MRINALINI tells you how to jazz up your shoe cupboard and your feet!
When you put on your shoes everyday as you step out, are you thinking about your choice of footwear and why you made that choice? Does it go with my clothing, is it the right colour, the latest trend, match my personality, where am I going-to work or to a party— all these thoughts influence your choice, consciously or otherwise. The question then is— Are you the style or substance kind? The answer— With the plethora of choices available today, and the depth of research done on footwear, one can have the best of both worlds.
How does one make the right choice to suit one’s needs though. Here are some pointers to take you in the right direction.
- Check your feet size every time you go to buy footwear. Measure the width of your feet as well as length. Though shoe sizes are based only on length usually, knowing your width measurement will help you choose a style that is comfortable for your feet.
- Measure each foot separately. All of us have slight differences between the right and left foot. Buy shoes for the larger foot size. If the difference is great, use an insole on the other foot.
- Wiggle your big toe. The toe box of the shoe should allow free movement of you toes.
- The heel of the shoe should fit snugly and not allow it to slip up.
- Walk around the shop to feel how the shoe fits.
- Preferably take a pair of socks with you, the kind you usually wear, and try walking with them on too.
- Lace the shoes in different ways to find best way for your kind of feet.
- Always buy shoes in the evening, as feet are slightly swollen then, as compared to the morning.
- A common misconception is to buy shoes that are tight, expecting them to ‘break-in’. Shoes should fit well on trial.
- When shoes are used for specific purposes, you must buy accordingly.
- Walking and running shoes need to be flexible. You must be able to twist the shoe. When bent toe-to-heel, it should flex at the ball, not the centre. Put the shoe on the floor. When you push the toe down, the heel should rise up. Heel of the shoe should be flared for running shoes and not so for walking shoes.
- For other sports and activities, choose shoes based on stability (lifting weights at the gym), lightweight (quickness of movement badminton), cushioning (high impact eg. Basketball), shoes with ridges that support lateral movement (Aerobics).
- Choose a cross trainer if you are the kind who likes to do a little bit of this and that.
- Hybrid walking shoes are good for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, trail walking etc. They have excellent roll through and ankle support.
Are your fitness and health dependent on your shoes too? The answer— A resounding ‘yes’. On the shoes you wear when working out and the ones you wear throughout the day. It’s well known that wearing high heels constantly will affect the pelvic tilt and spinal curvature, thereby causing problems to all affected joints —knees, vertebral column-in the long run.
Conditions such as overpronation— excessive inward tilt of foot — can be caused by poor footwear but can be corrected by the right ones! So take out an old pair of shoes and examine the way they’d worn out. It will tell you a lot about your feet, the way you distribute weight when you walk etc.
Caring for your footwear
- Shoe Life Expectancy: Crosstrainers and aerobics shoes should be replaced every 100 hours, running shoes every 400-500 miles, and walking shoes every 500 miles. Remember that tread is often not the best indicator of how worn your shoes are. You need to consider the mileage and hours you put on them.
- Rotate Your Shoes: The best way to extend the life of your shoes is to rotate through several pairs. If you use your workout shoes 4-5 days a week and rotate between 2 or 3 pair of shoes you can expect to replace shoes every seven months. Buy a new pair of shoes after 300 miles and rotate it with your older shoe so you can recognise when the older pair has lost its cushioning and support.
- Mix it Up: Some walkers like to alternate brands and styles of shoes to keep your feet and muscles from adjusting to one style. But others believe in sticking with one that works.
- An aglet is the small plastic or fibre tube that binds the end of a shoelace (or similar cord) to prevent fraying and to allow the lace to be passed through an eyelet or other opening.
- The last eyelets in a shoe allow for binding in the upper of the shoe tight with the top of your feet. Lace them up according to your preference and usage. To know how to lace up for the best fit, check out the tips on runnersworld.com
The author is Fitness Programme Development Director at Blue Movement Circle.
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