How to choose the right shoes for aching joints

How to choose the right shoes for aching joints
Investing in the right pair of shoes is crucial for aching joints and comfortable mobility. Here's why you shouldn't compromise your footwear and how to go about choosing the perfect fit 
A pair of comfortable, supportive shoes is an essential investment. Inappropriate or ill-fitting shoes may harm your feet, impair your posture and strain the muscles of your legs and back.
"Well-designed trainers allow you to work out with maximum comfort and minimum risk of injury"
Good footwear is even more crucial during exercise. Well-designed trainers allow you to work out with maximum comfort and minimum risk of injury; they support and cushion your feet and absorb the impact that travels up through your ankles, knees and hips when your feet hit the ground.

Tips for choosing shoes

Credit: Deagreez
There are two key factors to consider when buying a pair of shoes: choose a shoe with a solid construction that provides you with all the support you need and make sure the shoe fits well.
"There are two key factors to consider when buying a pair of shoes: support and fit"
Your shoes should match the shape of your feet, fit exactly around the heels without riding down as you walk and leave plenty of room for your toes. Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing shoes:
  • Feet change in size slightly as you get older. If you are not sure of your exact shoe size, have both feet measured for length and width.
  • Feet swell slightly during the day and when your feet get hot, so buy your shoes towards the end of the day.
  • Look for natural materials such as leather that will let your feet breathe.
  • Avoid shoes with pointed toes. The toe area should be deep enough to allow your toes to move freely.
  • Avoid slip-on shoes. Fastenings such as laces or velcro straps stop your foot from slipping forwards or sideways in your shoe.
  • Avoid very high heels. The higher the heel the more it affects your gait, pushing your body out of alignment and increasing your risk of knee and back problems.

Choosing the right trainers

You should buy a new pair of trainers after about 100 hours of use—that is, once a year if you do two hour-long sessions per week. There is an enormous range of trainers available, but many are designed as fashion shoes and not as serious sports equipment—to find the right shoe you will need to consider your foot shape, the way you move, your weight, the surfaces that you intend to run on and the type of activity that you want to perform.
"Many trainers are designed as fashion shoes and not as serious sports equipment"
It is usually better to get your shoes from a specialist sports shop, rather than a high street store—especially if you aren’t sure which type of trainer is best suited to your needs.


Credit: Harbucks
These are devices inserted into shoes to improve foot function and correct abnormal patterns of walking. One of the most common types of inserts is the medial post, which is placed under the arch of the foot to prevent overpronation. Inserts can also be used to help improve body alignment, even up inequalities in leg length or to absorb shock and relieve pressure points. If you feel that you might benefit from orthotics, talk to a podiatrist about getting a pair of custom-made inserts.

Buying the right running shoes

If you are new to running, get advice from a fitness trainer or a specialist sports shop before choosing your shoes. Most manufacturers produce different models to meet the needs of individual runners: there are three basic types of running shoes:
  • Motion control shoes are relatively rigid, have a straight shape and incorporate a medial post (support under the arch to prevent the foot from rolling inwards). These are designed to counteract excessive rolling and overpronation.
  • Cushioned shoes have soft midsoles and a more curved shape to encourage roll and are designed for people who underpronate.
  • Stability shoes offer a compromise. They have some medial support and a semi-curved shape and are suitable for runners with regular pronation.

What type of training shoes do I need?

Credit: Jovanmandic
1. Game shoes
Game shoes are perfect for court games such as tennis, squash or netball that involve sudden sideways movements. Games shoes should be light and comfortable, with outer soles that grip well and cushioned insoles to absorb the impact when you land. They provide good ankle support to prevent injuries caused by rapid changes in speed and direction.
2. Cross-trainers
Performing general-purpose activities such as light aerobics and gym work, and occasional walking, jogging or games of tennis or badminton? Cross-trainers, or general-purpose training shoes, are your best friends. They provide a reasonable level of stability, comfort and cushioning and are a good choice if you want to try out a range of activities. However, they lack the proper support and protection offered by sport-specific footwear such as aerobics, walking or running shoes.
3. Aerobics shoes
Aerobics routines involve sequences of jumping or leaping movements and aerobics shoes have soles that grip well to prevent you from slipping, as well as good flexibility and shock absorbency. They also have strong uppers or stabilizing straps to prevent your feet from slipping forwards or sideways within the shoe, and high-toe boxes to avoid friction on the tops of your toes and your toenails.
4. Running shoes
No matter the distance or surface you are running, you can’t go wrong with running shoes. Running shoes should be light but supportive, with plenty of shock-absorbing cushioning and relatively high heels that will prevent excessive strain on your Achilles tendons and calves.
Banner credit: Drazen Zigic
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