Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

If the Shoe Fits…Finding the Right Athletic Shoe


Fitness starts with your feet. The energy from the earth as your feet hit the ground gets transferred into your body and travels through a kinetic chain from the soles of your feet all the way up to the top of your skull. Knowing this, it makes sense to choose the right athletic shoe for your sport, with the right fit for your foot to maximize your efforts and minimize pain and injury.

Fitness shoe shopping can be a bit daunting with the vast selection of colors, styles and high tech marketing.

Here’s a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts for buying athletic shoes, to make the process a little easier.

Following these guidelines can help increase your fitness level while staving off foot, ankle, knee and back injuries, because the wrong shoe can affect every part of your body.

  1. Splurge. Buy the best shoe you can. This is not the time to hit the mega discount store for a $20 shoe.
  2. Function. Go for function not fashion. Lots of designers have uber trendy fitness looking shoes. They are just fine for going to dinner, but not for working out. Buy a shoe from a reputable athletic company that focuses most of its time and money into the latest research on foot mechanics for sports endeavors.
  3. Sport Centered. Buy the right shoe for your sport. Walking shoes are stiffer. Running shoes are lighter and less stiff with good shock absorption in the sole.. Tennis and basketball shoes have more lateral support to protect your ankle and a flatter, flexible sole for quick cuts to the side on the court. Buy the shoe that’s right for your sport. If you participate in several sports, buy shoes for each sport. Don’t’ do long distance running in basketball shoes and shoot hoops in running shoes.
  4. Cross Trainers?   Cross Trainers are designed for a generalized work out in the gym. If you participate in a specific sport 3 or more times a week you will need a shoes designed specifically  for that sport.
  5. Brand.  Try on shoes from different athletic companies. Each one seems to cater more to certain foot types. Once you find a great fit, you’ll probably stick with that shoe company for years.
  6. Comfort. Make sure it’s comfortable in the store. You don’t break in athletic shoes . They need to feel good from the get-go.
  7. Time to try. Try shoes on at the end of the day when your feet are a little swollen. That’s how your feet will be after working out for a while.
  8. Socks. Don’t use the disposable socks the store provides. Bring the socks that you’ll be wearing when you work out for the best fit.
  9. Thumb rule. Have a thumb’s width room between the front of the shoe and your big toe. Make sure you can easily wiggle all of your toes while having a snug grip in the heel.
  10. Not for everyday. Keep your athletic shoes for your sport. Don’t use them as everyday shoes, as the foot pattern and wear is different for exercising than it is for running around town doing errands. Plus, you’ll wear them out so much sooner and need to replace.
  11. Replace. Replace when the tread is wearing out in spots on the sole. For walking/running shoes that’s 300-500 miles. For aerobic activity 300 hours.

For the best fit, I highly recommend going to a specialized athletic shoe store that sells different brands of shoes. The sales people at these stores are well trained to fit every foot type for the right shoe and will do a walking analyses to assess your foot/gait pattern. Please note that changing to a shoe that offsets bad foot patterns, e.g. overpronation due to fallen arches, can take some time getting used to as it will change how you step. Hang in there. It’s better for your feet and body in the long run.

Here’s a list of athletic specialty stores in the greater LA area that can help you find the perfect shoe for you.

A Runner’s Circle
745 N. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles 
A Runner’s Circle
3216 Los Feliz Blvd.
Atwater Village 
Front Runners
8625 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood

Front Runners

11620 San Vincente Blvd.
Top to Top
2621 Wilshire Blvd. 

Santa Monica


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Deborah Brooks
Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.

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