MOVING FREE: Picking your next pair of sneakers

Ok the buds are budding again, the coats are off and its time to take it back outside. Need a new pair of sneakers? You’re not alone. This time of year I get lots of emails saying, “What kind of athletic shoes should I buy for walking or jogging outside? ”

There’s no one answer. There are just about as many shoes as there are feet. Yours are unique, but one rule applies to all.

Sneakers need to feel great right out of the box. No break-in!

They also need to be sport specific. Stick with a shoe that’s designed for your particular activity.

So how do you pick a shoe? Ask your feet.

Check out the regular shoes you have at home. Where are they worn down?

If they’re worn on the inside edge you have low arches and point your feet inward. Try athletic shoes with good arch support.

If your shoes wear on the outside you point your feet outward. You need a shoe with more cushioning and good lateral support.

If you have even wear on your heels, you walk and run with your feet mostly straight ahead. You can buy any quality shoe that feels good on your foot.

What is a quality shoe anyway?

Heel box needs to be on the stiff side and comfortably keep your heel from popping out

The toe box needs to flex but not so much as to let your foot twist. Your big toe shouldn’t hit the front of the shoe

The upper needs to surround your foot and give it the amount of comfortable support your particular foot needs

The shoe should have enough cushioning to absorb impact but not so much as to make it unstable

You should be able to get a good pair for under a hundred bucks

But what about toning shoes?

The principle behind these is that the design of the shoe’s sole keeps you off balance; and because you’re always working to keep your balance, you work harder, burn more calories, use your muscles more and therefore get a better workout and a more toned body.

I can’t speak firsthand about these because I’ve never worn a pair.

But I do have a close friend who swears by them.

Her enthusiasm piqued my curiosity and got me Googling.

I found a study by the American Council on Exercise. This is the non-profit organization that tests and certifies fitness instructors throughout the U.S. They tested all the major brands of toning shoes against regular athletic shoes.

Their study found no significant difference between the Toning shoes and the regular shoes. Here’s a link to the study. https://www.acefitness.org/getfit/studies/toningshoes072010.pdf

The bottom line is there is no silver bullet. A lot of this is trial and error.

It’s all about the fit; and if the shoe fits, it will be a treat for your feet when you wear it.

You can contact Mirabai at: askmirabai@movingfree.com

Mirabai Holland M.F.A. legendary fitness pioneer is one of the leading authorities in the Health & Fitness industry, and public health activist who specializes in preventive and rehabilitative exercise for people. Her Moving Free® approach to exercise is designed to provide a movement experience so pleasant it doesn’t feel like work. www.easyexercisevideos.com


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