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How to Pick the Perfect Athletic Shoe

By Donna Stark

Are you going to buy yourself a new pair of athletic shoes? If so, you may want to learn a thing or two about heel drop. Heel drop is the difference in angle from where the toes and the heel hits the ground. Or another way to describe it is that it's the difference in the amount of material under those two areas of the shoe. Why is this important? Well, it could make all the difference in the world when it comes to being comfortable during your workouts and reducing the risk of pain and soreness.

Picking the Perfect Heel Drop

When you finally head out to hit the stores, you may find that most athletic shoes will have more material under the heel than the rest of the shoe. This additional material is intentionally designed to be there because many people strike the ground with their heel first while running or walking. Basically, it helps to help cushion the impact. But how do you know how much heel drop you need? Well, you can always ask for help while shopping, but in the meantime, take a look at the following guidelines.

  • Seven millimeters or higher - A heel drop that is over 7 millimeters is best for those athletes who strike the ground heel first or who have issues with their Achilles tendon
  • Six millimeters or lower - A heel drop that is 6 millimeters or under 6 millimeters is best for runners who land on the middle or the front of their foot

Problems Associated With Ill-Fitted Athletic Shoes

Since one type of heel drop isn't better than the other, and since there is no magical measurement that suits every single person equally, the only way to find what suits your running or walking style the best is to get a professional fitting and to try the shoes on in person. For that reason, you may want to skip the online ordering and head into the stores yourself. If you don't, you may end up with some serious issues down the road. Here are just a few of them.

  • Calf cramping
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Tight hamstrings
  • Lower back pain
  • Joint and muscle pains

Comfortable Workouts Ahead

Heel drop will vary greatly from one athlete to the next, so don't base your purchase on what your friend or family member uses. Head into the stores and get the pair that best suits your physical condition, sport, and injury history. Taking the time to do so will truly make a difference in how well you feel during and after your workouts.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Carrollton, Tex.

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