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The Ultimate Guide to Athletic Shoes

Choosing the right footwear for your sport

With so many options for athletic shoes, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for your needs. Years ago, you could just pick out a pair of runners and use them for everything, from kicking a soccer ball around to going on a run.

Today’s shoe market is definitely a sign of the times, now there’s a specific shoe for just about any activity. Picking the proper athletic shoe is so important.

A good sport-specific shoe means lower risk of injury and footwear that is supportive for good form, not to mention it can even step up your game. In this guide, we have put together a list of the best type of shoes depending on the activity or sport you play. Something important to consider when picking any shoe is if the style of footwear supports your foot.

Basketball & Tennis Shoes

Court sports call for supportive shoes. Whether your dribbling across the court or darting to hit with your tennis racket, a shoe that is created to support your foot throughout the game is key to performance.

For basketball, a shoe structured to support intense forward motion with good traction and a stiff upper is your best bet. These features will not only protect against injury but will help stabilize your ankles for jumps and swift switches in direction. The Ewing Athletics: 33 HI OG Patrick Ewing Basketball Shoes are a great retro option for shooting some hoops on court.

On the other hand, if you play tennis, a shoe that can weather frequent side-to-side motions is ideal. But depending on the court you play on, its important to pick a shoe with a tread heavy shoe for harder courts whereas a softer sole is better for soft courts. Ultimately choosing a tennis shoe with a supportive lateral will let you pivot easier. You can’t go wrong with Adidas Women’s Stycon Core Laceless Tennis Shoes as an option for your upcoming tennis match.

Running Shoes

Time to hit the pavement? If so, having a shoe specific to running makes for a more enjoyable run. For example, if you decided to pick up a pair of hard soled shoes to go for a job, the tension in your joints post-run might have you thinking differently.

A shoe with ample cushioning is necessary to absorb the shock when you hit the ground. You also want to make sure the shoe is snug on your foot, which helps support the foot against forward motion.

One downfall of running can be painful shin splints and tendon cramps, but the best way to avoid that is making sure that the shoe fits your type of foot. Depending on whether you have a high or standard arch, increased cushioning will help your performance.

Saucony Men’s Kinvara 12 Vizi Pro Running Shoes are perfect for a runner of any level with the shoe’s snug fit and well-cushioned midsole. If you’re looking for a more colourful option PUMA Women’s Liberate Nitro is sure to offer stability and support while turning heads to its eye-catching design.

Trek it Out: Hiking Boots & Shoes

Do you like hiking to new heights? Shoes and boots designed to support your feet through tricky trails should be your go-to. This style of footwear is designed for a stronger grip on the ground, helping to make sure you don’t take a tumble. Just as once size doesn’t fit all, you need to match your footwear to your hike since both shoes and boots are built for different terrain. If you’re headed to a simple trail with well-kept paths, a safe-bet would be a lightweight shoe or low-cut boot like ASICS Women’s Trail Scout Shoes. On the flip side, uneven or rough terrain calls for a medium to heavy weight boot like Dunham Men’s Ludlow Lawrence Brown Lace Up Short Boots for support with the bonus being support for heavier hiking packs. If you’re an experienced hiker, odds are you’re out there every chance you get, rain or shine. In this case, a feature you might want to consider is picking a hiking boot or shoe that is waterproof because no one likes having wet feet on a long trek.

Soccer Cleats for The Win

Picking a supportive and comfortable soccer cleat is super important for your game. Make sure your new cleats will last you many years and provide you with the support and stability you need through practices and games when spending money on a pair.

If you haven’t found the right fit, not only can they hold back your game but you’re at a higher risk for injury.

The first thing to think about when you’re picking soccer cleats is what ground you’ll be on. Cleats are made to play in three spaces, on soft grass, AstroTurf, or solid ground. Cleats for solid ground are probably the most popular and sought after cleats because of how versatile they are.

On the bottom of the cleats, you’ll usually find ten to fifteen blades that are great for ripping through hard grass fields or even a harder ground. On other styles of cleats you’ll find conical studs which are perfect for a soft grass field and the player who needs a shoe to support extreme turning and pivoting.

