Now that summer is finally here, it’s time for all our favourite summer sports to return. Making sure you have the right equipment, including footwear, will help you succeed in whichever sport you choose! Always remember, ultimately the most important feature is going to be the fit! Don’t force yourself into a shoe that is too short or narrow, and a shoe that’s too big will also cause problems. Fit over everything!
Running is notorious for being hard on the knees and bodies, but the right shoe can absorb a lot of that impact and save your joints and muscles. Whether you need support from orthotics or not, always make sure you’ve got the right amount of support.
If you are running on pavement, choose something with some extra cushion to absorb that hard impact. Especially for running longer distances, additional features in a good running shoe, like a rocker sole, will help you go a lot further with less aches and pains. If you’re a trail runner or hiking enthusiast, make sure you’ve got something with a trail quality tread at the very least. Also, a rock plate in the sole is an extra bonus for trail running if you are able to find this kind of a shoe. These features will minimize slipping and sliding, keep you and your ankles more stable, and protect you from the rocks and roots under foot.
Sports like soccer, football and lacrosse are fast and furious with lots of directional changes. It’s best to avoid any traditional high stack shoes and switch to turf shoe or even cleats. These will give you better traction for making cuts during play, but also put you at less risk for ankle injuries as the lower stack height.
Because these shoes usually do not have the support your foot needs, they may require additional support through an over the counter insert or a custom foot orthotic.
Making sure you have a good golf shoe is key for two main reasons. One being you are putting in a lot of steps as you make your way around the course. Two, is that compared to most daily activities, golf involves a lot of pivoting. Choosing a golf shoe with a stiff shank will help with support while walking, and help to control the torque that goes through your foot as your swing. You’ll also notice the specific soles or spikes add a little extra to your game, and maybe even take off a stroke or two, in addition to help stay comfortable all around!
Sometimes, an over the counter insert or custom foot orthotic can be helpful in golf shoes to add extra support. The hours walking and standing on your feet can add up quickly, and can lead to pain if not careful.
Tennis, badminton and the increasingly popular pickleball will all benefit from the same type of shoe. While you still want to stick with basics of stiff shank, rigid heel cup and proper fit, there are a few more reasons to wear a proper court shoe. You’ll notice with these sports you do more pivoting and reaching, spending more time on the balls of the feet, so a proper court shoe will help facilitate and protect your forefoot. It will also be designed for that side-to-side movement, unlike a regular walking or running shoe, to help save your ankles in quick movements. The tacky soling also helps to grip the surface beneath you to minimize a misstep or slipping which can risk hyper extension, or the pulling or tearing of soft tissue.
If you’re going to be a regular at a sport this summer, make sure you consider your footwear just as important as the rest of your equipment. Orthotics can be added to most types of footwear, so if you have specific concerns like plantar fasciitis, bunions, or other types of pain, your Canadian Certified Pedorthist can help find the right solution to up your game this summer!
Written by Katherine Hall, C. Ped (C)