Which athletic shoes work best?

August 5, 2009 3:17:45 PM PDT
Are you looking for a new pair of athletic shoes -- maybe for yourself, or maybe for your kids before they head back to school?Consumer Reports Magazine just tested some of the latest athletic shoes, including ones from Adidas and Nike.

Ten pairs each of men's and women's shoes were evaluated, their costs ranging anywhere from $28 to $110.

"Athletic shoes are different than running shoes," Peter Anzalone, Fitness section project leader for Consumer Reports Magazine, said. "They're suitable for a variety of sports and athletic activities."

You can use them for aerobics, to run on the treadmill, or weight training.

In addition to a stability test conducted at an outside lab, the shoe testers also wore reflectors as they ran on a treadmill. A computer then analyzed all of the data to determine a shoe's stability.

In another test, a 19-pound weight was dropped on the shoes to see how well they would cushion your feet.

Panelists also exercised in the shoes to size up the fit and flexibility.

"Fit is by far the most important feature," Anzalone said, "and we had a couple of the shoes that didn't perform so well," like the men's and women's Reebok SmoothFit Mobile II Trainer.

"The tongue was attached on one side and detached on the other, which meant you couldn't lace up the shoe as tightly as I wanted to," shoe tester Gayle Williams said.

And many panelists didn't care for the women's Champion C9 Rocksie, which uses elastic bands to secure the shoe.

"My foot actually slipped out of the sneaker," shoe tester Odalys Grieco said. "There's absolutely no support because there [are] no shoelaces."

In the end, the Asics GEL-150 TR for both men and women came out on top. They provide excellent fit and cushioning and cost $65.

Consumer Reports Magazine says it's a good idea to go to a store that has knowledgeable salespeople to get help fitting a shoe. Your toes should fit snugly, but have enough room to spread during exercise. Plus, your arch needs adequate support. And you want to be sure that your heel does not slip when you take a step.

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