There are many options when it comes to shoes to wear when working out. Every shoe won’t work for every person since each person’s feet are different and each foot may be different. It’s best to get your feet measured and get advice from a professional shoe store, but here are some basic tips to help you narrow down the large selection of athletic shoes.

1. Know Your Routine

Walking on a treadmill is different than running, and the same shoes may not work for both activities. It’s a good idea for exercisers to know the type of movements they will be performing during their workout on the treadmill. Running on the treadmill is a very different motion than running on the ground and there is a much higher impact absorbed by the balls of the feet. Shoes that are worn for a workout on the treadmill need to provide proper cushioning to avoid injury.

2. Know Your Feet

Any exerciser that has foot problems should talk to their podiatrist before buying running or walking shoes because wearing the wrong shoes can cause injury and make foot problems worse. When buying shoes for exercise for the first time, it’s a good idea to get your feet measured at a store that specializes in athletic shoes. The store employees can measure each foot properly and note any gait issues such as overpronation and pigeon toes. There are three common types of feet, which are;

*Normal Feet – most people have normal feet and there are the most shoe options for people with normal feet.

*Flat Feet – people with flat feet have no arch. There isn’t a visible curve from the big toe to the heel. Flat footed people tend to roll their feet inward when walking or running and should wear shoes that stabilize their feet.

*High-Arched Feet – high arches need special care because running often causes the arches of the feet to fall. Exercisers with high arches usually roll their feet outward while running. They need shoes that absorb shock and are flexible.

3. Weight

Shoes that are designed for walking or running should be lightweight so that it’s easy for the exerciser to move quickly. The problem with shoes that are very lightweight is that they contain very little padding. Each exerciser should try on a variety of shoes to find their perfect balance between the weight of the shoe and the cushioning it provides.

4. Cushioning

Most people who run on a treadmill put more pressure on their heel than their toe, so extra cushioning is needed in the heel area of their shoes to soften the impact of running on a treadmill. The proper amount of cushioning will support each exerciser’s running stance and help them avoid being sore the next day. Runners who aren’t sore are much more likely to stick to a daily exercise program.

5. Comfort

The best shoes are the ones that make the exerciser comfortable. Walking or running in uncomfortable shoes can lead to injury. It is also difficult to find motivation to exercise if you know that you’ll be uncomfortable. It may take a few tries to find the right shoes for your feet, but having shoes that fit properly and feel good on your feet is worth the hassle.

According to a study conducted by Eneslow, The Foot Comfort Center, the average American has about 11 pairs of shoes and three of those they don’t wear because they’re uncomfortable. The best shoes for exercising are the ones that the runner or walker feels comfortable in and wants to wear.

6. Flexibility

If athletic shoes are not flexible enough, the exerciser may experience problems such as shin splints. Good running shoes should not bend in the arch, but they should bend at the ball of the foot. The shoes should also twist if someone twists them. It is difficult for manufacturers to find a balance between support and flexibility of each shoe because every foot is different. Cross training shoes tend to be the best for a variety of activities, but may not be the best shoes for just running or walking.

7. Barefoot

Barefoot running is a popular trend, but it can be dangerous to run on a treadmill barefoot because most treadmills generate heat from the friction of the belt moving. Running barefoot on a treadmill can also cause runners to stub their toes where the belt meets the front of the machine. This is painful and can cause injury. Blisters are a common complaint from people who run on a treadmill barefoot.

8. Budget

Budget shouldn’t be the most important consideration when shopping for exercise shoes, but it is important for most people to find the highest quality shoe for the lowest possible price. Comparison shopping is a great idea, and the Internet is a good source to do so. Shoppers should try on shoes in the store so that they know which shoes fit their feet the best and are the most comfortable. Remember that the shoes will need to be replaced after being worn for 300-500 miles.

It’s best to shop for shoes in the afternoon hours because it is normal for the feet to swell slightly throughout the day. Shoes that are too tight can cause blistering and discomfort. Wearing the same socks that you would wear when exercising helps to ensure that the shoes will fit properly when it’s time to wear them for a workout.