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What Do You Look For In Athletic Footwear? Part 2

Updated on March 20, 2011

The Different Kinds Of Athletic Footwear

Most people move without difficulty in almost any footwear that fits properly, including running, cross-training or walking footwear, all of which supply stability and padding, but distinct types of sports make require different types of footwear. The kind of athletic footwear for you relies heavily on what you are planning to do once you lace them up.

Running Footwear

Walking footwear and running footwear may appear the same, but there are many essential distinctions. Running footwear has to have additional padding, since the feet are able to land with a force that is one and a half to three times the person's actual weight. They also have to supply ample flexibility at the balls of the feet and sufficient stability to regulate pronation and the outsole has to supply more traction on soil, pavement or concrete and be quite durable.

Walking Footwear

These are ideal for individuals that walk for their health or who prefer casual footwear for daily walks. The best walking footwear offer ample padding and have flexible soles; created for the rather low impact that walking has, and allows the feet to rock from heel to toe easily.

Cross-Trainer Footwear

Cross-trainers are versatile footwear that supply a middle-ground between tennis, walking or other quad footwear. They may be a cheaper option to many types of specialty footwear for individuals that engage in a range of sports or activities, but they do not supply sufficient padding and flexibility for high-impact sports or running.

Sports-Specific Footwear

Much athletic footwear is very specialized. For instance, the high tops of basketball footwear are created to offer ankle support and to alleviate the painful effects of lateral moves, sudden stops and starts and jumps while gaming. Golf footwear and baseball footwear both feature cleats that provide traction on grass. Selecting the correct footwear for the task will assist you in achieving athletic perfection.

Footwear Features

Some of the padding in walking footwear is from the spongy fabric of the midsole. Also, some of it comes from the foot's capability to roll inward and in doing so decrease the force on joints and bones. Footwear that incorporates both types of padding while supplying sufficient stableness is one step above footwear that does not. If the footwear is also light, breathable, and flexible, that's even better.

Some other footwear features to think about:


The sole is comprised of three layers. The outsole, or bottom layer, is typically made of rubber for durableness. It's sectioned for flexibleness and grooved to provide traction. The midsole, or spongy center layer, supplies most of the padding. It's normally made of shock-absorbent foam and may include plastic torsion support and air or gel sacs. The underfoot layer, the sock liner, or insole, supplies a bit of extra shock absorption as well as arc support. It is washable and removable in almost all running footwear and in a number of walking footwear as well.

Upper Part

The upper part is the main body of the footwear, the piece connected to the sole that covers the foot. The toe cover - the front part of the shoe - should be sufficiently spacious to allow your toes room to spread and leave 1/2" of space in front of your biggest toe. The heel groove at the back ought to keep your foot from sliding around. Nowadays, the upper part of almost all running footwear are made of synthetic material, despite the fact that a few walking footwear still utilize real leather. The more that your feet perspire, the more you will value the breathability of meshing.

Lacing Up

Metal, plastic or fabric lacing loops make it easy to tighten shoes. Additional top eyelets make it a tight fit around the ankle. Flat shoelaces are not as likely to become loose or come unfastened than rounded shoelaces.


If you are on your feet a great deal every day, you may wish to buy footwear that pairs the support and comfort of walking footwear with a bit of dressy style that is acceptable for the workplace. Regrettably, more fashionable footwear does not perform as optimally as ones that have the casual look of running shoes.


If you walk or jog before dawn or after dusk, reflectors on athletic footwear could offer some security by reflecting lights from passing vehicles. The reflectors that come on most footwear aren't sufficient, but athletic stores provide additional reflectors as well as reflective vests and other clothing.

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