All About Footwear | Types of Shoes, Factors To Consider

by | Oct 22, 2021 | Physical Training

Welcome to the fitness adaptive live podcast!

Today I’m going to go over footwear. I’ll talk about what types of shoes you should wear, based on your goals, what sports you play, what you do for work, foot size, foot type, etc..

First, I’ll share an experience with you. I used to play sports in junior high and high school. I had tried many different types of running shoes, track spikes, basketball shoes, recovery slides, dress shoes, etc. Some I enjoyed, but others I really hated. When doing some running training, I had a friend recommend a specific shoe brand to me, so I decided to give them a try. 

It was the worst brand I’d ever tried. I hated the look of the shoes, and they only lasted about three weeks! After three weeks of running in them, they already started to wear out. They got big holes in them and they provided worse support than my original shoe brand. 

Shoe brand shouldn’t be your first priority when buying shoes, but each brand tends to have similarities across all shoe styles and it’s important to make sure your shoes are ideal for you. Let’s go over specific things you should look for when considering what shoes to wear. 

Foot Size 

Why is it important to pick out the proper shoe size? When I was in 9th grade, I had someone talk me into upgrading my shoe size to a 9. At first I thought, “That’s way too big for me,” but the idea was to “grow into” them. I was getting close to hitting a growth spurt and my foot size would likely increase, and I’d fit my size 9 shoes. The next year, I moved up to a size 10 and stuck with that for the rest of high school. Again, I thought I’d  “grow into” them. I got the idea that my shoes would last longer because I was giving my feet more “growing space.” 

It turns out that I’m actually a size 8! I picked shoes that were way too big for me during high school and junior high. Many athletes make this same mistake. They wear shoes that are too big and decrease their performance. Whether you’re running, taking off for a jump, or exercising in general, it’s very important to have shoes that actually fit you, not too big, not too small. 

If your shoes are too big, your feet are more likely to slide in your shoe because your toes aren’t touching the end. When you run or take off for a jump your feet are very likely to slide forward inside your shoes because your toes don’t touch the ends of them. Not only could that be a little painful, but it hinders your performance. Size is very important when selecting shoes, especially if you’re an athlete looking to improve performance.

How to Tell if Your Shoes Fit

Your feet shouldn’t slide around in your shoes when jumping or running. Your toes should reach the ends of your shoes, keeping them firmly in place. That being said, you also want to make sure they aren’t too small. If your toes are curled up or feel cramped in your shoes at rest, they are too small.

Foot Type and Strike

 Another factor to consider is foot type. Some people have flat feet, while others have high arches in their feet. These foot types also determine foot strike when running. Some people strike with the arches of the foot, and others connect more with the outsides of the foot, so it’s important to select the proper type of shoe. Generally, people with footstrikes toward the outsides of their feet would benefit most with shoes with inward curved soles to even out the strike of the foot. People with footstrikes toward the arches of their feet would benefit from straight soles.

Shoe Cushion

Another factor is the amount of cushion the shoe provides. Runners generally benefit most from running shoes with good cushion. Cushioned shoes lessen the impact on the joints when running. However, someone who wants to jump higher in a sport like basketball would benefit more from less cushioned shoes which allow higher jumps. If you want higher jumps, avoid cushioned running shoes or even recovery slides. Recovery slides will cause you to sink towards the ground because they have extra cushion and make your jumps weaker.

Think about this: Will you get better jump height from a gym floor, or a wrestling mat? A gym floor. Because you don’t sink into a gym floor like you do a wrestling mat, the gym floor would give you more “pop” or “bounce” into the air. The type of shoe you wear is extremely critical to improving performance and minimizing injury. Many sports and activities are high impact, and are therefore stressful on your joints, so achieving the right balance of cushion is crucial. 

Recovery Slides

Another type of footwear I like is recovery slides. Recovery slides are sandals with extra cushion. They are great for promoting recovery, since they provide cushion to your joints. These sandals are very beneficial if you do a lot of high impact activities like running, jumping, and landing. They are also great if you are on your feet all day. 

Dress Shoes

Now, let’s talk about dress shoes, or shoes that you would wear to work, or something similar. Most people buy shoes with a raised heel. Many females choose to wear some form of high heels. These types of shoes are really detrimental to your ankle mobility. When you put on this type of footwear, you are placing your ankle in excessive plantarflexion (toes down, heel up).  This limits and jeopardizes dorsiflexion (toes up, heel down). 


When you put your foot in this position, you put your front calf muscle in the lengthened position, and the back calf muscles in the shortened position, limiting ankle mobility, especially if you do wear these types of shoes a lot. It’s better to wear shoes that have a flat sole so that you don’t put your ankle in that position and limit ankle mobility. 

Why should I worry about ankle mobility?

Decreased ankle mobility can lead to higher chance of injury. For example, when you squat with limited ankle mobility, your heels are more likely to come off the ground. This forces you to put the weight on the ball of your feet, which puts excessive stress on the knees instead of putting the weight on the heel of the foot, which puts less stress on the knee. Limited ankle mobility can lead to foot injuries, the most common being ankle sprains. 

Choosing the right shoe

Having proper footwear is extremely important for maximizing performance, and minimizing injury. Follow the tips I’ve talked about to find the shoe that’s ideal for you. 

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more, advancing performance, and reducing injuries, check out fitness adaptive. My corrective exercise course is specifically centered toward correcting movement and postural impairments, improving poor life habits that cause these impairments, and improving joint mobility and stability. The corrective exercise course teaches you techniques to reduce the risk of injury. I’ll even provide guidelines on specific types of footwear based on your goals and needs. This is my invitation to you: take the next step forward, and get the results that YOU WANT!

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