To avoid the agony of the feet, you should wear athletic shoes geared to your sport. Running shoes, for example, won't cut it on the basketball court because they lack the lateral support needed for all those hard, swift moves, and the stability for a smooth landing after a slam dunk.
If you wear the wrong athletic shoes, you could end up sidelined with torn tendons or damaged ligaments. This doesn't mean you should buy the most expensive shoe for your sport, only that you should do your homework before you go shopping
Take a look at different shoes and read up on the materials and stability technology. Study your feet too. Is your arch high or average? Are your old shoes worn down in certain areas? How often do you participate in your sport? Are you continually active or a casual participant? These are questions you might review at a specialty shoe shore.
Most specialty stores are a bit costly, but they generally have trained personnel to help you find the right shoe. At a department store you would likely be on your own. Here is a review of some of the latest athletic shoes on the market. All are for both sexes unless otherwise noted.
Running Shoe: New Balance 1226
Price tag: $140
Although this shoe is heavy on features that stabilize your foot, it's flexible and plush, both must-have features for runners. A sock liner conceals the firm midsole cushioning that provides lightweight shock absorption. Runner's World performed tests that show the 1226 is firmer than New Balance's previous version, putting it in the stability category. If you're an average-to-large size high-mileage runner desiring a supportive shoe, look no further.
Tip: Buy your first pair of running shoes at a store instead of online so you can test how they feel. You may need to buy them at least one size larger than your regular shoes as your toes need room to move around. Good cushioning will help you to avoid shin splints.
Walking Shoe: MBT Fora
Price tag: $245
MBT shoes have been hailed as shoes that tone your muscles, strengthen your core and improve your posture. They supposedly activate muscles throughout your body as you stand or walk, and give you the sensation of walking on sand. It's not the snazziest looking shoe, but it has a firm sole, good traction and lightweight support and antimicrobial mesh. They will make you stand taller — the heel is elevated. The verdict is out on other benefits.
Tip: Look for a stiff heel and rigid midsole in your walking shoe so you can achieve a good rocking motion. If you walk faster than some people jog (race walking), you should buy a running shoe.
Soccer Shoe: Adidas Men's Predator Absolion X FG
Price tag: $70
The Absolion was created for the big leagues, but you can grab a pair at amazon.com. The uppers are made of buttery soft grain leather so you can get a smooth fit and a good feel for the soccer ball. The insole has a comforting sock liner and the outsole Traxion EG technology to keep you on your feet. The designers even improved the shoe lace loops to give you better contact with the ball. The Predator technology comes into play when you make forefoot contact and get more power and more force.
Tip: Many soccer players like to wear shoes tight, so prepare for painful blisters and irritation. If blisters are unbearable, you might want to see a podiatrist to rule out any biomechanical problems.
Tennis Shoe: Prince T22
Price tag: $90
The Prince T22 is an upgrade over the Prince T10, and was worth the wait. The ventilation is better, with a breathable leather upper and mesh tongue to keep your feet cool when you're holding court. Nothing belies the durability for which Prince is known. Prince is offering a 6-month durability guarantee with each purchase. Along with durability, you get comfort. A ShockEraser insert has been added to absorb shock, and a SoftSpring PU insert in the forefoot disperses shock. You just might be able to rest easier after a few hours of chasing balls all over the court.
Tip: The insole is usually the first part of a tennis shoe to break down. Demand durability!
Basketball Shoes: South Beach Lebron 8
Price tag: $160
It's a good bet those angry Clevelanders won't be running out to buy the South Beach Lebron 8 shoe, also known as the Pre-Heat. In any case they would have to wait until November 12, 2010 for these shoes to debut at nikestore.com. Until then they're available only at House of Hoops in Miami. The Lebron 8 stands out among other basketball shoes with its SoBe-esque turquoise and black upper. More cool color schemes are expected to be released soon, including the Miami Heat's red and black. The Nike logo is prominent, and the tongue features an intricately designed lion, perhaps hungry for a championship. You get ultimate cushioning, lockdown control and lightweight comfort. For $160, there should also be an autographed photo of King James in each shoe box.
Tip: When wearing basketball shoes, check your ankles. You want strong support on both sides of your ankle.
Cross trainers: Women's Asics Gel-Intensity
Price tag: $100
Your feet will stay firmly on the ground in just about any activity when you're wearing the Asics Gel-Intensity with unwavering lateral support. It's lightweight, enabling you to move faster. The Gel cushioning and mesh upper are added comfort measures. And get this: Memory foam will mold to your heel for an added personalized effect. You can also count on good traction with the durable outsole.
Tip: Cross trainers are great for activities like boot camp, which combine jogging with squats, lunges and jumping jacks.
No matter what sport or activity you are into, the perfect shoe is out there. All it takes is a little research, and knowing what you're looking for to take you to the next level.