Sports shoes have ruled the ball for more than one season and make up at least half of the assortment of a retail shoe store. Models differ not only in style, color or color palette, decor, textures, but also in purpose: shoes for running, fitness, tennis, jogging and Nordic walking, casual sneakers or sneakers, shoes for hiking and active movement through the forests - in the mountains, for a wide or problematic foot ... How can a person without special education navigate all this variety of models, and what salespeople in stores must know in order to competently advise a client and help him choose exactly the pair that is necessary for his needs and features of his feet? We understand in this article. Our expert is Olga Chizhevskaya.
Podiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with the treatment of diseases of the feet and lower leg, combining knowledge of orthopedics, traumatology and surgery.
Olga Borisovna, what should you pay attention to when choosing sports shoes?
When choosing sports shoes, you need to pay attention to a number of important factors and immediately clearly understand for what purpose you need these shoes: for ordinary walks around the city or for country trips? for gym fitness, jogging, tennis or basketball? for hiking in mountainous or rough terrain? In each case, you will need different shoes. There is no single pair of sneakers that can be worn for different activities and always feel comfortable. You also need to take into account the features of your foot: its width, fullness, pronation (that is, the way the foot is placed during your movements), the presence of any problems - flat feet, clubfoot, valgus or varus deformity, swelling, the presence of gout, diabetes, condition after injuries and other features. In addition, it is important for what external conditions you choose shoes, always take into account the weather conditions (winter or summer, ice, off-road or clean, smooth roads). All these data must be kept in mind when buying shoes and tell the sales assistant your selection parameters so that it is easier for him to help you choose exactly what suits you.
What is the minimum knowledge in the field of foot health and “harmless” sports shoes that a shoe store sales assistant should have in order to be useful to the buyer, so that the person who comes to the store sees an expert in him and listens to his recommendations, and makes the right choice?
A salesperson in a sporting goods or fashion store who helps customers choose shoes should have a basic knowledge of the biomechanics of walking, pronation (the way the foot is positioned while walking), and which shoes are suitable for problem feet. Of course, he must understand the difference between shoes designed for different sports and movement on different types of surfaces (for example, sneakers for running on flat asphalt will differ from sneakers for running on rough terrain).
Why is it important to understand the features of biomechanics and pronation? The fact is that with violations of biomechanics associated with any pathologies of pronation, various problems arise with the feet, since the load on them begins to be distributed unevenly. With overpronation, the foot collapses inward, with hypopronation (supination) - on the outer edge. Ideally, if the pronation is neutral, but this is not the case for everyone. With hyper- or hypopronation, depreciation is disturbed, gait stability suffers, the muscular-ligamentous apparatus of the foot ceases to function fully. In such situations, you need to choose shoes with enhanced cushioning, possibly with lateral support of the foot or with heel support, taking into account the type of pronation and other features.
How to choose the right shoes? And how do modern sports shoes affect the results?
High-quality sports shoes, sharpened specifically for the type of activity that you are doing (running, walking or something else) - this is a worthy prevention of injuries, overloads not only of the feet, but also of higher joints, reducing the risk of negative impact on the knees, hip joints and spine. The labeling on sports goods “for running”, “for fitness” is not a marketing ploy, but a concern for the feet, which need really different shoes for different purposes due to the difference in loads and types of movements.
What shoes do you need to reduce the risk of joint injury?
Let's start with running shoes. First, decide where, at what pace, and how far you are going to run. Off-road running shoes are perfect for running in bad weather and on uneven surfaces. They are distinguished by a more voluminous sole, a pronounced tread, they also have additional support for the feet and ankles and anti-slip elements. These shoes are also suitable for problem feet.
"Road" shoes can be chosen for running on asphalt and other flat surfaces in warm, dry weather. They are light and flexible, breathable shoes with thin soles.
For active walks in the forest, mountains and rough terrain, choose trekking boots. They protect the feet well from weather conditions, excessive fatigue, shock loading, fix the ankle to avoid accidental injury or slipping. Such shoes have a reinforced tread (different types of treads are used for different shoe models), ventilation, additional cushioning, and various supporting elements. Shoes should be made of high quality and breathable materials. Trekking boots come in different types - for walking through the forest, fields, foothills or for mountain hikes, as well as for winter, summer or water tourism.
For walks in an ordinary city park, on asphalt paths or for Nordic walking, different types of sneakers may be suitable, depending on the characteristics of your foot. If there are no problems with the feet, you can choose sneakers for everyday wear or running shoes. In general, focus on the following indicators:
How long do running shoes last without harm to the foot? When to change shoes?
Any sneakers have a period of their use, usually it is indicated by the manufacturer. But here everything is individual. There are several parameters to take into account:
On average, it is advisable to change running shoes every 500 - 1 km. When doing fitness, shoes live longer: for example, with regular classes in the gym, you can not change your sneakers for a year.
How to check if it's time to change your sneakers or not yet?
Assess the condition of the inner sole - the porous layer adjacent to the foot. This layer is usually made of EVA foam, which, in fact, creates the desired cushioning. Inside this foam rubber there are many tiny air bubbles that are compressed during the step. Over time, the bubbles burst and their effect fades away. Press down on the insole with your finger: if it slowly returns to its previous shape or if you notice dents on the surface, it's time to go to the store for new sneakers.
What should be the ideal shoe for foot health?
There is no universal, perfect shoe. For each foot, you need to choose your own suitable option. But, summarizing all that has been said, we can conclude that this is a model:
Running shoes should be made from high-tech and breathable materials. But casual sneakers for walking can be made of leather or suede. And, of course, if you play sports, you should have shoes specifically designed for your chosen sport.
How can insoles, orthoses, inlays and other orthopedic products help to support the foot? Who needs it and when?
Individual orthopedic insoles, as well as other inserts in shoes, selected personally by a doctor, are necessary for many pathologies of the feet and the musculoskeletal system, as well as for athletes to prevent injuries and deformities of the feet. They significantly improve the condition of the legs in the presence of flat feet, with painful sensations and fatigue in the feet, with prolonged or intense loads on the legs. They fix the foot in the correct position, create the missing cushioning, and prevent the appearance of signs of fatigue and pain. The use of foot orthoses can significantly improve the quality of life for overweight people, women during pregnancy, in old age, with diabetic foot, gout and other health conditions. Individual insoles restore normal gait and ease of movement.
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