Anyone listing getting in shape as a 2007 goal should start with a properly fitted pair of shoes, health experts at Texas A&M University said.
"Preventing a vast number of foot and leg problems can be as simple as finding and wearing the right pair of shoes," said Janet Pollard, Cooperative Extension Service associate for health.
She said athletic shoes used for sports or fitness programs are especially important. Up to 75 percent of U.S. residents will endure foot problems at some point, mostly due to neglect and lack of care, American Podiatric Medical Association statistics show.
Besides making sure that the shoe fits the activity, consumers should:
-- Always have both feet measured.
-- Shop for shoes at the end of the day when feet are likely to be slightly larger because of daily activities.
-- Try on both shoes, since most people have one foot slightly larger than the other.
-- Take a few steps to make sure the shoes don't hurt or pinch anywhere and aren't too loose.
-- When trying on athletic shoes, wear the same type of socks expected to be worn during the activity.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: Study shows shoes change spring-like foot mechanics when people run