Balance sneakers on my feet to the hundreds of snazzy kicks on the walls of the St Luke's Athlete's Foot was both embarrassing and overwhelming, and I wasn't quite sure where to start. 

Luckily I was soon in the hands of the lovely Seung Song, and if you go, I would highly recommend her expertise. She was whipping sneakers on and off me so fast they were a blur, like some sort of sneaker ninja with incredible nails. 

According to their MyFit3D technology, it turns out I was choosing my regular runners all wrong. I went for a little stroll along the catwalk which analysis your entire foot, and revealed where I place my weight, where my foot rolls in, and probably what I had for breakfast that morning. 

The inner workings of my feet - you're welcome.
The inner workings of my feet - you're welcome. Photo credit: Newshub.

I have a high arch and a curved foot (always knew I was a curvy girl) meaning I needed shoes with lots of support. 

It sounds simple, but working out what your foot shape is and your walk is critically important to choosing the right fit - after all, you wouldn't squeeze your body into the wrong clothes, right?

I ended up with the comfiest pair of Asics I've ever been in, that made my poor beaten down running shoes look very sad in comparison. 

My old, beaten up New Balance sneakers next to my shiny new Asics.
My old, beaten up New Balance sneakers next to my shiny new Asics. Photo credit: Newshub.

Here are the three main mistakes you might also be making when choosing your next sneaker:

You're giving into trends

I have to admit - when I saw some of the pop-coloured, lightweight Nikes on the shelf, my materialistic heart wanted them. But with Seung's help, I soon realised I need a much more supportive shoe, with lots of cushioning under the arch. If you're planning on doing walking, running or lots of gymming in your sneakers, don't care too much what they look like. The novelty will soon wear off, and it's how they feel that will get you out the door and hitting the pavement! 

You're wearing your shoes too long

When I was asked how long I had been pummeling my poor old shoes, I truthfully admitted, "maybe a year and a half?" I swear I saw something like physical pain cross over Seung's face. It turns out most sneakers have a lifespan of 500 kilometres, meaning if like me you go on lots of walks and the occasional run, as well as throwing them on to hit the malls at Christmas (serious cardio) you're going to wear them out quicker than you think. That can lead to injury, so hit the stores to get your next pair sooner rather than later. 

You're not identifying your needs

If you go in and choose yourself, you might end up getting shoes made for marathon running when you're really intending on wearing them to Pump class. Tell an expert in-store what your main intention is (daily walks with the dog? A new boxing regime?) and they'll be able to point you in the right direction. You might need something cushioned like me, or perhaps you need something much more lightweight. Don't be afraid to ask for help! 



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