In April, shoe retailers offered huge discounts online for branded running and hiking shoes for men and women, including Adidas and Nike, to raise their revenue. It’s no surprise that buyers jumped at the opportunity to get their dream footwear. Who can blame them? Some brands have slashed as much as 70 percent off regular retail prices.
But fitness professionals and sports coaches are frowning over this habit. They say that buying shoes you haven’t tried or fitted is like buying a car you haven’t seen or test-driven. When your online store-bought shoes arrive, you will see and wear it for the first time. Only then will you know if it’s the right pair or not. Find out below why wearing ill-fitting shoes is bad for your health.
Don’t Wear Out Your Foot with the Wrong Footwear
When your shoes are not the correct size and shape for your feet, they could create multiple problems, such as ingrown toenails, bunions, or corns. Not only are they aesthetically unpleasant, but they hinder a satisfying exercise. Plus, the wrong footwear may cause the following:
Peripheral neuropathy symptoms
Wearing the wrong shoe size or shape puts pressure on your feet. One of the effects of this is developing calluses. One study found that 14 percent of older adults with a history of foot calluses and corns wore the wrong shoe size most of their life. But that’s not all. The researchers also discovered that tight-fitting shoes were exerting pressure on the nerves of those with peripheral neuropathy, worsening their symptoms.
Gait is essential; it’s one of your identifying features. It’s the way you walk. When the factors that form your gait are not functioning the way they should, you might develop an abnormal gait. Your feet structure influences your gait. So, foot corns and injuries due to wearing the wrong shoes could potentially change it. An abnormal one — albeit temporary — can affect the way you move and use your knees, legs, and hips, and eventually, your posture and body alignment.
Poor performance in workouts
Shoes that feel perfect for one activity may not necessarily be right for another. Wearing one pair for different types of workout or outdoor activity, such as running and hiking, is not always healthy for your feet.
The Right Pair for the Right Purpose
How do you select the correct footwear for different activities and workouts? Here are some suggestions, particularly for running and hiking shoes, from fitness experts.
The two primary considerations in running shoes are gait and weight. As mentioned, your gait defines how you walk and run, and how your feet hit the ground when they land. Some run on the inside of their soles (pronator), some run on the outside (supinator). Some have a more central footfall; they are called neutrals. The role of running shoes is to give the first two types of runners a more neutral footfall. If you’re a pronator and you bought shoes online that’s designed for a supinator, it’s like wearing your right shoe on your left foot!
Heavy runners who run distances also need more absorption in their shoes to protect their feet from the prolonged impact. Their shoes should have a cushion that fits their weight and running patterns so that they can avoid injury. Running shoes should also be relatively light, so runners won’t have to carry the weight of their shoes throughout their marathon.
Hiking shoe features are the opposite. Although some newer hiking boots are lighter and more comfortable, they’re heavier than running shoes and made of more protective material. They typically have thick and rough soles, designed to protect the wearer from sharp rocks and slippery slopes. Unlike running shoes, the primary considerations in choosing hiking shoes are protection, waterproofing, and traction. But how would you know that your online purchase has all these? Not all marketing copies are honest, after all.
Hiking shoes come in low and mid-cut. Your choice depends on your hiking trail. Will you hike a mountain or hill? Or will your trail be more level and flat? Wearing high-cut or mid-cut boots may help with trekking on higher ground, as they provide better ankle support, but they are typically heavier. That could make a hiker tire more easily. Low-cut boots can offer the same foothold as long as they have thick, rough, and solid soles.
Buying your branded footwear online isn’t wrong — if your purchase isn’t wrong. The key is to know what your feet need based on your body type and preferred activity. With these tips, you can assess your requirements and buy the correct pair of shoes anywhere you want.
As a final pro-tip: discuss your preferences with your online seller; it will save you a lot of heartaches.