The path toward health and wellness requires us to move. With that, shoes are the most important tools for anyone taking that course of action.

It is paramount that your shoes are the proper tools for you – based on your individual needs, goals, and concerns.

Finding the right shoe can be easy if you seek professional advice – someone who provides a thorough assessment of your bio-mechanics, running history-needs, ailments, and foot type in determining the correct footwear for your individual needs.

Think fit and function when it comes to finding the proper shoe.

Fit: Your shoes need to fit your feet well; otherwise, you simply won’t wear them. Improper fitting shoes can lead to your feet burning or going numb.

A bad fit can also cause blisters and hot spots, none of which are good and will ultimately prevent you from continuing your healthy behavior.

So, first focus on the fit. Find someone who will look at your feet – maybe poke your feet – and maybe even make fun of anything wacky.

The fit needs to take into account anything that might impact the way a shoe fits – notably, bone structural issues such as bunions, hammer toes, missing toes, wide feet, flat feet, etc.

The proper fit should accommodate and support your feet.

Function: Your shoes must function correctly. This is the most important responsibility of any professional footwear salesperson.

Proper functioning shoes act as a tool to prevent injury and facilitate your athletic goals. Your shoes should account for your foot strike, biomechanics, training regimen, body type, and history of ailments.

A focus on function should include a discussion regarding your running-walking goals and current training habits.

To ensure a proper functioning shoe, you need a dynamic running-walking assessment. Allow a professional to watch you run, walk, and maybe even video your movement.

This assessment enables a professional to determine your foot strike (pronation pattern) and other relevant bio-mechanical issues. Ultimately, it helps to recommend a shoe that provides the proper cushion and-or stability.

A proper shoe fitting needs to pay special attention to your needs so request the above assessments and for someone to listen to your concerns.

Find your shoe options that will advance your goals, whether it’s finding a comfortable walking shoe to keep moving or your newest favorite running shoe that’ll carry you to your next personal record.

Al Olivetti is the Owner of Go Tri Sports, serving the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton community of athletes for 15 years.