How can I find a good tennis shoe?

I get this question A LOT at the office.  It’s probably one of the most common questions I get daily, actually.  How can you tell if you’re wearing “good” shoes?  There are so many varieties of shoes and styles that I can see how overwhelming it is for my patients to pick out a pair of good athletic shoes.  As a podiatrist, I have studied every minute detail in an athletic shoe and learned the do’s and don’ts of fitting shoes for certain foot types. 

However, I can’t be with my patients to help them pick out their shoes at the mall.  So instead of going through the anatomy of a tennis shoe, fabrics, durability blah, blah, blah…I have three EASY things you can do in the shoe store to test whether or not you’re about to buy a “do or don’t” shoe.  Here goes…

  1. Place your hands on the bottom of the shoe, one at the sole of the heel and the other at the tip of the shoe where the toes are.  Now press inward on both ends.  The shoe should allow bend at the toe box, the end of the shoe where the toes are.  If you see a bend in the middle of the shoe, then it is not supplying enough support to the midfoot and can cause instability to your foot.
  2. Next turn your attention to the heel.  Press in on both sides of the heel with your thumb and fingers.  This area is called the heel counter and should feel firm and supportive.  If you press in and the sides of the heel completely collapse, then there is no support to the back of the shoe.
  3. Finally grasp the shoe at the heel and the toe box (where the toes go in the shoe) and apply a twisting motion to both ends.  A supportive shoe only allows for a little torque in the shoe.  If the shoe has a lot of torque with applying a light twisting motion, then the shoe will not have adequate arch support.

That’s it!  So when you’re looking in the store for a new pair of exercise shoes to start a new exercise program or continue one you’re currently on, try these easy tips for finding a good pair of shoes.  They don’t have to cost hundreds of dollars as long as they follow the three easy rules above.  If you have any questions or concerns about foot pain you may be experiencing from your shoes, please call Advanced Podiatry at (813)875-0555 for an appointment today!