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How to Buy the Right Workout Shoes

Starting a walking or running program is a big step in a healthy direction. In fact, studies show that for every one pound of weight loss, you’ll see a four-pound reduction in knee joint load or knee pressure.

Before you head out, make sure the shoes you’re wearing will be there to support your journey. After all, you can’t go the extra mile unless your shoes are ready to go with you.

Consider the four Fs when shoe shopping:

Foot Type

Workout shoes are not one size fits all. Make sure you find a shoe to fit your foot rather than trying to fit your foot into any given shoe.

  • Consider the shape of your foot: is it wide, narrow, long, etc.?
  • Do you know your arch type? High arches may need more cushioning, and flatter arches need a straighter sole. If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to get help from professionals at your local shoe store. Many offer free assessments and technology to help determine your arch and provide recommendations.
  • Recognize that you may need to go up a half-size for workout shoes.


What are you using the shoe for – running, walking, aerobics, basketball or hiking? When shopping, make sure the salesperson knows how you’ll use the shoe and how much you intend on working out. Ankle support is key for sports or hiking, while lightweight, breathable shoes will be more comfortable for runners. Also keep in mind that you may want more cushion if you’re a high impact runner.


One of the biggest mistakes shoppers make is choosing shoes that are too small. The fit should be snug and comfortable but not tight. To make sure the shoe fits:

  • Try them on at the end of the day when your feet will be slightly swollen.
  • Make sure you’re wearing moisture-wicking athletic socks, not dress socks.
  • Try both shoes on, as one foot may be slightly larger than the other.
  • Ensure that your foot is able to move a little in the toebox and that your pinky toe isn’t against the edge of the shoe.


Finally, don’t be afraid to plan ahead. If you find a pair of shoes you really love, consider buying two pairs. Many avid walkers and runners alternate two pairs of shoes to keep them fresher and preserve cushioning. Remember, you’re investing in these shoes to take you new places – literally! Don’t just buy for looks. Buy for the long-term.