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The Right Kind of Exercise Shoe

Posted Sep 08 2008 3:44am

You may not always be able to tell whether you need a certain kind of shoe for a certain kind of exercise, but your body might be giving you a few clues. If your feet feel fine, but you are experiencing some generalized soreness in places like your knees and lower back, a not-so-obvious reason might be your shoes. As a hiker, I have definitely discovered the importance of having a good hiking shoe, especially after trying to scramble over a trail in cross-trainers, which don't offer the necessary ankle support for a mountain or two. When I took up squash, I also learned the value of a shoe that offers good lateral movement, at the cost of a slightly wrenched knee while wearing running shoes.

I was curious about the importance of owning different shoes for things like aerobics, cross-training, and strength training, so I hit the Internet in search of an answer. Podiatrists and chiropractors can trace a lot of foot and back problems to the right kinds of shoes. If you're a serious runner, then running shoes are the way to go. Even if you are a race-walker or walk long distances, running shoes are probably a better investment than walking shoes, since they have more toe room. If you're not a serious runner, though, for most kinds of gym exercise such as aerobics, weight training, and some racquet sports, cross trainers are the most versatile option. If you are a serious basketball or tennis player, having specialized shoes will also help you avoid common injuries due to lack of traction, support, and cushioning.

With so many choices out there, here are some Web sites that offer advice on choosing a good exercise shoe: " Before You Buy Athletic Shoes" and " Exercise Shoes: Buying Tips to Find Your Ideal Pair."

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