We here at our scrappy initiative are outspoken about anything that roadblocks activity participation. One of the biggest is the notion that you need to wear (comparably expensive) activity-specific clothes to do specific activities – otherwise don’t even think of watching the activity class much less doing it. Crazy, right! Unless you want to, you don’t need to buy an expensive hi-tec t-shirt when a less expensive cotton one would work just fine…

But, please don’t skimp when it comes to shoes!

I tagged along as a friend shopped for new fitness shoes at a popular self-help, discount shoe store. With the weather beginning to get chillier the boots area was the most congested, but at a close second was the sneaker area. The inventory was organized according to price and the lower the price the more crowded – kind of like chickens at feed time. Of the less expensive offerings shoppers gravitated to the trendy neon colors and didn’t seem to care these were ‘factory seconds.’ Interestingly, the reason for the demotion was provided on some of the boxes. Half had some kind of a cosmetic flaw – no biggie! but the other half had compromised construction – BIGGIE! A color bleed is one thing because it doesn’t have anything to do with how the shoe performs, but a failed design isn’t anything to mess around with. No matter how
trendy or popular, if a shoe is telling you it isn’t going to work properly please don’t buy that shoe!

It was all I could do to control my urge to get on the store microphone and instruct everyone to BACK AWAY FROM THE FLAWS…

1. Respective to your budget, spend as much as you can on shoes. Like anything, higher end shoes can be overpriced, but for the most part price and quality go hand-in-hand.
2. Cross-trainers are suitable for general fitness activity including most group fitness classes, but if you walk/jog/run, it’s in your best interest to wear these specific shoes and get fitted by someone who will observe, then match your gait to its most appropriate model. Running stores tend to be operated by folks who breathe all things running and want to spread its joy. It’s in their best interest as well as yours to make sure you get shoes right for you. As an added bonus, while you are at the store you can register for an upcoming running/walking event!

Another shoe resource is Runner’s World magazine. Either their print or online version covers the latest in the shoe industry including editor’s picks based upon a number of meaningful variables. Color tends to be low on the list…

Wear whatever is going to cover your junk but don’t risk undue joint stress and strain with under-performing shoes. Motivation can start from the ground up – literally. If your feet, then ankles, then knees, then hips, start to hurt, even I have to admit hitting FitBESTS won’t do much to sustain your motivation.