Life is all about the struggle, and of course how to overcome it. Performance shoes are the same way. We athletes rely on our feet, so it's important to keep those feet healthy and happy. Everyone has experienced some of the unglamorous aspect of being an athlete, and this often involves your feet— untied laces, traveling tongues and those dreaded blisters. Not to worry though, here's a list to help. From quick fixes, to what warrants seeking expert advice, here are 25 Common Performance Shoe Struggles (And How to Fix Them).
You Are Between Sizes
Solution: It's extremely important to visit a specialty shoe store and get your correct size at least once every two years. You're feet can change just like the rest of us, it's best to make sure you are putting yourself in the correct size to start off. If you do have feet that are hard to fit, there are solutions such as orthopedic insoles to help (check out MasterFit's, they feel great). Sometimes sizes vary depending on brand, but the general rule of thumb if you are between sizes is to go with the larger of the two and work with a pro to make sure your insole fits you properly.
Your Performance Shoes are Too Neon
Solution: They looked great in the store but now that you're at the gym, you feel like a rave escapee. Two options: live and learn and eventually maybe you'll get use to the eye-catching hue, or two, sign up for your next mud run and give them a nice "worn-in" look to dull down the acidic colorway. Next time, know that there are plenty of neutral hued options out there, check out these from Newton Running.
Your Performance Shoes Aren't Neon Enough
Solution: The good news is that neon sneakers don't make you faster. However, if you're just not satisfied with how bright your current options are, go with something from the Nike Volt collection, or check out the lastest Asics GEL-Noosa, the Tri 8.
Your Trail Shoes Collect Too Much Dirt
Solution: Running brands have actually already cooked up a solution for the most common problem for trail and mud runners alike. Meet the Trail Gaitor, a simple fix for runners looking to avoid dirt and debris falling into their socks and messing with their stride.
They Look Like Your Dad's Shoes
Solution: Go for a splash of color or switching up the laces, or if you're dad isn't the stereotypical suede walking shoe type, then be proud that he has as excellent tastes as you.
They Use So Much Plastic, It's Hard to Believe It's Good for the Planet
Solution: More than a few brands offer eco-friendly options, but the most notable option is Brooks Running's BioMoGo midsole, the world's first-ever biodegradable midsole in a running shoe. Learn more about the Green Silence here.
Your Shoes Fall Off When It Matters Most
Solution: Even the best of shoes tend to fly off when the heat is on. The best track runners, basketball players, and skaters in the world has it happen, so when it happens to you, take it as a sign that your game is as intense as the pros, do like Wade and make sure the shoe is off the court, and play on!
Great for Intended Purpose, Not for Anything Else
Solution: Buying a specific shoe for exactly one purpose is a good move, you're not compromising by purchasing something that could water down the performance features other shoes exude. On the other hand, have another pair of kicks on hand for post-game. We like Oofos, despite the ...interesting... look, these flip flops feel like a tall glass of lemonade on a hot summer day after a long race in the middle of a desert. Yep, that good.
Not Supportive Enough
Solution: Swap out the insoles for a bulkier set or go with a more supportive model all together, like the Saucony Triumph 15. This is something you should do a little research into, head to your nearest running specialty store to see if you need extra medial support to amend any pronation.
Your Socks Go Missing
Solution: Not missing as in you never saw them again after they went into the dryer, rather they slip down your heel and don't reappear until you kick off your shoes. Select socks with a pull tag at the back (like these from Balega), preferably equipped with a bit of padding above the heel, made to stop socks from disappearing mid-play.
Solution: A no-nonsense solution to a no-nonsense problem, as simple as it sounds. Use a powder like Gold Bond to fight the adverse effects sweating does to feet and always wear sweat-wicking, antimicrobial socks.
Your Favorite Pair of Running Shoes Aren't Reflective
Solution: Let us introduce you to Nathan Sports, a leader in athletic reflective solutions. From strobe lights dads everywhere will love to clip to their daughter's ponytails before they head out for a late afternoon jog (It's not even dark yet!) to no-fuss stickers and ankle spurs you can go nuts with, if your favorite pair of performance shoes aren't equipped, here's your quick fix.
Figuring Out When to Replace Your Shoes
Solution: It depends on the shoe, but shoes should be replaced after racking up 300 - 400 miles, racing flats a little before that. It's also important to be sensitive to your shoe rotation, pairing new selections with your old favorites to avoid switching up your game entirely.
Your Ankle Bone Chafes or Makes it Hard to Find the Right Fit
Solution: Use an anti-chafing cream or gel (such as BodyGlide) or, more preferably, keep shopping for the right fit with a lower collar to accommodate bony ankles. More people have this problem than you would think, so there is a great selection out there of lower cut shoes that you would expect.
The Tongue Travels During Play
Solution: This is generally caused by a natural flexing of the foot. Tightening the laces won't be much help, so select a shoe with a "burrito wrap" construction or click here for another solution.
You Get Frequent Injuries, Including Shin Splints
Solution: The main contribution factors to shin spints are overuse without proper preparation, inadequate shock absorption or a lack of support. The best solutions to this problem is to train properly or to find a shoe that better suits your style of play.
Your Shoes Are Too Tight
Solution: Get rid of them! Trying to run or train in shoes that are too tight is just asking for trouble. There are some home remedies that are supposed to help stretch out shoes, but when it comes to performance shoes, this can ruin the structural integrity of the shoe. The best solution is to go get fitted for the correct size and buy a pair that fits.
Your Shoes Are Too Loose
Solution: Unless you want blisters, stay away from any shoes that are too loose. Performance shoes need to fit just right—not too loose, not too tight.
Your Shoes Are Too Tight on Your Toes
Solution: This could mean you have a wide foot, and will need a shoe with a wide toe box. This could also mean that the shoe just needs to be broken in a little. The best solution is to simply wear the shoe around town, and hopefully you'll break into them and problem fixed. If not, go for something with a wider toe box.
Not Enough Oomph!
Solution: If you're looking to try something with a bit more bounce, try out adidas' newest running shoe, the Boost Energy, for a more responsive ride than you are used to.
You Get Blisters Way Too Often
Solution: Blisters are one of the most common injuries related to performance shoes (particulalry when it comes to running). And while bisters are occasionaly unavoidable, rubbing vasaline or talcum powder on the heel and toes helps reduce friction. The right pair of socks helps too, check out our guide to the best choices.
Your Socks Are Slippery
Solution: This could be a result of the fit or the fabric of the sock. If they tend to slip but feel great, try a taller design (the above compression socks from CW-X aren't going anywhere). If they are slippery as a result of sweaty feet, go for a merino wool blend or a wicking, synthetic knit.
Your Back Hurts After a Long Run
Solution: First check out your running form to make sure you're setting yourself up for a pain-free run. Posture check by raising your hands every few miles to ensure your back is straight and your chest is open, be mindful of your arms as you stride (they should range from nip to belly button, nothing crazier), and make sure you aren't over extending your stride. After some running form research, if your back still hurts, make sure you are in the proper footwear according to your level of pronation.
Your Shoes Can't Handle the Weather
Solution: There are plenty of shoes that can. Look for a Gore-Tex finish and you'll be ready to run rain or shine.
Your Laces Become Untied Every Time You Wear Them
Solution: There's always one pair that unravels after a few miles. The obvious answer here is to make an effective double-knot, while other proven alternatives include switching to flat or bungee laces.
Gurvinder Singh Gandu is a New York City-based writer and wear-tester for Sneaker Report, and contributor to Complex Media. Follow him @GurvinderSG for the latest in performance footwear and gear.