Over the years, sneakers have become the most universal type of footwear everyone has in their closet. Still, as universal as they may be, it’s easy to make the mistake of buying an inadequate pair that might turn out to be not only a waste of money but also a cause of foot related issues. In order to avoid all that, you need to consider the following aspects.
Both Sneakers and Feet Come in Types – Match Them Right
A perfect pair of sneakers means different things for different people because it all comes down to the foot type of every individual, so the purchase shouldn’t be limited solely to what is merely eye-catching to you.
There are three types of arch: low, high and normal, which can be determined by doing a simple test at home – stepping for a few seconds on a piece of paper with wet feet to check out the imprint you leave behind. What’s striking about people with low arches, also called flat feet, is that they are usually able to see most of the foot on the paper, whereas those with high arches would barely see a line between the toes and heel.
This aspect is the natural movement, i.e. the rolling of the foot heel to toe, when walking or running. In normal pronation, the arch protects the foot from the shock through the movements, which isn’t the case with overpronation that happens with individuals with flat feet where the rolling is too much on the inside when they hit the ground, or supination (underpronation) with those with high arches where there’s too much rolling on the outside.
When you don’t wear proper trainers, there are issues that can happen related to overpronation, such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, and tendonitis to name some, whereas when it comes to supination, sprained ankles and even shin splits are quite common consequences.
To prevent this, it’s best to acquire sneakers that offer stability for flat feet, and enough arch support for the narrow footprints (high arches). People lucky enough to have normal arches and pronation would find most sneakers suitable, but to prevent creating an issue it’s advisable to get a pair that won’t alter the natural movement, nothing that’s either too stable or too supportive, but opt for neutral footwear instead with moderate stability and firm midsoles.
Prioritise Proper Fit
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people end up buying the wrong pair. Sometimes the reason is they like some specific design and it’s not available in their own size. In such cases, some people choose appearance over comfort without thinking about the negative side effects. And sometimes, the reason is simply not knowing what proper fit feels like.
A rule of thumb is to avoid buying an inadequate pair that’s not in your size. Shoes that are too tight, apart from giving you painful blisters that might even turn into infections if you’re not careful, could deform your toes as well. In addition, they can aggravate some existing problems in the likes of hammer toes and bone spurs. Shoes that are bigger could make you unstable and result in falling accidents.
To get proper fit, always make sure there’s enough room for the toes, leaving about a thumb of room between the longest toe and the tip of the shoes, and when tied up the heel shouldn’t slide out. Also, make sure you measure the width of your feet too because it’s wearing shoes with a smaller width than that of your feet that’s another aspect which might lead to pain.
In case you’re buying your trainers online, it’s necessary to see whether there’s a sizing chart provided. And if you’re an individual with wide feet, look for models created especially for people like you.
Materials and Features
Always go for breathable materials, otherwise you risk getting fungal infections or smelly feet to say the least. Make sure the upper material offers breathability and focus on features that take comfort up a few notches if you plan on wearing sneakers for hours on a day to day basis. Things to look for are leather lining, mesh, removable and lightweight EVA midsoles, insoles from materials like bamboo that are antibacterial and moisture-wicking, as well as built-in ventilation system for maximum air circulation.
Purpose Determines Style
When it comes to style, a fancier pair would be suitable to combine with chic casual outfits for when running errands around the city, or meeting friends for coffee. However, if you want to find a pair that’s suitable for running or exercising at the gym then it’s best to buy another type of sneakers specifically meant for this purpose. As for the purpose of hiking and travelling, you’d be better off with a model that’s meant to provide the needed support for those long walks.