Selecting the right tennis shoe

Tennis shoes or “sneakers” or “athletic shoes” or “runners” are sold more often than any other type of shoe in the world.  And yes, that includes the Imelda Marcos-style woman!

But how should you (and parents) choose the right shoe — or at least, the right-fitting shoe.

1.  Some people suggest buying from a “specialty store” where the staff will point you to the best shoes for your feet or planned use.  For me, I buy them where they are the cheapest.  Most kids aren’t going to listen to which shoe they should get from staff — they are going to look at the shoes, and pick the ones that they think look the best.  Wait, that is how I pick them also and I’m not a kid!

2.  Remember to try on the shoe with one of your thickest socks.  There are slight variations in size of shoes (of the same numeric size) and socks can have an effect on comfort and overall “tightness” of the fit.

3.  When you put your “socked-foot” (my new word for a foot with a sock on it) into the shoe, and tie the laces, you should be able to freely wiggle your toes.  The toes should NOT be touching the end of the shoe.  Press at the end of the shoe, there should be a slight amount of space between the end of the shoe and the end of the big toe.

4.  Walk around the store for a minute.  Look in the mirrors.  Does it feel as good as it looks?  Or does it look better than it feels?  If it doesn’t fell comfortable immediately, it goes back into the box and back on the shelf.  I don’t want a shoe that I do not look forward to putting on in the morning.

5.  If you feel the sides of your foot feel to tight in the shoe, consider trying on a pair of WIDE shoes.  I don’t buy anything anymore except wide shoes because I found them to be substantially more comfortable on my feet – even though the “knowledgeable sales clerk” said that I didn’t need to wear “wide”.

6.  Learn what brands feel the best.  For me, I loved Nike shoes for years.  But Nike began using a cheap glue that would allow the bottoms of the shoes to separate from the and require me to re-glue them.  That happened so many times that I decided to change brands.  Now I buy New Balance and I find them to be much more comfortable than Nike.  So don’t be unwilling to try a new brand to see if you like it better.

Good Luck and keep buying more sneakers!

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