When I was younger, I remember going to Lady Footlocker for all my athletic shoe needs. I was always looking for basketball, volleyball and tennis shoes.  I remember asking the woman working there, which shoes I should get for these particular sports. To this day, I remember she (and many other of their employees) always pointed me toward cross-trainers.

While I have nothing against cross-trainers, they just weren’t what I really needed. I needed a few pairs of nice court shoes. In middle school, I had no idea that athletic shoes mattered. But ever since I started running, I began to realize how crucial it is to have the right pair of workout shoes. It took a few shoe-related running injuries for me to figure things out.

I’m starting to get really excited – and nervous – about this weekend. On Saturday, I’ll be running my 3rd marathon. I have constant butterflies in my stomach as if I’m training for my first marathon all over again.  I need to find some good running shoes so I don’t get hurt again.

It’s tricky not to let pre-race jitters get to you because training for a marathon is such a long and intense experience that it can’t help but weigh on your mind. I registered for my marathon mid-January, back when I was looking to make some goals for the new year. I have been training for 18 weeks straight. I didn’t take a single week off. I even did my training runs while on a ski vacation. The point is that I have spent countless hours running, sweating, waking up early on weekends and pushing myself to my limits to ensure that I’m prepared for this race.

Here are some of my tips on how to purchase the perfect pair of workout shoes for you:

Determine what activities you’ll need the shoes for

Each type of shoe is designed with a specific purpose in mind. For example, runners need an extra cushion in the heel and ball of their foot, and running shoes have this extra support built-in. If you play basketball or tennis, you’ll need good court shoes. If you participate in a lot of activities, you might consider getting two pairs of shoes. Otherwise, opting for a cross-trainer, which is meant for a mixture of activities is also a good choice.

Study your foot’s pronation

Pronation refers to the movement of your foot as it strikes the ground. If when you walk, you notice your foot hits the ground evenly, you have what’s called a neutral strike, which makes it fairly simple to find shoes for you. If you overpronate or underpronate, be sure to speak an experienced sales associate who can observe your pronation and guide you in the right direction.

Shop for workout shoes in the afternoon

because your feet will swell throughout the day, which will give you a better idea of how they fit. Also, make sure and bring the socks you would normally wear to workout when trying on shoes. Athletic socks differ in thickness and cushioning from everyday socks.

Closely check the overall fit of the shoe

You want about a half-inch of wiggle room between the end of the shoe and the top of the toes. Make sure that the shoes don’t slip on your heel.

Test out the workout shoes

It’s important to walk around the store or outside for at least 10 minutes so that you get an idea of how they’ll feel.

Have you ever experienced pain or injury because of poor workout shoes?

What’s your favorite brand of workouts shoes?

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