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Get Comfortable Shoes

If you're going to take up jogging you need comfortable, well-cushioned shoes.

"In a mile of jogging, a 150-pound person puts more than 300,000 pounds of stress on each foot," says orthopaedic surgeon Glenn Pfeffer, MD, assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical School. "A race car is only as good as its tires. If you're a jogger, get appropriate shoes."

The most important thing is to find shoes that fit your feet well, he says. That's more important than the label or model.

"In any industry you find a lot of marketing. If they could sell you a jogging shoe for Monday and a basketball shoe for Tuesday and a cross-trainer for Wednesday, they'd like that," he says. "For most people who are jogging as a recreational activity, many shoe styles can work, but good shoe fit is critical."

If possible, go to a shoe store where a trained professional is available to fit you, advises Robert B. Anderson, MD. "If you just pull shoes off the shelf yourself, you may not realize they're too short until problems develop." Anderson, an orthopaedic surgeon, is the chairman of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society's public education committee.

To find the best shoes:

  • Remember that your foot size varies throughout the day. Try on new shoes after you've exercised or at the end of the day.
  • Take the same socks you'll use for jogging. They should fit well, be made without seams, and have a fair amount of cotton. If you use extra-thick socks while running, select shoes with enough room.
  • Fit the shoe to your longest toe, which is often your second toe. You should have at least 1/4 inch of space beyond your longest toe.
  • The shoe should grip your heel firmly.
  • While the shoe is on your foot, you should be able to wiggle all your toes.
  • Shoes should be comfortable when you first try them on. Don't buy shoes and plan to "break them in" by wearing them.

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