Though the blades and conical studs might sound like they could be dangerous, the opposite is true! Don’t worry, blades aren’t actually going to cut through grass, typically they are made of plastic and shaped into chevron like pieces. This style gives the players better traction and disperses weight across the sole of the shoe more evenly.

Try out the Adidas Men’s Nemeziz.1 Core Firm Ground Soccer Cleats for size, their support and traction will have your performance at it’s peak!

Training Shoes

Picking up a pair of trainers is your best bet if you’re headed to the gym for weightlifting, high intensity interval training classes, strength training, or even agility training.

Training shoes are made for movement in multiple directions. On most training shoes, the sole is made to be flatter while they are made to be a lightweight option for the person who enjoys a range of activities in the gym.

If you’re looking for a feature that’s a telltale sign of a training shoe, take a look at the sole. Some people know this as the “heel drop” which is the distance between heel and toe height.

You might be wondering, if training shoes are great for many different kinds of movement then why not a running shoe? Well, odds are that the cushioning found in running shoes is going to make your range of motion much harder than it would with a flat training shoe. Let’s take weightlifting for example. When you’re trying to squat with a barbell, a flatter sole is going to allow you to feel the ground, activate your muscles, and protect your joint when you press the bar backup.

A cushioned running shoe would make weightlifting difficult especially since it would be harder to feel the ground, making stability difficult and potentially compromising good form. All in all, if you’re picking a training shoe, the main things you want to look for is a flat sole, comfortable upper, and a low heel drop.

Kid’s Shoes

Shopping for your kids can prove to be quite the challenge. With so many options, colors, and designs, it would have anyone’s head on a swivel. But despite the fact that kids grow like weeds, picking a shoe doesn’t have to be hard.

We’re going to cover a couple things that you should consider when picking shoes for your kids, namely picking the right type, the right size, soles, and trends.

The Right Type

If you’re child plays a specific sport, well then you have it made for you. If it’s soccer then you’ll be looking for cleats like these adidas Kids Goletto VI. If they’re into basketball then you’ll be picking up a court shoe, maybe its track and field, you’re looking for a trainer. But let’s just say you’re looking for a pair of shoes for their gym class this year at school, you’ll want to pick up something that is versatile with great lateral flexibility and a strong sole. In this case, you’ll want to take a look at running, training, or basketball shoes. It’s also a good idea to match the shoe up to your child’s strength. Maybe they don’t have strong ankles and they need extra upper support, so a basketball shoe would help with that.

Size em Up!

Especially during recess, your child will need a comfortable shoe to cruise around the school yard with, so sizing your child’s foot is super important. After all no one likes crunched up toes in their brand new sneakers, am I right?

Now a rookie move would be sizing up a half size or so because we all know how fast kids grow.

This would make for a very uncomfortable pair of shoes, especially because of where the arch is located.If it’s not in the right spot even walking could be painful and then you’ll never hear the end of it. Odds are your kid burns through the sole before their foot grows out of the shoe so picking the proper size is the best and safest option.

To make sure you’re picking up the right size you can either use a measuring tape and then convert the centimeters or inches to children’s shoe sizes.

Another great trick is to write down the measurement of the sole on the shoe size you’re looking at, compare it with your kid’s measurements and then you’re able to determine the best size!

Who doesn’t love non-marking & trendy  

If the pair of shoes you’re shopping around for is meant for gym class or as a set of indoor shoes at school, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the non-marking soles.

You’ll be able to know if a shoe is non-marking by the product description or if there’s a sticker on the box. The ASICS Kids Gel-Cumulus 20 GS Running Shoes are a great example of a pair that at suitable for school, not to mention the eye-catching design!

Last but certainly not least is picking a shoe that matches the ongoing trends and has fun colors. Your kids are sure to love a trendy and colorful pair of shoes from some of the most popular brands like PUMA, Adidas, Asics, and Keds.