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You may think you are working out full force, but the truth is, your workout is only as good as the sneakers you are in! The fact is your sneakers may be the sole reason you’re not exercising to your full potential.

Think of your sneakers as an investment. The right sneaker will keep you on track and the wrong one will have you running on empty.

Here are some easy steps you can take, to help you pick the right sneaker for your workout:

1) Make sure the sneakers you are choosing from are all designed specifically for your activity. For example, running requires forward motion while tennis requires lateral movement. These exercises require very different support for your feet.

2) Ideally you should replace your sneakers every 3-6 months. After this time period your sneakers no longer provide the same support and you may start to feel joint pains.

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3) You need to determine if you overpronate or underpronate, because these conditions can be counteracted with the right sneakers.

Pronation is the inward roll of the foot, which provides a natural cushioning each time you take a step. However, if your foot rolls inward too much, you will likely experience ankle and knee problems.

If you are not sure if you underpronate or overpronate, examine an old pair of workout sneakers.

If the inside heel is visibly compressed and the heels lean toward one another, you overpronate and should look for shoes that have a "dual density" material under the inner heel or a firmer plastic or rubber insert. "Motion control" and "Stability" sneakers will also work well. If the outer heels are compressed and the heels roll outward away from each other, you underpronate and should look for soft sneakers.

4) Always try before you buy. Check the length and width carefully. Allow for a minimum half-inch space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Make sure the shoe laces up comfortably, and that they provide enough support without being too tight. If you need narrow or wide shoes, visit a store that carries an assortment.

5) Lastly, don’t be afraid to try a new brand. Sneaker companies revamp their designs regularly, and you'll want to test the latest options. Sometimes another brand or style is actually more like your old shoes than the one that bears the same name! Also remember function above fashion. It is much more important that you get the support you need.

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