How to Choose the Right
Athletic Shoes

Before you think about a shoe brand or what color you like, you should consider several other factors when choosing athletic shoes. 

Your Feet

The first thing to consider is your feet.  Let’s face it…everybody’s feet are different.  Some women have narrow feet, others are average, but many have wide.  I don’t have much arch to my feet, but my daughter has higher arches.

Foot type is one of the things to consider when choosing athletic shoes.

Your feet can even change during your lifetime.  I know my feet seemed a little flatter after my pregnancy.  Sometimes your feet get wider as you get older or if you put on weight.  After religiously buying one size all your adult life, you may suddenly find yourself needing a larger size shoe.

While we may not be able to control the way our feet change over time, there are some factors we can look at when choosing athletic shoes to get a better idea of the right fit, right now.

These include:

Athletic Shoe Design

Pretty much any type of athletic shoe or “sneaker” will offer you comfort and support.  But the way you use your shoes can put different demands and stresses on your feet.  When choosing athletic shoes, you should keep in mind what you will be using them for.

If you are a serious runner, you will probably want more cushioning in the shoes that you choose.  Similarly, if you play a particular sport, you will want a shoe that will protect your feet and aid in performance.  If you just want shoes for daily comfort, these things may be less important than color and style.

Choose the right athletic shoes based on your activities.How you use your shoes is an important factor in choosing the right ones.

Here are some factors to consider about the shoes themselves:

Other Things to Keep in Mind

In addition to determining your foot type and how you will be using your athletic shoes, here are some other tips to consider to help you choose the right shoes:

  • Athletic shoes should be replaced after 350 to 400 miles of use.  But you can usually tell by the way they look and feel.  If the soles wear out, the shoes feel less comfortable, or they offer less cushion and support, then they likely need to be replaced.

  • If possible, try potential new shoes on and walk around a bit in them.  If they don’t feel totally comfortable, then they are not the right fit for you.  Things will not change when you take them home, and even “breaking them in” won’t make them feel better if they don’t feel right on the first try.

  • The lighter the shoe you choose, the better the shoe performance – as long as you still have enough stability and cushioning.
  • The clear gel or air in an athletic shoe’s heel provides the cushioning and shock absorption, which is good for most people.  But if you have trouble with your ankles twisting easily, the extra cushioning actually provides less traction and may not be the right choice for you.
  • Is the price right?  A lower cost shoe may not last as long or offer as much stability and flexibility as a more costly one.  But also be aware that a shoe may cost more because it’s a popular fashion style or a celebrity endorses it.  But that won’t make it any better for your feet.

  • For more information about shopping for new athletic shoes, see my shoe buying tips page!

Athletic shoes on sale

Read This if You Have Plantar Fasciitis

If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, which is a painful foot condition, and you are looking for athletic shoes to help you with it, check out this article.

Athletic Shoe Materials

Athletic shoe materials can affect the weight, stability, durability, and comfort of your shoes, so the materials you choose should be based on how you are going to be using those shoes.

For a look at the main materials that make up our athletic shoes, read this article.

What Do the Experts Say?

A lot of people have opinions and advice about what to look for when choosing athletic shoes.  But there are some who may be considered experts in the field because of their education, training, or experience.  Medical professionals, professional athletes, coaches, and even specialty shoe store employees come to mind.

I plan to bring you stories and interviews with a variety of people in these positions to help you make the choice that is best for you.

Click the links below to see each of these stories:

Physical Therapists



Specialty Athletic Shoe Store Employee

Designing Your Own

Once you've done your research and you have an idea what athletic shoe you're looking for, it may be difficult to find just the right color or style you want.  Now you can design your own custom athletic shoes to express your personality and stand out from the crowd.  Click here to find out more!

  1. Athletic Shoe Review
  2. Choosing the Right Shoes