‘Sole’mates: Choose wisely

Mohammed Nagadi

Published — Wednesday 27 February 2013

Last update 1 March 2013 7:37 pm

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Sports and fashion have a long, intertwined history. Clothing and footwear for athletes and sports people have evolved over the years. Fabrics are now dri-fit, soles are air cushioned and the range of colors is endless and changes each season.
Yet, how many of us wear the same type of shoes to different types of activities or sports? Whether it is walking, running, football or basketball, we rarely try on a different pair of shoes to match a specific sport. Still, that might be a thought worth entertaining. More important is to make sure that the shoes we own are the right pair for our feet.
Exercise is important to a healthy lifestyle, and the right shoes are essential to any fitness routine. Whether you take an aerobics class, go out for a run, ride your bicycle around the block or play a team sport, wearing the proper athletic shoes will provide the support and protection you need.
The wrong type or improperly fitting shoes can cause serious discomfort and even injury, making this a vital component of your fitness plan. Not all athletic shoes offer the same benefits; so don’t wear hiking shoes to your zumba class. Despite common belief, adult feet do grow and change, so don’t assume you are the same size you were last year.
To better determine which footwear suits which activity, sportswear brands such as Adidas contracted scientific researchers and doctors to study the movement of athletes on different terrains, performing different movements.
For instance, basketball players need agility to move around the hard parquet floor.
If you don’t like basketball, and fancy another type of sports: that’s okay. Everyone has his or her own preference. Perhaps you enjoy a cool sea breeze! With Jeddah’s new Corniche and the newly paved Palestine street, taking an evening power walk while enjoying the sunset can be your exercise in today’s hectic modern lifestyle.
Our feet are the foundation of our body. When engaged in walking or running, our body goes through a complex set of steps that makes the movement seem smooth and easy. It is actually a complex cycle, which requires that our feet be comfortable in their movement so that the rest of our body is relaxed and our muscles are not in danger of being injured.
When walking or running, our body exerts great amounts of pressure on our feet, which are in direct contact with solid surfaces (at different speeds and intensity). This requires a comfortable surface that can help suspend the body mass and allow muscles to contract and extend properly.
So next time you plan your exercise, make sure you have the proper shoes for one simple reason: “One can always get a new pair of shoes but one cannot get a new pair of feet.”

Tips on choosing the appropriate sports footwear:
• Wear the correct shoe for the activity. It is often tempting, for example, to run in cross trainers or play tennis in running shoes due to the cost involved. However, today’s sport shoes are designed for a specific function and are not suitable for use in a variety of sports. Buying more than one pair of shoes can be costly but will prove less expensive than facing the pain and cost of treating a sports injury.
• Seek advice. Sports shoe stores have a bewildering array of footwear, making shopping for the correct model a real challenge. Don’t be afraid to seek professional advice. Most good sport shoe stores have trained staff to assist you. It is important to know what you want to use the shoe for. Choose a shoe that works best for your foot type. For example, for runners who have a tendency to pronate there are anti-pronation shoes. Sports that involve sudden acceleration or rapid changes in direction, such as squash or tennis, require a shoe with more lateral support. Cross trainers are hybrid shoes that are ideal for use in the controlled environment of a gym. It designed to adapt to a number of different applications. For best results, consult your podiatrist who will assess your foot type and advise you accordingly.
• Be sized up regularly. The size and fit of the shoe is of paramount importance, regardless of the sports activity. Don’t assume you know your shoe size. Foot size changes in time and it is likely that feet will continue to increase in size during your lifetime. Shoes should be tried on in the afternoon as feet have a tendency to swell during the day. Your feet should be properly assessed for width as well as size. Different brands are often available in varying widths so take this into account when choosing a brand.

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