We’ve all had that feeling when a new lease of life and determination to be more active and sporty comes over us. An admirable mindset and what better way to double down on the good feeling and strengthen convictions than with a new pair of snazzy, purpose-designed footwear?

It is important to pick a pair that facilitates best practices, reduces the risk of injury, and hopefully looks good doing it. But how to choose? The number of sports footwear choices on a typical Australian high street anywhere from Sydney to Perth is staggering. And not all of them are even remotely appropriate for the job they might seem to suggest, being more on the fashion side of the equation. Here are some general principles to follow when setting out to purchase sports footwear.

Purchase shoes from a speciality store

Knowledgeable staff can be very helpful in making your choice, even measuring your feet, as specialist stores will almost certainly offer you the option to do so.

When trying on footwear

  • Do so at the end of the day when your feet are swollen
  • Ensure your largest foot is comfortable

We all have one foot slightly larger than the other and it’s no use buying footwear only comfortable for the smaller foot.

  • Wear the same socks you plan to wear when participating in the sport
  • Lace the shoes as you will if you purchase them
  • Ensure the heel does not slip
  • Double-check the fit

It is all too easy to get giddy at the amazing look and feel of your chosen footwear and get lost in the moment. Try to ignore any pressure you might sense from sales staff and really get a feel for the shoes. Walk around, jog, jump, and generally test them out. Mimic the movements you expect to perform when participating in your chosen sport. The shoes should be comfortable from the moment you put them on so don’t talk yourself into believing the myth you can break them in over time.

Consider sport-specific footwear

Sport-specific footwear exists for a reason, whether the thick, stiff sole of a basketball shoe such as the Nike Dunk Low or the wider, sturdier outside edge of tennis shoes, facilitating rapid changes in direction. Some sports shoes are suitable for a wider range of activities but be sure to check out the bespoke ones and give them a chance first. This is especially true if you plan to participate in the activity regularly as you will test the strength and prowess of the shoes to the maximum with repeated, high-impact use.

Invest in a new pair regularly

Even the best sports shoes cannot live too long under the duress of fast-paced, energetic sporting activity or long-distance running. Accept that your footwear is an indispensable element of enjoying your sport safely and fork out for a new pair when you feel they are flagging.

The bottom line

Almost half of all Australians wake up with some kind of foot pain at least once a week and a huge proportion do so because they have chosen their footwear poorly. Your feet take a lot of punishment when participating in any activity, let alone active sports, and it is the least you can do to provide them with the most supportive, comfortable footwear you can.

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