We’re past the halfway mark of 2015 and chances are, you have vowed to turn a new leaf and be active at some point. Whether that vow will become a self-fulfilling prophecy or not remains to be seen.
However, where does a newbie begin? With the plethora of choices, where does one start?
It is very important to identify the type of activity you wish to do. If it’s running—outdoors or indoors? Is it weight training? Dance or group exercises that are mostly done in the gym?
Once you have identified your preferred activity, we look at footwear that is appropriate for you.
Coming in feet first
Beginners can never go wrong with a pair of cross-trainers. They are called such because you can use the pair for any type of activity: running on the treadmill, cardio dance classes, functional training, and weight training. There are brands like New Balance that are very specific. They have high-intensity cross trainers and gym trainers.
What if you would rather pound the pavement and be a weekend warrior? Then I would suggest that you get a good pair of running shoes. Choosing the right pair, however, is tricky. Based on this podiatrist Ian Griffith’s view on pronation, choosing a pair of shoes based on your arch should be an outdated practice as no supporting studies show that it helps prevent injury.
Instead, go by your comfort level: Some brands have narrower fit, while others are more generous. Some shoes have narrow toe boxes, others have ample room for your toes. In order to avoid the guessing game, it is highly encouraged that you try on as many pairs as you wish, while wearing the right pair of socks.
And since we are on the subject of what is or isn’t right for everyone, not all shoes are created equally. As you read more and more articles about running, you will come across barefoot running for sure. And you will wonder, is it for you? It is still a very controversial topic and while running barefoot or in minimal shoes can foster the correct running form, which is the forefoot strike, no scientific research can back up that this is entirely beneficial or right for everyone.
Some do’s and don’ts
#1 Don’t buy trainers from anything less than a sports brand
With the influx of apparel brands that also include trainers in their merchandise, I would still advise you to get from the reputable brands. After all, that is their bread-and-butter. Their brand is built and founded on good reputation, plus they have the proper technology to develop their merchandise further. Bottom line is I would not trust my fitness regimen to just anyone and neither should you.
#2 Do choose socks specifically for sport
It doesn’t matter if you prefer the thicker or thinner socks. In the end, whichever you are most comfortable is best. Just remember that you need sports socks and not just any type of socks because sports socks are still thicker than your ordinary white socks. Some brands claim to prevent blisters and that is because they keep the feet dry. But sometimes, blisters still occur because the skin on your toes rub against each other. For me, the trick is to wrap each of my little piggies with athletic tape.
#3 Don’t throw out your shoes based on the number of miles
Check the sole of your shoes from time to time, especially if you have been doing high impact activities or chalking up a lot of mileage in them. I don’t subscribe to the number of miles because wear-and-tear may vary.
#4 Do take the time the properly choose the right shoe for you
In case you get stumped and can’t decide on which one to get—because that can really happen—you may also read up on the reviews of the particular style or brand that you like. That should make things easier.
Ruby Gan is a fitness enthusiast who is a three-time double-gold medalist in the Powerlifting Association of the Philippines championships and a three-time silver medalist in the Asian Bench Press Championship. She has completed nine full marathons, one ultra marathon, and countless half marathons. She is the founder of the first Kickass Manila Sports and Fitness Expo, which kicks off this Aug. 8.
A self-professed shoe-aholic who loves her heels and sneakers equally, she is also the co-owner of fashion boutique Myth.
Art by Dorothy Guya