It is important to wear proper footwear to avoid injury. Buying an athletic shoe involves multiple considerations in determining which shoe is right for you. These include:
a) The activities that will be performed
b) The construction of the shoe
c) What surfaces you will be on
d) The type of foot you have
It is important to consider all these aspects to avoid ankle and foot pain or injury. Each sport or activity involves different movements or jumping and shoes are designed to fit the activity. Running, for instance, primarily involves movement in a straight line. Basketball and aerobics involve jumping and time spent on the forefoot.
For example, playing tennis which involves side to side movements in a shoe with supports for straight movement could result in an ankle sprain. In addition, if you are involved in weight training activities for the lower extremities, wear different shoes than you use for impact sports. The extra weight from training compresses the cushioning and affects the shock absorption of the shoe.
Cross trainers should only be used for short distance running (less than two miles). Some activities are similar so it may not be necessary to buy different shoes for each activity.
Uneven surfaces cause increased movement in the foot and ankle. This makes the ankle joint and the foot more vulnerable to injury. For example, running on rough terrain calls for an athletic shoe that is wider. This increases medial and lateral stability and decreases the risk for ankle injury.
It is important to evaluate shoe construction prior to making a purchase. Bend the shoe from toe to heel. It should not bend in places that your foot does not. In addition, if you push it down, it should not rock. Place the shoes down and look at them from behind to assure the shoes are symmetrical. You should also check wear patterns because this will tell you when to buy a new shoe.
In summary, no two feet are alike even on the same person. However, by using basic guidelines, you can reduce the risk of injury.