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Selecting Sports Footwear

It's easy to get carried away with choosing a good pair of trainers or walking shoes. Some brands list over 25 different features and benefits, with each brand calling it their own. For example, the cushioning system in asics is Gel, in Nike it's Air, Adidas has Adiprene, New Balance has Absorb, and that's just one of the features.

Tip 1: Look for symbols or writing on the heel, forefront or under the shoe. They may not make sense so ask the one of the staff to tell you what it means. For example, asics SoLyte means that improved cushioning and durability.

There are some basic differences in shoes for running, walking, tennis or netball. Think of the way your foot moves when doing these activities. Running has pressure on the forefront, walking on the heel, and both usually have a straight, forward motion. Playing tennis or netball requires a lot of side movement, changing direction and good grip. Running and walking shoes will be more flexible, bending in the same place your foot bends, and will have a hardwearing outsole for uneven surfaces. When walking, the initial contact of the shoe is more central, so the heel strike zone needs to be larger. There is less forward momentum when walking so the shoe needs increased forefoot flexibility. Tennis and netball shoes will be firmer, heavier, and will have a flat, herringbone type outsole for good grip on flat surfaces.

Tip 2: Look at the outsole of the shoe. Look for grip patterns, flexibility breaks, and check the strength of the mid-sole. Does the shoe feel heavy? Mesh shoes are lighter and breath more.

What is pronation?An underpronator usually has a high arch and favours the outside of the feet when walking, or turning feet inwards. They may feel increased shock to the lower limb. An under pronator should avoid shoes with arch support as this may push the foot out even more. An over pronator rotates the foot when walking or running causing splayed feet. The knees may turn in and knock together when running. Most people pronate to some degree, and require footwear with good support as well as cushioning.

Tip 3: Look for support on the instep, inside and outside of the shoe. On asics this is called Duomax, is a darker colour, and is firmer, than the white EVA cushioning. Mizunos use a wave plate to provide support. Ask the staff to show you the support in the shoe.

Tip 4: Buy the shoe you want. Don't avoid running shoes because you don't run, they are very comfy for everyday wear. A trainer, sometimes called cross-trainer, can be used for walking, running, gym and is a good all round everyday fitness shoe.

Most of the time you will get what you pay for. Sports shoes range from $80-$260. The features kick in at about $100.You can get a very solid, supportive sports shoe for about $120-$150. Sports shoes have a 6 monthly cycle, with new styles colours each January and July. Some shoes keep the same name because customers recogonise and ask for them - e.g. asics Kayano, asics 2130, New Balance 621, Nike Pegasus. Sometimes there is a small update on a 3 month cycle.

Tip 5: We refill our stock for the first 4 months of each cycle and then start to make room for new stock. The best bargains will be in January and June as old stock is cleared. There may be limited sizes but you'll get a shoe for 20 - 30% off. If you know of stock that is older than 6 months, then you'll likely get a 50% bargain.

Most people have slightly different size feet so try both shoes on. Check the size by pressing the toe from the end, not on top.If the shoes are tight, make sure the laces are loose to determine if it is the shoe that is tight. Most people pronate a little when they are walking. Pronation is when your foot/knee turns in or out as you take a step. Put your heel down as if to take a step, and watch your knee as you continue to step. If your knee bends in, then you may need support in the inside arch. Ask the staff to help you with this

Tip 6: Try both shoes on. Check how far your toe is from the end by pressing the end of the shoe. It should be up to a thumb width, no more. Go for a walk around the store. Check inside the shoes to make sure they are both the same size (yes, it is possible that shoes were put away in the wrong box).

If you have any questions at all, ask the staff.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Central Sports.




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