You can find an athletic shoe for every athletic activity imaginable – tennis, fitness, basketball, walking, rock-climbing, running…but what’s the difference in these shoes? Particularly, how is a running sneaker different from other types of fitness sneakers? Our Alexandria VA podiatrist is here to explain.
First of all, the term “sneaker” is a generic description for different kinds of athletic or athletic-looking shoes. They have flexible uppers, often leather or canvas, and soft rubber out soles. They are called “sneakers” because you they don’t make noise on a hard floor surface, so you can “sneak” up on someone without them hearing you!
According to our Alexandria podiatrist, running sneakers are a specific type of shoe, designed to promote forward movement, with little lateral (or side to side) stability built in. Running sneakers normally have a slightly raised heel and some good cushioning in the mid sole.
In the past 5 – 10 years, less cushioned running shoes have become a bit more popular, as a flatter sneaker with less cushioning discourages heel-strike running and encourages forefoot running, which is better for your knees in a long-term running regimen.
Walking or jogging sneakers are engineered for heel-to-toe movement – or for your heel striking the ground first instead of your forefoot striking first. This means a shoe with more cushioning, particularly in the heel.
One of the first steps to healthy running is wearing supportive running shoes. Not only can the wrong sneaker impede performance, it could also result in a variety of foot problems including runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, or even early-onset arthritis. Shoes designed for the impact of your fitness activity, however, can prevent injury and improve your performance.
If you’re a serious runner or you are looking to take up the activity for the first time, have our Alexandria VA podiatrist at The Podiatry Center examine you and help you answer some of the questions above. Also, bring in your current sneakers, so you can show the podiatrist where you put the most pressure when you walk!
Another worthwhile investment is socks for running – beyond the basic whites. Consider the fabric, size, and seams for comfort – particularly consider socks that can wick away irritating sweat (such as Cool Max or Dri-Fit). Also, select a sock that comes in a range of sizes (extra-small to extra-large) to avoid blister-inducing slippage.
The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to foot and ankle care, feel free to contact The Podiatry Center, with a convenient podiatry office location near Alexandria VA, by clicking here or by calling 301.656.6055.