Buying The Perfect Sneaker

Finding the right sneakers for your feet can be a challenge.

Health Magazine "Shoe Reviewer" Mark Fenton will visit The Early Show to take us through the four major troublesome foot types and show how to select a sneaker that will best fit these feet.

And here are Fenton's easy solutions to four common foot problems:

  1. Problem: Things that grow on you. This category includes bunions and "pump bumps," those nasty calluses on the backs of your heels caused by wearing stilettos.

    Solution: Four-way stretch, unconstructed mesh uppers found in racing flats, plus softly padded or notched heel collars.
    Recommended shoes: Asics Gel Verdict DS ($85), Adidas ClimaCool 2 ($100)

  2. Problem: The pain beneath your heel. It could be plantar fasciitis, which can feel like a bony spur under your heel and is caused by too much flexibility under the arch of your shoe.

    Solution: Stay away from shoes with little or no material under the arches. Look for firm arch bridges and under-foot stiffeners. Podiatrists also suggest gently pulling your toes toward your knees to stretch tense tissues whenever you get a chance.
    Recommended shoes: Adidas Supernova Cushion Wide ($85), Asics Gel Foundation Walker ($80)

  3. Problem: Overheated, tingly feet that go numb on a treadmill. You may have too many gadgets in your shoes. Plastic, gel, and air-filled doodads can stiffen them, weigh them down, and heat them up.

    Solution: Look for lightweight materials, especially breathable mesh uppers, and avoid thick, squishy layers loaded with stiffening plastic shanks and elaborate shock absorbers.
    Recommended shoes: Reebok Premier Lite ($75), Asics DS Trainer VIII ($100)

  4. Problem: Ankles that let you down. Chronic problems here can start with a twist, but even lax ligaments during pregnancy can lead to weak ankles.

    Solution: Choose supportive mid- or high-cut shoes, or models that are reinforced with straps and ankle wraps.
    Recommended shoes: Rykä Supra ($80), Merrell Motovator Mid ($110)

Do you wonder when is the time to put your old shoes out of misery? Here is Fenton's advice:

If your athletic shoes show any of these signs of wear, it's time to buy a new pair. Retire the dilapidated ones to house-painting duty at most, or you'll be risking injury.

  • Rubber soles that are so worn, you can see cushioning foam through the bottom of the shoe.
  • Major seams that are coming apart.
  • Heels that lean in or out, or appear crushed when placed on a table and viewed from behind.
  • Separation of glued-on rubber or plastic parts, especially on the sole.
  • Unexplained soreness in your feet, ankles, knees, or hips after you've been wearing your shoes a few months. This may signal that the cushioning is toast, even if it looks OK. Listen to your body and get a new pair.