If you notice your feet start hurting while you’re exercise, you might think it’s because you’re out of shape, you haven’t been stretching properly or you’re just working too hard. While these can all be causes of foot pain during and after working out, there is another thing that can cause them… and that is your shoes. Wearing the right shoe is very important when it comes to working out because they basically support your body and help keep your feet, ankles and legs in proper alignment. Wearing the right shoes helps maximize range of motion, balance, stability and even endurance.

When selecting a shoe for exercise you first have to think about what you’ll be doing, because different activities require different types of shoes. So, if you do two very different types of exercise, it would be a good idea to invest in two different types of shoes. For example, high intensity aerobics and tennis or long distance running. However, if you generally do the same type of exercise but mix it up every now and then, a good, well-made pair of cross-training shoes would probably work just fine.

Because there are a variety of different foot conformation types, one particular shoe isn’t going to be the best for everyone. So just because you read that a certain shoe is the best, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the best for you. Before purchasing your shoes you need to find out what kind of feet you have. This might include finding out if you pronate or supinate or neither. You will also need to determine if you need a wide width shoe and what type of arches you have.

If you’re having pain in your feet while working out or afterwards and have a great pair of shoes, you might have just gotten them in the wrong size. This is especially true for runners or if you do high impact aerobics. In these cases, your shoes should actually be a half to a full size bigger than what you might normally wear with other more casual or dressy shoes. A good rule of thumb is that when wearing your shoes, you should be able to press your thumb between your toe and the end of the shoe. You should have enough room for the width of your thumb.

The best way to ensure you’re wearing the right shoes in the right size is to visit a fitness store that has shoe fitting specialists. They are trained in assessing foot size and shape and the proper fit of shoes for various types of exercise. If you find you are still having pain in your feet after this, it would be a good idea to consult a podiatrist as there may be some other issues with your feet which they can diagnose and treat with a variety of treatments, which might just be a good set of insoles or orthotics.