The key to buying the best athletic footwear is to ignore all the advertising you see and the advice you hear, and buy according to your needs and wants. Before you go to the store: Take a look at one of your old athletic shoes, and see how it has worn.


This is the most important consideration when buying athletic shoes. No matter how good you hear a shoe is, if it doesn’t fit you, don’t buy it. Important: Have your feet sized every time you shop, since foot sizes often change over time.

Key Fitting Points:

  • Length: Allow a thumbnail’s width between your longest toe (which may be your second toe) and the end of the toe box on you longer foot. Important: Have the sales person check the fit for you if you bend over to check it you will change the fit of the shoe.

  • Width: the widest part of your foot should be in the widest part of the shoe. Your foot should not hang over the platform of the shoe. Your foot should not move around from too much room inside.

  • Heel: Your heel should not slip when you walk.


  • Put your old shoe on a table or other flat surface and study how it has worn.

  • If you over-pronate (roll in excessively), you may see the shoe break to the inside. If you roll out excessively, you may see the upper part of the shoe pushed out over its platform.

  • If you do have a special need, select a style of athletic shoe designed for your type of problem. For example, over-pronators should look for shoes with added medial (inside) support.

  • People with rigid feet (Under-pronators) need shoes with more cushioning and lateral (outside) support.


Do you think your current shoes provide enough cushioning when you work out? If not, go to the store and talk to a salesperson you trust about a shoe that may meet these needs.


Most people judge the feel of a shoe when they try it on in a store, so a softer shoe generally feels better. Problem: there is a lot of pressure exerted on shoes during exercise, so a softer shoe may not last as long as a firmer one, depending on the person.

Added problem: The insoles in most shoes are selected for first feel not for extended use, so they break down quickly. Recommended: when your original insole wears out, extend the shoe’s life by replacing it with over-the-counter Spenco insoles.

After you buy new shoes, go back to the store to try on a new pair of that same model about every 3 or 4 months, depending on the extent of your activity. Reason: You may not realize the extent to which your shoes have worn until you compare them with a new pair.

Other Considerations

  • Don’t buy from an inexperienced salesperson. Find a salesperson who understands footwear and who will take the time to help you find the right style. If you feel you’re being hustled, leave. You probably won’t get the right shoe if you buy based on what’s in stock instead of your needs.

  • Bring your old shoes when you buy new ones. Manufacturers update models about every 19 months. This can be troublesome if it took you a long time to find a model you like, and you don’t like the new version. A knowledgeable salesperson should be able to find a style similar to your old one.

  • Get the best value. Most people do not need top-of-the-line shoes that cost more than $150.00. The best values are usually in the middle to upper-middle ranges.

  • Get off on the right foot. Beginning exercisers should buy good quality shoes because their bodies are less adapted to the stress of exercise.

  • See a specialist for serious problems. Although the right athletic shoe will make your workout easier, it won’t fix a biomechanical problem. Consult a podiatrist who specializes in athletic injuries.

  • Calf or Achilles problems. These problems can be worsened by a cushiony air soled walking shoe, if the heel compresses too easily. This stretches the calf further.

  • Shoes are not always the cause of the problems. Often a foot imbalance may be at fault. This can be corrected with precision orthotic devices made by a Chiropodist.

Brought to you by Doctor John A. Hardy, owner of Toronto's foot clinic, Academy Foot and Orthotics Clinic.



Academy Clinics has a special interest in high quality custom orthotics.



Toronto, ON Chiropodist
Academy Foot and Orthotic

Toronto, ON M4K 2P1 

Across from the Broadview Subway
Professional  Family  Foot  Care