by Jill Csillag

Jill Csillag picture

Don’t forget de’ FEET!

As a personal trainer, I already recognize the importance of wearing proper footwear for physical activity. Let’s face it, your feet are truly the foundation of your body, supporting all your weight and keeping your posture in proper alignment.

I also have the luxury of working part time in a running specialty store, and have had the privilege to attend many training sessions about proper footwear. It’s absolutely amazing all the different characteristics of running shoes, from support ranges, differences in outsoles and midsoles, as well as the importance of proper sizing. Here are a few things I would like to share with you to ensure you are in the right shoe for you, regardless if you are a marathon runner, a gym rat, or simply want to take a walk around the block three times a week.

  1. Proper fit is key. If you have a running specialty store in your area, please go visit it. It’s even better to find a smaller locally owned store if you can. You will get specialized service from folks who have been trained in how to fit you, and they will carry “running specific” shoes that you will not find at department store chains. There are so many different support levels, beginning with neutral, light support, moderate support, all the way up to motion control- it’s hard for the average consumer to know which one is right for them without a proper fitting. Big box stores are a no-no, as they often times will sell last year’s model of a shoe that already has some age to it before you even take it home. It may be a bit more expensive initially, but it is SO worth it to be in the right shoe. After all, it’s your feet we are talking about, and who doesn’t want to have happy feet?
  2. Running shoes have a lifespan of 300-400 miles, or 4-6 months. That’s it. Yes, I know that they still look new on the outside, but believe me, the guts of the shoe are shot. Running shoes break down from the inside out, so by the time you see wear it’s too late. Layers of foam that provide heavenly cushion can only take so much pounding before they lose their ability to rebound. You can retire running shoes and still wear them for various activities, but please don’t try to run or walk in them when they are worn out. You will not do your body any favors by trying to save a buck!
  3. Keep your toenails in good health. I am shocked by the state of some of the toenails I have seen. Please, keep them trimmed to a reasonable length to prevent ingrown toenails, as this can be a very painful condition. If you start to see a fungus of any type manifesting, get to the doctor STAT! Your feet are a very good indicator of the overall health of your body. Take care of them!
  4. Make sure you are wearing the right size shoe. Do your toes feel sore at the ends after a walk or run? Do you have any discoloration on your toenails, or worse, have you lost any toenails? If the answer is yes, chances are you are in the wrong size shoe. Typically you should have a thumbs length gap from the edge of your longest toe to the front of the shoe when you are standing up. You never want your toes to be right at the end of your athletic shoe. This is especially important if you have circulatory diseases such as diabetes; your feet are the furthest distance from your heart, so it’s crucial to maintain good circulation down there.
  5. Last but not least, let’s talk SOCKS. Yes, I know the advertisers have us all convinced that Cotton is the fabric of our lives. Not when it comes to socks! Cotton causes the feet to sweat more than they already are inclined to do, and then it stays damp against the skin. This can lead to blisters, chafing, odor, and eventually fungus growth. Synthetic socks are da bomb! Look for socks that have a blend of polyester, rayon, spandex, or any combination that has the ability to wick moisture away from your skin – as long as there is no cotton present you are good. There are even some merino wool socks on the market that are superior at wicking moisture away from the foot, and they are guaranteed not to itch. Try several different style to see what works for you.

Mom was right, don’t skimp on your shoes!

I hope these few key points can help to shed some light on the importance of proper footwear. You will save yourself lots of discomfort in the long run (no pun intended!) by making sure you are in the proper shoe for your foot. Happy running!

don't forget de feet

Jill is a personal trainer, weight loss success story, and role model in fitness as she deals with the challenges of auto-immune disease. Jill is the personal trainer for our Faithful Finish Lines online faith and fitness program. There is still time to sign up for the beta test (trial run) of this program. Will you come join us?

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