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You're Buying Sneakers All Wrong

  • woman tying her shoelaces

    Photo courtesy of Vionic

    Think You're Wearing the Right Size Sneaker?

    For every person who’s absolutely positive they’re wearing the right size or found the perfect model, you’re going to want to keep reading. Brian Hoke, DPT, licensed physical therapist and board-certified sports clinical specialist shared six sneaker-shopping mistakes that could leave you with buyer’s remorse from your heel to your toe. Check out the list before you lace up a new pair.

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  • buying last year's sneakers at a discount

    Mistake #1: Buying Brand New Old Shoes

    Purchasing last year’s model at a huge discount feels good to your wallet but not to your feet. “Shoes age whether they’re on our feet or not,” explains Hoke, who is also a consultant for Vionic Shoes. “The materials will degenerate just like a rubber band left around a deck of cards.” Not to mention that those sneakers may have been left in a hot warehouse all summer. Bottom line: Age isn’t just a number when it comes to sneakers. Do your homework and make sure those clearance rack shoes haven’t been around forever.

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  • white sneakers

    Mistake #2: Shopping in the Morning

    Your foot is slightly bigger in the afternoon than in the morning, so taking a pair of sneakers home in the A.M. may result in buying ones that are too small. “Shop later in the day after you’ve done a bit of weight-bearing activity,” suggests Hoke.

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  • walking on a treadmill

    Mistake #3: Waiting Too Long to Buy a New Pair

    What we’re good at: Noticing that new sneaker feel of cushioning when we try on a fresh pair of kicks. What we’re bad at: Noticing when the shoes we wear have lost their support. If you’re a recreational walker or runner, replace your sneakers once a year, suggests Hoke. More hardcore? Don’t go by the general 300-500 mile rule. Use this formula that factors in weight suggested by Hoke: divide 75,000 by your weight in pounds to get your shoe’s max mileage. So a 250-pound woman should replace her sneakers every 300 miles, a 200-pound woman should do so every 375 and so on.

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  • multi-colored sneakers

    Mistake #4: Judging a Shoe by Its Color

    Blazing neon, cool blue, gorgeous rainbows, jet black. “The reason most people pick the shoe they pick is color,” reveals Hoke who admits to hearing this all the time from clients. We can think of a million—ok at least four—better reasons to choose your next pair of kicks: support, fit, comfort, materials, shall we go on?

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    Mistake #5: Not Choosing by Activity

    “The misconception is that a good running shoe is the best walking shoe,” says Hoke. “In reality, running biomechanics and walking biomechanics are quite different.” The result of this error: Walkers may be more susceptible to injuries like heel pain because their running shoe doesn’t have the cushioning they need.

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  • woman running

    Mistake #6: Taking Home a Shoe That’s the Wrong Size

    “About 60% of men and 80% of women wear a shoe that’s too small,” reveals Hoke. That can mean blisters, black nails and more. But you can figure out if you’re wearing the correct size by taking the insole out of your sneaker and looking at the imprint of your toes. “They should never be at the end of the shoe. You should always have about ¼ of an inch between your longest toe and the front of the sneaker,” says Hoke who also reminds us to look at the left and right insole. “Seventy-five percent of people who are right-handed have a longer left foot.”

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    Now that we’ve told you how to find the perfect sneakers, put them to great use as a part of our Move to Improve initiative with the Partnership for a Healthier America. Find out more here

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