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Athletic Shoe Guide to More Comfortable Feet

Updated on February 28, 2012

Flat feet or high arches?


Do you overpronate?

Choose the right shoes for exercise and your feet will thank you!

Your shoes matter when it comes to exercise. Whether you are walking, running, doing aerobics or playing sports, you need to have proper equipment for your feet. You may think it's as easy as choosing your size, but you'd be wrong. Choose a shoe based on your foot type and replace your athletic shoes every 500 miles, or every four to six months, and it will make a difference in how you feel after exercise. Here are some of the best athletic shoes for your feet in 2012.

Shoe Type: Stability or Motion-Control Shoes

If you tend to overpronate, this means you most likely have a low-arch or flat feet. You could be tweaking your knees, calves and shins during exercise, especially routines involving plyometrics, trail running and stop-and-go sports like tennis. Here are some of the top choices for overpronators.

Adidas Supernova Riot

I own the Supernova Riot 3 and can attest to their effectiveness. These are officially trail running shoes, but I use them for step aerobics and weightlifting. I don't recommend using your indoor shoes for outdoor exercise. Buy separate shoes if you plan to workout in the gym as well as outdoors. These shoes have superior cushioning and excellent stability for overpronators. One of my favorite features of this shoe is the 40 percent stickier traction; aerobics studio floors can get humid and slippery and these shoes do a good job of protecting from falls. I haven't used them outside, but I would suspect they do the same job, as far as traction, on trail and road runs. The Supernova Riot also has a pro-moderator medial support device which prevents overpronation. A tip: wait until the latest model (i.e. Supernova Riot 4) is on sale and purchase the previous model at a deep discount.

Asics GT-2170

Asics are known for their GEL-cushioning system which provides extra cushioning and impact control for the heel and forefoot. The GT-2170 is specifically designed for the worst overpronation problems. They provide guidance control, midfoot stabilizer and memory foam cushioning in addition to the GEL-cushioning system. Reviews show they are superior in the cushioning department for sure. The Asics Gel-1170 is another choice in 2012 for overpronation. It contains firm foam in the midsole for extra arch support.

Rykä Pursuit 2

If you are looking for moderate pronation control, the Rykä Pursuit 2 is a great choice for women. Rykä designs athletic shoes specifically for women. The Pursuit 2 is a running shoe with heel and forefoot cushioning, and impact control. They're very lightweight, and at around $60, they are an affordable choice for anyone. All of the Rykä athletic shoes are super affordable and have received excellent reviews.

Underpronators or Supinators
Shoe Type: Neutral Cushioning with Softer Midsole

If you underpronate, or supinate, you have a high arch meaning you are prone to ankle rolls, shin splits and sore outer feet. This is rarer than overpronation, but it can cause problems for those who suffer from it. Here are some good choices for high arches.

Nike Zoom Vomero

The average retail price for the Nike Zoom Vomero is around $130, but the customer reviews agree they are worth the money. These shoes are designed for runners and marathoners with high to neutral-arched feet. Customer reviews show pros are superior cushioning, durability on the outer soles and excellent flexibility. The cons are that the traction is not meant for icy conditions, and the ventilation is not ideal for extreme heat. If you are looking for a more affordable option with similar features, the Nike Air Pegasus is also a great choice at about $50 less.

Adidas Response Trail

I added a youtube video of the review for an older version of the Adidas Response Trail on this hub. I did this so you can see the features this trail running shoe has to offer, and because their updates in subsequent years are normally slight, keeping the same basic shoe model. The Response Trail is a great cushioned shoe for underpronators as well as neutral-arches. It works well for road running in addition to trail running.

Normal Pronators
Shoe Type: Stability Shoe with Moderate Arch Support

If you pronate normally, you can most likely wear any type of shoe. Neutral cushioning and stability are a plus in any case.

Asics GEL-Cumulus 12

These running shoes are designed for just about every foot with the exception of severe over-pronators. Users boast of disappearing knee pain and shin splits after running in these shoes. They are lightweight, but also provide additional cushioning, even recognizing changes in the arch and compensating to give you a comfortable run on virtually any surface.

Brooks Pure Connect - Minimalist Shoes

Trending now are something known as minimalist shoes. The most recognizable is the Vibram FiveFingers that look like a literal foot glove. These are for runners who like feeling of being nearly barefoot during their journey. They are made so that runners will almost bounce off the arches of their feet instead of the heel. Some people love them, others need more underfoot support. The Brooks Pure Connect are priced around $90. They have a snug fit with foam from about the midsole to the front. The Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove is another lightweight choice in this category for around the same price. They boast stimulating muscles and strengthening the feet and legs through running with their shoes. Though they are meant to be extremely lightweight and flexible, they are still ideal for muddy or rocky trail conditions. Tip: When transitioning from a regular running shoe to a minimalist shoe, take it slowly by trying an in-between option like the Saucony Peregrine which gives additional padding, but is still considered a minimalist shoe since it encourages midfoot strike.

Adidas Adistar Ride

These are probably the highest priced out of all the shoes here, at $145. They provide midsole support while allowing your foot's natural motion. The ClimaCool technology provided with this shoe allows for maximum breathability. The Adistar Ride is miCoach compatible so you can track your progress online when marathon training or just training to lose weight. These shoes are especially helpful for larger runners that pound the pavement. They are heavier (11.7 oz for men10.3 oz for women) than typical running shoes which may be off-putting to smaller, petite runners.

Here's another tip: If you don't know your foot type, look at your shoe wear pattern from your old running shoes. Place them on a flat surface. If they lean outwards you are an underpronator. If they lean inwards, you are an overpronator. You can also take the wet foot test to determine your arch type. If you still need help, no need to visit a podiatrist. Visit your local Walmart or other pharmacy and step up on the Dr. Scholl's Custom Fit Orthotics Footmapping Machine to discover your foot type quickly and easily.

Review of Saucony Peregrine - Minimalist Shoes with Extra Padding

Review of Adidas Response Trail


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