Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How to choose the right fitness shoes--PART III

Now, for the final installment in this shoe trilogy (trifecta?)...

The final two things to consider when buying fitness shoes are:

How long do you plan to use these sneakers and how often do you work out? It's important to replace sneakers when they get worn out because, 1. The soles are thinned out from repeated impact and are not as effective at shock absorption and the tread is worn away; 2. The "cushioning" in the soles has also become compressed and is no longer as effective for cushioning impact or supporting the arch; 3. By the time they are worn, they are infested with dirt and bacteria.

I constantly fight with my mother over the duration of her shoes. She's an active woman, but likes to wear her sneakers until they are absolutely TRASHED. Then, she washes them in the washing machine and thinks "Viola! Good as new!" Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. The washing machine only cleans the dirt--it doesn't magically restore the stability and cushioning that is lost through repeated wear. Every visit, I end up telling her she needs new sneaks.

Sneakers can last anywhere from 6-12 months depending on your level of activity. If you work out a LOT (5-7 days a week, one or two times per day), then you need to replace your shoes more often. I usually replace my sneakers every 6-7 months.

To extend the life of your fitness shoes, be sure to keep them clean, dry, and replace the insoles with "Athletic" or cushioned insoles (I use Dr. Scholl's Sport insoles).

A word to the wise (and you can disagree)--even with insole changes, I've never had a fitness shoe last more than 8 months. How can you tell if the sneaker is worn out and has got to go to the big shoe store in the sky? Look at the treads on the bottom:
Are they almost flat?
Are there signs of sole wear or tear?
Are your feet slightly sore after a workout?

If you answered "yes" to at least two of these questions, then your shoes probably have to GO.

Yes, it all comes down to the $$$. How much can you spend on shoes? You can get a great pair of sneakers for $40, but the bottom line is that they may have a shorter life span than a $80 pair of sneakers.

This is not always true, and you can get great bargains on clearance shoes. But there IS a reason that some sneakers cost more--they tend to be quality-made and last longer OR they have fitness/sport elements that make them unique (such as the Reebok EasyTone).

Also, don't get ripped off by sports or mall stores (they tend to HYPER-inflate prices)--do some internet research on the best price for the shoes you want. If they are cheaper online, buy online.

So there you have it--my tips for purchasing fitness shoes! What is your favorite brand of shoe? How long do your shoes tend to last? Write a comment below!

Be kind to your tootsies and they will be kind to you in your workout!

(All of the above sneaker artwork is by artist Damon Greulich He rocks and you should check out his website and his art posters in the Sneaker Freaker store!)

(A pair of sneakers my talented sister drew/illustrated/created for a No Doubt concert we went to last summer--swwweeeeet, right?)

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