Taking Your Game to a Higher Level Starts with Your Feet!
We are all looking for that extra edge. It might be a better bat, a bigger glove, or a little extra energy. Rather than looking up, look down. Your feet may be able to give you that extra boost.
If you take care of your feet and shoes, you will be amazed at the amount of additional energy you will have during the back end of a double-header or at the end of the tournament. Follow the ten tips below and you can be guaranteed happy feet!
When Purchasing and Wearing Athletic Shoes:
Most importantly, purchase well-made shoes that support your feet and ankles. Pay particular attention to the cushioning for the bottom of your foot and the necessary support in the arch area. Players often spend hundreds of dollars on expensive bats and save money with a poorly made pair of shoes.
Purchase the correct size. Americans have the tendency to buy tight shoes and often assume that their shoe size will remain the same. As we age, our feet flatten out adding both length and width. Don’t be surprised if you are buying your shoes at least a half size too small.
Try on shoes toward the end of the day. Typically, feet swell throughout the day or after physical exertion making it normal for your feet to be a little swollen at the end of tournament play. If you size your shoes in the morning, you may actually be buying them too tight.
When sizing your shoes, wear the same socks you would wear while playing. Foot care professionals recommend one pair of high-quality socks. Two pair of socks can lead to additional friction which can cause blisters and hot tired feet.
Your toes should not touch the end of the shoe. In fact you should have 1/4 to 1/2 an inch of space between the end of your toe and the end of the shoe. If your toes hurt after playing or your toenail turns blue, your shoes are probably too tight!
Few people realize that additional thickness of the insole plays a part in the sizing of the shoe. Up to one width size and one full size in length can be determined by the thickness of insoles. Thicker insoles lift your foot into a narrower part of the shoe. If you have tight shoes, consider switching insoles to a thinner, high-quality pair. We have found Shock Doctor insoles to be a premium brand.
If you believe you are doing everything right, yet your feet still generally hurt after playing, you may want to consider orthodics . Although not inexpensive, it is money well spent. These are available from podiatrists , chiropractors, or even through in-flight magazines.
Allow your feet to breathe. If you are warm while wearing a jacket, you probably take your jacket off. If you notice your feet are warm, take your shoes off to give your feet a rest. Better yet, put on a clean pair of socks after each game.
Pamper your feet by giving them a cool wash between games by bringing a wet wash cloth to the game in a plastic bag.
Consider wearing a mid or high cut shoe for added ankle support.
Shoe Care Tips
That helps with foot care, but what about shoe care? The biggest error most players make is leaving their shoes in their bat bag between game days. Remove your shoes from the bat bag and place them on top of the bat bag. This guarantees that you will not forget your shoes and gives them a chance to dry. If your insoles are removable, take them part-way out of the shoes to facilitate thorough drying of the shoes and insoles. The worst thing for shoe glue is moisture. If you are playing three times a week, your shoes may never dry out completely. This may lead to splitting along the sides of the shoe, especially where the outer sole meets the remainder of the shoe.
Players often make the mistake of walking around the ballpark between games, or to and from the parking lot with their cleats on. This will wear down the bottom of shoe resulting in early replacement. Wear sandals or slides until you are in the dug-out and between games. This also allows your feet to breathe and dry completely between games.
Use a slightly damp cloth to clean shoes that become dirty or caked with mud. Let the shoe dry thoroughly, and if you have leather shoes, use a high quality conditioner to keep the leather soft and to prevent cracking.
If your shoes become wet due to rain or early morning dew, stuff the inside of shoe as tightly as possible with newspaper. Place them away from any heat source to allow them to dry naturally. The stuffing will prevent the material from shrinking.
If you like a little extra support, or if you have a narrow heal and need to cinch the material around your ankle, consider the following lacing technique: Take the laces out of the top eyelet of the shoe. Instead of crossing the laces, bring the lace on the outside of the shoe through the top eyelet. Pull it tight enough to form a small loop between the top eyelet and the second eyelet. Then cross the shoelace over to the other side of the shoe and bring it under the loop on the other side. Then pull the two shoe strings together and tie in a normal fashion. This technique pulls each of the top two eyelets equally forming a nice smooth tension across the upper part of the shoe.
Put these tips into practice and you will be guaranteed better feeling feet and consequently more energy. Your feet will be ready to take your game to a higher level.
Written by Tim Sellner, "the shoe guy" and President of Tanel® 360°®