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Men's Athletic Shoes Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right Pair for Peak Performance
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Men's Athletic Shoes Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right Pair for Peak Performance

Do you love sports and want to perform your very best? Having the right pair of men’s athletic shoes is extremely important to achieving that goal. It doesn’t matter if you’re a runner, trainer, basketball player, or just love playing all types of sports; your shoes make a huge difference.

Different types of sports need different shoes so that you can move around comfortably and stay safe at the same time. That’s why you won’t see a basketball player wearing a pair of golf shoes on a tennis court. A good pair of running shoes will give you a bounce, while a good pair of basketball shoes will lend some extra support for quick moves. Cross-training shoes are ideal for different types of workouts, and soccer shoes have cleats so players don’t slip all over the place.

In this article, you’ll learn more about finding the best men’s athletic shoes for you. We’ll talk about the different types of shoes, how to figure out the right size, and some key factors to consider when purchasing your next pair of shoes.

Understanding the Different Types of Athletic Shoes

When looking for men’s athletic shoes, there are a couple of different categories to look at. Each is designed to meet different demands, and choosing the right pair of shoes will boost performance while lowering the chance of injuries. While there are dozens of different shoes out there, let’s take a closer look at some of the more common categories.

Running shoes: Men’s running athletic shoes offer a good measure of cushioning and support to absorb impact while helping propel the foot forward. There are many different styles of running shoes. Some are ideal for pavement, while others are more suitable for off-road running.

Running shoes have cushioning in the midsole, consisting of EVA, air, or gel. They’re breathable, comfortable, and some have stability or motion control for overpronation.

Training shoes: Training shoes are suitable for a wide range of different activities. You can use them for gym workouts, weightlifting, and even aerobics. While they might not be the best shoes for every sport, they do many things well.

Training shoes give you a nice amount of cushion in the heel and forefoot area. Outsoles are typically flexible to help you with multidirectional movements.

Basketball shoes: Men’s basketball athletic shoes strongly emphasize ankle support, traction, and cushioning so players can make quick cuts and high jumps on the court.

These shoes have high-top designs and help with supporting the ankle. The outsoles have herringbone and multidirectional patterns to increase traction.

Soccer cleats: Soccer cleats include studs on the outsole of the shoe. The goal of this is to increase traction on grass.

There are many different types of soccer cleats available, but they should all be lightweight and focused on agility. Some are made for soft ground, while others are made for firmer ground.

Tennis shoes: Tennis shoes provide lateral support and help players make swift side-to-side movements on the court.

In tennis shoes, you’ll find durable outsoles and reinforced toes to withstand the frequent stops and starts associated with the sport.

Some of the popular brands known for their expertise in specific types of comfortable athletic shoes for men include:

  • Nike
  • Adidas
  • Under Armour
  • New Balance
  • Asics

Determining the Right Fit and Size

Figuring out the perfect fit for your men’s athletic shoes is important for ensuring your comfort and reducing the chances of injuries. Shoes that fit well should feel snug but not overly tight. When your shoes fit right, you shouldn’t be dealing with things like:

  • Blisters
  • Chafing
  • Discomfort

The right-fitting shoes should boost your athletic performance, responsiveness, support, and stability. Wearing shoes that don’t fit can throw you off balance and impact your agility. A pair of shoes that matches your foot’s shape and size will also help prevent more serious foot injuries, such as:

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Plantar fasciitis

Measuring Your Foot Size

The easiest way to measure your foot size is by using a Brannock Device at a shoe store or at home. This gives you both the length and width measurements. When you’re measuring your feet, it’s common to have one foot that’s a little bigger than the other. Because of that, you should measure both feet and use the larger size as your reference.

Finding the Right Fit

Finding the perfect shoe for your foot might take time and effort, but it’s worth it. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that play a role in a proper-fitting shoe.

Arch type: Depending on your arch (low, medium, or high), you’ll want to search for shoes that offer the right support relevant to that. Running specialty stores can let you know what type of arch you have and guide you to shoes that offer support for your type of arch.

Toe box width: Next, you need to consider the width of the toe box. When you’re trying on shoes, your toes should have enough room to move around without feeling too cramped.

