Buying athletic shoes? Here's what to look for

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- From convex bottoms to near barefoot soles, there's a lot to know about choosing the right pair of athletic shoes.

Foot specialist Dr. Paul Copeskey has seen revolutionary footwear come and go. He wants buyers to know how to purchase a shoe. Ad campaigns make it easy to make an inappropriate choice.

"The Sketchers had their 'Shape-ups,' Reeboks with their 'Tone Ups,' and we had the Vibrams come out, the MBTs with the convex bottom," Copeskey said. "It's important to try to find that match between cushioning and stability."

Age, weight, activity, even sport proficiency play roles in making the right decision, along with foot mechanics.

"People come in often wanting things that are maybe not appropriate for them. So, education is key," said Jeff Vannini, who operates Fleet Feet in Encino.

To find the right shoe for you, Vannini has you walk, run, and measures your foot in many ways.

"I need more support, and I am wearing insoles now," said Darcy Lang.

Lang, a running champ, switches up her shoes of choice, which experts also say is key. Don't use just one pair.

No matter what type of shoe you choose, all the experts are now recommending that with your shoe, you buy an insert.

"An insole's role is one of correction, so it adds a third dimension of support and even customizes the process of the fit," Vannini said.

While the display is to entice you, look to the legend located on the inside of the shoe.

"If something has a different color to it, then that indicates that's s a firmer piece within the shoe," Vannini explained.

Those needing arch support should try this test as well:

"When we push the toe and the heel up, we usually don't want to see the shoe bend in the middle," Copeskey said. "Repetitive injuries or what we might say tissue overload can happen pretty quickly when you're in a shoe that doesn't give you enough of that support."

Without good choices, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, even runner's knee may develop.
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