Like so many others, I'm walking (and trying to run) more than ever before.
My morning walk is the highlight of my day and checking my step count has become second nature. But while I've got the new workout gear (an obvious lockdown purchase), I don't own the right pair of shoes.
Side note... these characters would own the pandemic. Post continues after video.
As I recently learned, different types of exercise require different pairs of shoes.
So, to figure out which would be best for walking, running or weight training, I spoke to podiatrist Sarah Sweeney, of Sarah Sweeney Podiatry in Queensland, to understand what I need to know before investing in a new pair of sneakers.
When shopping for new exercise shoes, what are the first things you need to consider?
As Sarah explained, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before buying a new pair of kicks.
First, you need to think about what type of exercise you're doing - whether that's walking, running, or training in a gym. Then look at some podiatrist-approved brands.
"I would only ever exercise in a good quality shoe, specifically made for my type of exercise. The brands I generally stick to are New Balance, Brookes, Asics, Mizuno and potentially Hokka," she said.
Sarah also has a list of things you should look out for when trying shoes on:
- A nice firm heel counter.
- You want lots of cushioning.
- A good tread.
- Check that you can’t twist the shoe at the midfoot.
- Check that the forefoot doesn’t bend backwards more than 45 degrees.
- Check that the shoe bends back at the forefoot, not the midfoot.
Why is it important to have different exercise shoes for different types of workouts?
"Different types of workouts place different demands on your feet and lower limbs," Sarah explained.
"For example, when walking, your feet generally go from heel to toe, your feet absorb about one to two times your body weight and your weight is more evenly distributed than when you run.
"Running, however, we see a lot more excess movement with your feet," she said.
"Your muscles and tendons are working harder to stabilise you, your feet absorb about two to three times your body weight and there are moments where both feet are not on the ground. [So] there’s a lot more impact.
"Some sports like netball for example, really require a specific shoe for that outer lateral support in order to prevent sprains," Sarah added.
What features make training shoes different from running or walking shoes?
If you've been walking or running in training shoes (like me, oops), perhaps think again, as they aren't designed for long distances.
"Training shoes usually have extra ankle support and they accommodate forward and lateral movement for that high agility sort of training," Sarah explained.