opening-shoe-pile-ssChoosing the right workout shoes is as important for your foot health as it is for your performance. A quick tip to check a shoe’s stability before you buy: Bend the shoe, holding it at both ends. It should bend naturally behind where the ball of the foot would be, since that’s where your foot naturally bends. Also, make sure the heel counter is sturdy. The heel counter is a stiff cup that surrounds the heel part of the shoe. Squeeze the heel counter, and make sure it doesn’t cave in when you apply pressure.

Fitting and Testing

Trying on shoes in the store can be different than wearing them during your workouts<>, but there are ways to make sure your shoes will fit well when you’re in the middle of a hard workout. Shop in the afternoon. If you try on athletic shoes toward the end of the day, when your feet are more swollen, you’ll get a better idea of how they fit.

Shop in socks.

When you look for athletic shoes, wear the socks that you would usually use during a workout. You want to make sure the shoes fit properly and feel comfortable with your athletic socks.

Go large in the toes.

Make sure that your shoes have about half an inch of wiggle room between the end of the shoe and your longest toe. If your feet are different sizes, opt for the larger shoes for better comfort.

Snug fit in the heel. New athletic shoes shouldn’t slip on your heels, but they shouldn’t be too snug in the toes, either. Make sure that the ball of your foot fits easily in the widest part of the athletic shoe.

Try them out. Test out the shoes for at least 10 minutes in the store, or even outside if the store will allow it, before you decide to buy. If you have problem feet, talk to the sales person at the store about what types of sneakers are best for you.

Remember, every athletic shoe is different, as is every foot, so don’t rely on a style you find attractive or a shoe that you like on someone else. Be clear about your needs.