Choosing the right trainers is an important part of kitting yourself out for exercise – both to provide comfort and avoid injury – scroll down for our tips
Words Joy Montgomery
It might sound like a marketing ploy, but in fact it’s important to choose the appropriate shoe for your chosen activity. This is because different forms of exercise require different sorts of movement, thus different levels of cushioning. For example, tennis has lots of lateral movement, which requires stable upper and lateral support, while running needs cushioning and stability.
Fit is the most important consideration when buying trainers. Too small and you’ll end up with black toenails, too big and you’ll get blisters from rubbing. Unlike leather shoes trainers shouldn’t need to be ‘worn in’, so if they don’t feel instantly comfortable then try a different pair. Keep in mind the following things when judging fit: heel (snug but not tight); instep (snug and secure); width (room for a small amount of movement) and length (leave an inch for feet to swell). Also remember that different brands have different fits, so don’t assume you’ll be the same size universally.
CHOOSE FUNCTION OVER FASHION
Yep, this is hard for us to admit, but when it comes to trainers function should trump form. They might look chic but that’ll be the last thing on your mind when you’re limping home from a run covered in blisters. Luckily ‘fashion trainers’ are still on-trend this season, so feel free to go to town buying cool, design-led styles, then put on your practical hat for exercise.
Ok, so high price doesn’t always equate to better quality when it comes to fashion, but trainers are one thing not to scrimp on. Aim to spend £60 upwards for a decent pair of trainers and stick to reputable brands. Also remember that trainers don’t last forever. Over time the foam sole will get compressed and become less effective at cushioning impact, which can result in joint damage.
GO TO AN EXPERT
If you’re feeling a bit lost then there are plenty of great running shops that offer the expertise and technology to help you find the perfect fit. Many stores have their own built-in running tracks, so trained assistants can watch you move in shoes and judge whether they’re right for you. Some also have scanning machines which help calculate everything from weight distribution and foot alignment, to gait and arch height. London has plenty of great options, including Sweatshop, Nike Running Store and Asics.