A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO FITNESS: Shoes

A series, presented in partnership with getfit at MIT

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 4.23.58 PM

Congrats! If you’re reading this, that means you’ve decided to make fitness a part of your life! So you’ve done the hardest part, which is to decide to begin. So what’s next?

TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEET!

Your feet are a pretty important part of all of this – which means you’ll want to give them some careful consideration when taking on a beginning walker or runner program. So get some good shoes!

Well, obviously I need good shoes, you’re thinking. But how do I know what’s a good shoe for me?

At Marathon Sports we will help guide you to proper footwear through a gait analysis. We’ll take a look at your foot shape and bone structure to match you up with a shoe that is going to properly fit and support you. [FIND A MARATHON SPORTS NEAR YOU]

What are you looking at when you watch me walk?

There are a few variables that we look at when you come to us for a shoe fitting:

  1. Stature – a 260 lb former linebacker that comes to us is going to have different footwear needs than a 5’0″ gymnast.
  2. Foot Shape – do you have a wide foot and low arch? You’re going to have different needs in a shoe than someone with a high rigid arch or narrow foot.
  3. Foot Rotation – duck-footed or pigeon-toed? I bet you never really thought about it before. But it affects how you bear your weight and what type of shoe will properly support you.
  4. Bone Structure – how are the bones of your lower leg shaped? Someone who is bow-legged is going to bear their weight a bit differently than someone who is knock-kneed, and need different shoes as a result.
  5. Pronation – pronation is the way that your foot rolls as you bear weight. If someone overpronates, it means that their ankle and arch roll in slightly, and they need support in a shoe in order to remain neutral and aligned.

Finally, we tie all these pieces of information together by getting a little bit of your back story. Do you have a history of chronic injuries? Are you a former athlete trying to get back in shape, or are you totally new to fitness? What are your goals? All this information will help us make some shoe recommendations for you.

I’m a walker, not a runner. What kind of shoes should I get?

We always fit walkers into running shoes, because they’re just more comfortable than traditional ‘walking shoes!’ Running shoes offer a huge variety of cushioning and support systems that allow us to get really specific in order to get you The Right Fit. Running and walking both put a lot of stress on your lower body,  and because the dynamics of both activities are relatively similar, your feet will be happiest in a running shoe, regardless of which activity you’re doing!

How should my shoes feel? What if you select a shoe for me but it feels uncomfortable?

Speak up! Ideally, we should be able to get you the support you need in a shoe without you even noticing it on your foot. Your sneakers should feel like slippers. If you feel any odd pressure points or the shoe just feels a little ‘off,’ let us know – because there isn’t much of a break-in period with these shoes. The way they feel when you’re trying them on is how they’re going to feel for the duration of their lifespan.

How long will my shoes last?

In practice, we find that 400 miles is a fair life expectancy a pair of sneakers. So if you’re walking or running about 10 miles per week, you should expect to get about 10 months to a year out of your shoes. However, if you are wearing them for your fitness walking AND for other things, like everyday walking, running errands, etc., the lifespan might be slightly shorter. Generally, we recommend that you start paying attention to your body around the six month mark. If you notice little aches that you didn’t have before, it may be the shoe’s way of telling you that it is worn out and needs to be replaced.


RELATED CONTENT: [Comfort is King] [Stretching] [An Athlete in everyBODY]