How to be sure you’re picking the right workout shoe -- because you might be doing it all wrong!

You may be picking your workout shoes all wrong! And yep, when you try those shoes on, you may be doing that wrong too!

Let’s start with picking out a shoe. With so many workout-type shoes on the market, it may be hard to know if you’re buying the right one.

“The shoe needs to be comfortable, and it needs to fit well. So often patients will say, ‘Well, I bought this shoe because I love the color, or it’s the latest one on the market,’ or it’s this or it’s that. But if it doesn’t fit well, then it’s not the right shoe for you,” said Cleveland Clinic podiatrist Dr. Joy Rowland.

Doctors recommend going to a proper shoe store to get fitted if possible. (Courtesy of Cleveland Clinic)

When shopping, Rowland says it’s crucial to figure out what you’ll be using them for because shoes are built for different activities.

  • Running shoes should have good shock absorption in the heel.
  • Walking shoes should feel cushioned and stable on your feet.

Now, there’s a right way to find the right fit. Rowland suggests people wear the sock they typically use while working out and try on the shoes later in the day. Why? Your feet swell as the day goes on -- especially after exercising -- so you want to make sure the shoes still feel comfortable when your feet are more swollen.

But, if possible, she recommends going to a proper shoe store to get fitted if possible.

“They will fit you according to the exercise that you’re going to be doing and make sure that the width of the shoe is appropriate for your foot type, that the arch height is appropriate for your foot type, but also the exercise activity -- also that the toe box and the shape of the toe area is appropriate for your foot type,” Rowland explained.

It's crucial to figure out what you'll be using your workout shoes for because shoes are built for different activities. (Courtesy of Cleveland Clinic)

Cleveland Clinic suggests you consider the following:

  • Opt for shoes with mesh uppers versus leather. While leather uppers are water resistant, they are also heavy and don’t allow your foot to breathe.
  • Avoid the temptation of buying last year’s model on sale. Cleveland Clinic says the shock absorption of shoes decreases over time -- so the longer a pair has been sitting on the shelf, the more likely the mid-soles will have become stiff and not cushion your feet as well.
  • If you find yourself saying, “I just need to break these shoes in,” then don’t buy them. Your workout shoes should feel good immediately.