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Choosing The Right Exercise Shoe

Having the right shoe can really set the tone for your workout. If your feet are aching and your ankles are rolling there is no way for you to enjoy your workout or reach your peak performance. There are ways to test if your shoe is right for exercise and signs to look out for when it is time to replace.

Test your shoe for basic stability

Grab the shoe with one hand on the heel and the other hand at the ball. Bend the shoe from front to back, the shoe should bend at the ball of the foot. This is good because the shoe is following the natural hinge point of the foot, allowing it to move correctly.

Hold the shoe at each end and twist like wringing out a towel. If your shoe offers good lateral support it should only twist a tiny bit.

Find the “heel counter” (see image above) at the heel of the shoe, this is a stiff cup sewn into the shoe to support the heel. Squeeze this cup inward at both sides, it should be stiff and not easily collapse inward.

Using the thumb of one hand inside the heel, and the palm of the other hand under the shoe at the heel compress your hands together feeling the cushion of the shoe. The more the shoe compresses the more shock absorption the shoe offers.

When to replace your shoe:


A decent pair of workout shoes are usually good for 6 months if you workout most days of the week, or one year if you are working out a couple times per week.

Look for signs of wear and tear:

Time is not always the right way to gauge needing new shoes though. Pay attention to signs of wear and tear. Seams begin to rip free, soles become floppy or pull away from the base, and insoles lose their cushion creating foot indents.


As shoes begin to change shape they may no longer be comfortable on your feet. They may still meet some of the above criteria but if your feet aren’t happy then it is time to change!

General shoe buying guidelines to consider:


Cost does not always set the bar for the right shoe for you. Plenty of shoes will meet the above criteria and not break the bank. Of course you can always head to specialty shops and get the latest high end shoe technology, but if your shopping with a budget in mind there are plenty of reasonably priced shoes at your nearest department store. Just make sure whatever you are looking at meets the stability test before purchasing and you will be just fine.


Proper workout shoes are completely closed toe with the entire foot being surrounded. The heel should rise up the back of your foot with the sides meeting your anklebones or just below. Finally your shoe should fit snug either tied with laces or secured with straps allowing just enough wiggle room for comfort but not so much it could lead to injury.

Try them out:

Shop for shoes at the end of the day or after a workout. This is when your feet are at their largest so you’ll find the most comfortable fit for all times of day. Lace them up and walk around the store. Your heel should not slide up and down and they should feel almost perfect immediately. ALWAYS try shoes on while wearing socks, and ALWAYS wear socks during your workout!


It is easy to pick a shoe by looks but if it doesn’t meet the stability criteria it is best to keep those shoes for fashion purposes only. They might be better suited for trips to the store and out to dinner. Refrain from buying on looks alone and remember that these shoes have a big job ahead.

Our feet are essential to a successful workout, they work hard for us and we need to reward them with the best exercise comfort we can! If you have a question whether your shoes are still in good repair or if they are right for you come to any WellBound trainer and we will give them a look over and talk it through with you. We want everybody to be safe always!

Stay well,


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