November 2018

The Right Fit

It’s Scary How Many Kids are Playing Sports in Shoes that May Look Cool, But Will Hurt Them

By Bob Pursley

Here we are again a new school year which brings new sports seasons, whether it is football, cross country, basketball or soccer the kids are asking you to buy the equipment that they will need for these sports.

Some of these sports require very specific equipment including the proper footwear for the sport.

Sports such as field sports require cleats which are a no brainer but when it comes to running and indoor sports it is not so cut and dry.

As a High School Athletics Coach and Personal Trainer I have seen so many kids wearing the wrong shoes for the sport that they are involved in, whether it is by choice or by not having the financial means to purchase the right footwear.

Fashion vs. Function

Kids are wearing shoes that fit their style which usually are skate shoes which have various brands but are designed mainly for one function, skateboarding. These shoes have very rigid soles and do not allow the foot to move freely. This is good when skating but not for running which many kids are wearing but they are not good for their feet however they have come to be standard footwear for the generation.

I have seen athletes with foot problems over the seasons and the one common denominator is the type of shoe that they wear as everyday shoes and as workout/training shoes.

Yes buying shoes can be expensive but so are the recurring medical issues associated with foot injuries such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints that can be prevented by wearing the proper footwear. As a personal trainer I have worked with a client who wore a shoe because it was the fashionable shoe to wear and was advertised as an exercise shoe but it actually caused knee damage because of the design.

For running sports such as cross country and track there are specific shoes to support those sports, running shoes and track spikes. These shoes should be fitted to the athlete by a run- ning shoe store, there are running shoe stores in Santa Cruz County that can assist in this one store that I have had personal experience with is Fleet Feet in Aptos CA. The staff there is helpful and very knowledgeable in the area of proper fit.

Without saying basketball should be played in basketball shoes, not running shoes or skate shoes as the support is different and they are designed for the court the same for volleyball shoes and shoes worn to play tennis.

Wrestling is a different story as wrestling shoes are required to participate in matches and practices due to the design and also they prevent the tearing of the mat. There is no choice other than wrestling shoes for this sport.


If you do not want the added expense of going to a running store and having your child fitted you can follow the sales ad for Big Five which offers a full line of athletic shoes for low cost.

You can also go the gently used route and check out Play It Again Sports for shoes that might have not made it through a whole season before the child who wore them decided that that sport was not for them or outgrew them. I was pleasantly surprised to see used shoes of all types especially wrestling shoes when shopping there.

Once again there are proper shoes for each sport or activity. The proper shoe can help your Student Athlete succeed in his/her sport and alleviate potential season ending or lifelong injuries.

Bob Pursley is a personal trainer at Coast Physical Therapy in Aptos and is a foot- ball coach at Pajaro Valley High School.

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