Sport-specific shoes are recommended if you participate in a certain sport at least 2 to 3 times per week.  Wearing a pair of athletic shoes that do not provide the proper support needed for a particular sport can lead to problems.  The latest American Podiatric Medical Association campaign “Play it Safe” is teaching the public how to purchase sport-specific shoes.  They have provided the following educational poster to help people know what to look for in each shoe.

APMA Play It Safe. How to Select Sport-Specific Athletic Shoes

Here are the details.


Common Foot or Ankle Injuries: sprains, stress fractures, Achilles tendonitis

Appropriate Footwear Should

  • Have a thick, stiff sole that provides support for impact.
  • Have high ankle construction that supports the ankle during quick changes in direction (for basketball).
  • Be lighter, have less midsole support, and contain a sole more responsive to quick starts and stops (for vollyball).


Common Foot or Ankle Injuries: turf toe, Achilles tendonitis, ankle sprains, midfoot sprains

Appropriate Footwear Should

  • Have a good amount of high ankle support. This support is especially important for linemen and other players who make frequent lateral movements during play.
  • Allow for proper traction on a grassy field, in both wet and dry conditions.
  • Never be hand-me-downs; ill-fitting cleats increase the risk of ankle injuries.


Common Foot or Ankle Injuries: ankle sprains, turf toe, ingrown toenails, Sever’s disease

Appropriate Footwear Should

  • Have a good-quality footbed, which can help provide proper support for the arch and user’s foot type.
  • Feature the stud type for the ground that will be played on most often: soft, hard, firm, or turf.
  • Use molded rubber cleats rather than the screw-on variety.


Common Foot or Ankle Injuries: sprains, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis

Appropriate Footwear Should

  • Offer support to prevent arch pain, which frequently affects catchers. Customized shoe inserts called orthoses can be prescribed by podiatrists to help alleviate the  pain.
  • Not include metal baseball spikes for athletes younger than 13.
  • Try multi-cleats for children ages 11-15 to avoid heel pain.


Common Foot or Ankle Injuries: plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, Morton’s neuroma, stress fractures

Appropriate Footwear Should

  • Provide shock absorption to help runners avoid injury. Running shoes are made for high-impact forward motion and should not be used for sports with lateral movement.
  • Match your foot’s arch type (high, medium, low). A podiatric physician can measure your feet and let you know what type to look for.
  • Be replaced after 600-800 miles of running or walking, or every 6-8 months.

If you are suffering from a foot injury and need a podiatrist in the Tuscaloosa, Alabama area, give our office a call.  We will be more than happy to treat your foot pain and to advise you on proper footwear to help keep you in the game.