March 4, 2024

Our Precious Feet ~ Tips On Exercise Sneakers & Sport Orthotics

Our Precious, Delicate Feet…
Anyone who knows me, knows that my #1 vote for the most important, and most underestimated, exercise tool is our SNEAKERS. 

You might be thinking, “Duh, I WEAR sneakers.”

Of all the injuries in our community over the years, sports sneakers past their expiration date have been a leading culprit. 

Unfortunately, a surprising number of people treat their sneakers like their tires; Unless the tread looks old, they’re just fine. Not true! 

Wearing old or poor-fitting shoes is like trying to drive a race car with worn-out tires…You’re shooting yourself in the foot! (sorry)

Our sneakers age from the inside out. If they are even slightly stretched out, or if your shoes look worn on the outside, they may not be suitable for a HIIT Mojo class. The padding and delicate construction inside our sneakers provide the support and buffer that our delicate feet/joints need to handle the constant pounding, stomping, and twisting we do in a Mojo session.

Because our feet are tucked away inside our shoes, we tend to take them for granted – until we feel pain. This can lead to neglecting preventative care and waiting until problems become more serious. Wearing poor shoes, especially during high-impact activities, can have a surprising number of negative effects on our health that go far beyond just foot pain:

  • Posture problems: Shoes that lack proper arch support or cushioning can cause your feet to roll inwards, throwing your whole body alignment off. This can lead to back pain, neck pain, and even headaches. 
  • Increased risk of injury: Worn-out or ill-fitting shoes can make you more prone to ankle sprains, stress fractures
  • Joint pain: Poorly cushioned shoes can put extra stress on your joints, especially your knees and hips. This can lead to pain and inflammation. 
  • Balance issues: Shoes that don’t fit well or lack proper support can make it harder to keep your balance. This can increase your risk of falls, especially during your workouts.

New to Mojo? 
If you’re someone who chooses to do our high-impact movements (skipping, jumping), I hope you will consider purchasing running shoes which are made to minimize the shock to your body. 

If you were to tell a store clerk you are buying shoes for a “Zumba” or dance class, they will very likely give you a cross trainer or court shoe. Cross trainers offer support moving side to side, but not enough cushion to protect your body from an hour of HIIT – Mojo style.

Most dance classes have lots of turns and sudden changes in direction. Mojo choreography is fairly straightforward – for good reason. I choose to avoid tricky, unsafe movements so we can focus on intensity. 

Additional Tips for choosing the right shoes for a HIIT fitness workout:

Make sure the shoes fit well. They should be snug but not tight, and there should be enough room for your toes to wiggle.
Get your feet measured by a professional shoe fitter. As we age, it’s not uncommon for our feet to grow as well. This can help you ensure that you’re getting the right size and type of shoe for your feet.
How often should you replace sneakers?
If you work out 4x a week, you should replace your workout shoes every season.
If you wear your shoes outside of classes, then you need to replace them more often.

Watching your pocketbook? Experts agree that replacing sneakers more often with less expensive models is better for the health of our feet than buying expensive models and holding on to them too long.

Consider going to discount outlets like Famous Brand (there’s one at Gateway!). You are better off spending less $$ and putting over-the-counter $20 athletic orthotic inserts in them, which provide extra support and padding. A number of our Mojo friends are fans of custom orthotics which are more $$$. 

Which orthotics are best for you?

I used to think orthotics were for people who were already experiencing an injury. Not so! 

I have personally found that the liners in even the most elite running shoes are very thin and low quality. Since I enjoy high impact HIIT, I always insert an orthotic that provides more cushion as well as arch and heel support. I am not picky and have found that most over-the-counter (OTC) inserts have worked well for me. 

Try reading the package and tailor them to your particular needs. If you have specific ailments, ask your doctor for suggestions. You might be better off with custom orthotics.

Alert! Remember to remove your shoe’s original lining before adding your orthotic insert.

Another $ Tip…
When I find a pair of sneakers I like, I wait for them to go on sale and buy a second or third pair on Zappos or Amazon. Then I don’t feel as bad when I cycle them out – or put them in my Valley Forge hiking or “just errands” pile.

Lastly, but VERY importantly..An injury does not always stem from our workout shoes. Our daytime shoes can be just as dangerous – if not more – to our feet. 

Still wearing heels? Check this out…The effects of high heels to our body


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