Choosing a proper shoe can not only help to protect against injuries but can also maximise performance and improve comfort and posture. Little can derail your fitness goals and progress like injury, aches and pains. Whether your workout involves running, walking or gym equipment, the correct shoe and fit is essential 

At Commander HQ you don’t need to compromise quality for price and our resident physio TJ Malherbe highlights the most common mistakes when choosing footwear and why an individualised assessment is a good idea.  

SPORTING FOOTWEAR AND PREVENTING INJURIES by resident Physiotherapist TJ Malherbe 

Shoe science is changing daily.  Evidence is moving away from boxing people into anti pronation / stability footwear and pushing towards client comfort and need.  Not to say people don’t need it, but it is more important to get an individualised assessment rather than getting boxed into a group diagnosis.  

Incorrect footwear is often a cause for injury, so having the correct footwear can make a huge difference to injury, cure and prevention. Finding the correct footwear must suit your foot / ankle anatomy, foot / ankle strength, foot / ankle mobility, foot / ankle stability and biomechanics, and activity / sporting code.   

Your feet have to be functional in your shoes, and the shoe must be an added benefit to your mechanics and NOT a crutch.  In assessing people’s feet for many years it has been noticed that people wear from a size to a size and a half too small for them!   

Remember when you exercise your feet swell due to the increased circulation, and if you play a sport in summer this happens even more.  In a top footwear analysis you will learn the following: 

  1. What is the correct shoe for me – brand and financial range.
  2. What is the correct size for me to wear.
  3. Do I need a supportive insert / orthotic as there isn’t a shoe supportive enough for me out there right now.  This can change as you get stronger with technique / biomechanical correction and rehabilitation. 

      Common mistakes: 

      • I bought these shoes because I like the colour.
      • I bought these shoes first thing in the morning before work when foot is at its smallest.  Vice versa for the afternoon when feet are swollen. 
      • I bought these shoes because the sales person says they were popular. 
      • I bought these shoes because they were on sale or cheap.
      • I wear this pair of shoes for gym, run, hike, and to play tennis.
      • I got given these shoes from a friend who didn’t wear them. But are they right for your foot or activity? 
      • My daughter and I share shoes – different feet in the same shoe ??? 
      • I read “Born to run” and so I threw my shoes away and running barefoot – however you decide to run is fine, but this has to be a transitional phase to allow your body to accommodate.  Your biomechanics change in different shoes or barefoot.   
      • I have had these shoes for 5 years!  Top footwear generally last about a 12 months depending on the sport or activity.I have had these shoes for only a year but haven’t worn them much – the material in shoes ages regardless of whether you are wearing them or not.  Wearing them just ages them quicker! 
      • These shoes have been fine for my park runs (5km), but my feet hurt running longer – some shoes are better for greater loads, and endurance than others.
      • I weigh 97kg,  and running in footwear designed for a body weighing less than 80kg.   

      TJ Malherbe has a BSc Physiotherapy from UCT, Sports Physiotherapy post graduate qualification SPT1, Pilates Body Control Technology qualification and a teachers qualification in the Cechetti Ballet technique having also done the Cechetti advanced dancers exam.   

       She has travelled with cricket for 12 years with a variety of teams:  U19 World Cup Sri Lanka, Ladies T20 World Cup Taunton UK, Irish mens’ cricket team ICC World Cup qualifier, Proteas A team Australia, ICL Indian cricket League in India, Western Province Cricket and Cobras, Cobras Champion League India. Helped out with ladies national hockey team, Northerns men’s IPT hockey team, Indian national cricket team, Hampshire Cricket team, Ladies Blitzbokke, and Cape Town international tennis tournament, Club and high school first team rugby.

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