I really should start a regular posting called "I told you so: Mother knows best."
When I decided to lose weight and exercise regularly, my Mom told me that I should go to my local athletic shoe shop down the street from where I work, fork out the dough, and get a really good pair of shoes to work out in. I was reluctant because I'm an intermittent tightwad (I have a tendency to grossly overthink "important" purchases).
Well, she told me so. I went to Gazelle Sports in Kalamazoo, Michigan and let them work their magic. I did check some out online that I wanted to see, but I decided ultimately to not look at any price tags, be open-minded about how the shoes looked (I always opt for vanity over practicality), and let the good people at Gazelle guide me. They asked what I was looking for, watched me walk, asked what size I needed, and brought me out options. I tried on a fair few pairs of shoes, and ended up trying on one that just felt like heaven. I had no idea that shoes were supposed to be a bit loose, and that your arches are actually located directly below your ankle bones - not in the middle of your feet like I'd assumed. I've been so used to "making it work."
I ended up spending $125 of my tax return on these babies, but it was worth every penny. They're still in good shape, but I might get some insoles to perk up the soles of my feet again. I can't believe the difference they made. I took the dog on a three mile walk a few days after I got them, and my arches burned for a little bit, but then it made everything better. My back wasn't as sore, my feet didn't get tired and cramp up or fall asleep, and it was great.
Honestly - investing in a really good pair of properly fitting workout shoes is one of the best things I could have done. And, really - what better to invest in than making sure I have good tools to get healthy?
My advice... Find a place in your area that knows what they're doing, and take the plunge. It might seem crazy spending that much on a pair of tennis shoes, but it will be worth it!