Heel fit: Your heel should fit in the shoe without rubbing or slipping against the back.

Socks: You should try on shoes with the socks you’ll normally wear during the sport you participate in.

Move around: After you try a shoe on, walk around and see how it feels on your feet.

If you have wide feet, you should look for shoes that are labeled as “wide” or “D” for men or “W” for women. If you have narrow feet, you should focus on options that are advertised as “narrow.”

Key Factors to Consider When Buying Athletic Shoes

As you’re looking for the right pair of men’s athletic shoes for sports, consider some key factors.

Cushioning and Shock Absorption

Cushioning plays an important role in keeping not only your feet comfortable during sports but also your joints. It will help absorb shock and offer a layer of protection so you can perform at your best without strain.

Some of the different cushioning technologies include:

EVA: This lightweight foam provides plenty of shock absorption for the feet. 

Air cushioning: Air cushioning consists of encapsulated air units in the shoe's midsole.

Gel cushioning: This consists of silicone-based gel pockets that absorb shock during activities.

Foam composites: Foam composites are a combination of different foams that aim to balance cushioning and responsiveness.

Stability and Support

Stability and support are important factors to consider in a pair of men’s athletic shoes. As mentioned earlier, they prevent injuries and ensure the foot is aligned properly and help balance your gait while moving around.

Overpronation refers to the inward rolling of the foot, while underpronation refers to the outward rolling of the foot. Depending on your type of foot, getting specialized midsole designs can prevent both of these issues.

If you deal with your heel moving around in your shoes, heel counters help stabilize the heel and prevent movement. This will also prevent chafing and blisters.

If you find that you need a little more support in the arch area, medical posts will help with that. Torsion systems are midfoot support structures that improve stability when changing directions.

Breathability and Moisture Management

Breathability is another important factor to consider when looking for new men’s athletic shoes. As you work out, your feet will naturally get hot and start sweating. This can lead to discomfort and blisters. With breathable shoes that promote air circulation, your feet will be cool and comfortable.

Mesh uppers: Mesh material allows air to circulate in and out of the shoe.

Engineered knits: The right knit pattern will increase breathability and support to specific areas of the foot.

Ventilation holes: Certain men’s athletic shoes have laser-cut ventilation holes that increase air circulation.

Moisture-wicking linings: Inner linings with moisture-wicking material keep feet dry and ward off sweat.

Traction and Grip

Last but not least, if you’re involved in a sport that requires quick movements and frequent changes in direction, you should look for men’s athletic shoes that have good traction. Some of the different characteristics that increase traction in athletic shoes include:

Herringbone pattern: This outsole design is ideal for people playing basketball indoors.

Lug pattern: This pattern is geared toward outdoor activities, such as trail running.

Rubber compounds: With grippy rubber material on the outsole, you’ll reduce the chances of slipping while moving around.

What To Look For in Basketball Shoes

Basketball is a fast-paced sport, and because of that, it requires a pair of shoes designed to meet those needs. Here are some specific requirements to keep in mind for basketball shoes:

Ankle support: Dealing with a sprained foot or other type of ankle injury can be frustrating. High-top basketball shoes provide a great deal of support for the ankle.

Cushioning and impact protection: Another thing to look for in basketball shoes is cushioning in the midsole to absorb shock.

Traction: The outsole of basketball shoes has a herringbone or multidirectional pattern that provides excellent grip, especially on indoor courts.

Breathability: Basketball is a physically-demanding game that can cause a lot of sweat. That’s why basketball shoes are manufactured with breathable material to keep your feet cool.

Durability: Basketball shoes are also manufactured to be very durable and able to withstand constant stopping and starting.

Get Your Next Pair of Athletic Shoes Today

In this article, we talked about the most important things to consider when deciding on your next pair of athletic shoes. We highlighted the importance of choosing the right pair for the right activity and mentioned that investing in athletic shoes will boost your performance and keep you safer from injuries.

At Shoebacca, we encourage all of our customers to make informed choices about their footwear. Take your foot shape and activity preferences into account to find just the right match. 

Got any questions about your next pair of athletic shoes? Feel free to reach out to us today.

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