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2. Choosing the Right Shoe -- for the Wrong Workout continued...

“There’s no specificity to them -- you can’t do any one thing well,” Puleo says. “They have some lateral stability, so you can play a game of basketball with your kids occasionally. You can run a mile or two. But most of them are not very good shoes for any particular activity."

Then again, some people aren’t heavily into running, hiking, tennis, or any one sport. They go to the gym occasionally, maybe play tennis with a work buddy once in a while, or shoot a few baskets with the kids. For them, a cross-trainer might be the best choice.

"A good cross-trainer will allow you to do the treadmill, some walking on asphalt or on a track, and light jogging," says Kathleen Stone, past president of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). "Not mileage, of course. But I like them for people who are doing a variety of athletic endeavors casually."

To choose a good cross-trainer, Stone suggests you look for:

  • A firm heel
  • Good support (you shouldn’t be able to bend the shoe too easily)
  • Light weight (you don’t want to add a lot of pounds to your feet)

But the APMA recommends that if you’re going to participate in a particular sport two to three times a week or more, you should choose a sport-specific shoe.

3. Loving Them Too Much

"Your workout shoes should be your workout shoes and not your running-around-town shoes," Rogers says. "You’ll break down a pair of shoes standing in them or wearing them to the mall and running errands much faster than when you’re running or exercising."

So buy yourself a pair of casual tennies for running around town, and stow your good workout shoes in the closet as soon as you get home from your run or your tennis game.

4. Loving Them Too Long

Another big mistake many people make with athletic shoes is not replacing them often enough.

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