Footwear is the cornerstone of a successful workout routine. Whether you're a weekend warrior or a personal trainer, having the correct pair of shoes for your sport is paramount.
Most people shop shoes on sale - not that there's anything wrong with that - but buying a shoe based on price versus need can result in poor performance.
Your first step (pun intended) is to ask yourself, "What do I really need?" Are you playing tennis or climbing a steep hiking trail? Are you jogging through the park or running a marathon? I know most of us are not running triathlons, but the best way to find out what you need is to go to a specialist who can help get you outfitted with the correct pair of footwear.
Now, I understand the money crunch better than most; shopping sales or discount websites has become a go-to option and that's fine, especially if you're looking for everyday kick-around shoes that you can wear to work or use for a walk in the park on your lunch hour.
But if you're serious about training and are a five-day-a-week runner, hiker or gym rat, spend the extra money and get a pair of shoes that will help your efforts and can even help prevent injuries like shin splints, rolled ankles and foot cramping.
Lucky for us, San Diego has some fantastic footwear stores, and one of the biggest is Road Runner Sports in Kearny Mesa. If you can make it into the store (which is huge), speak with a sales representative and ask for help deciphering the massive shoe wall.
Try these on for size
Road Runner Sports
Where: 5553 Copley Drive, Kearny Mesa
Milestone Running Shop
Where: 2545 El Cajon Blvd., North Park
Where: 1892 Garnet Ave, Pacific Beach
Where: 5490 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla
From there, you can use the in-store treadmills so they can track your stride and give you a full report of "hot spots" on your feet (where you impact the most). Once that is all done, your rep will show you a selection of shoes that fit your needs. They can even order you a custom pair!
If shopping from a website on your lunch break is more your style, Road Runner has a program called "Shoe Dog" that can help you identify some specific shoes that will fit your needs in less than three minutes.
Again, remember to shop for what you need, not just the lowest price. If price is a major concern, let your sales rep know right away and have a look at something off the discount rack. The great thing with big box retailers is they need to move lots of product often, so there is always a huge sale selection of great footwear at great pricing.
I always suggest calling around and finding a place that has the best customer service and product knowledge. One small retailer in Bird Rock called Just Run recently opened and it has a great selection of running shoes and a great staff. The clerks are friendly and approachable and the one-on-one service was much different than my experience in the bigger stores. Shop around, take your time and spend a few dollars more. Your feet will thank you it.
As a lifelong San Diegan, Ken Lewis has surfing and ocean life in his DNA. A 30-year surfer himself, Lewis has worked in the surf and skate industry for most of his career. Send him thoughts about the surfing and fitness worlds to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Instagram @hanger18.