If you're an athlete, you know how important sport shoes are for what you do. They help to improve performance and prevent injuries, both vital factors for keeping you happy. For most sports, if there's one piece of equipment that makes the most difference, it'll be your shoes. That means you shouldn't choose just any athletic shoe, they should be specific to the sport you play and have all the things you look for, whether it's quality, fit, comfort, or style. So, here are four questions to ask yourself when choosing athletic shoes that will guarantee to meet all your needs.

What Sport Do You Play?

Athletic shoes are all separated into groups depending on what the sport is. There are running shoes, basketball shoes, soccer shoes, cycling shoes, golf shoes, etc. The list goes on. The function of shoes can differ widely between sports. What you need to know is what your sport requires out of a shoe. Is it traction? Is it support? Or is it something more specific?

For example, basketball shoes need lots of traction for the court and ankle support to prevent injuries. Soccer cleats need spikes that can dig into the ground while allowing for mobility. They should also be lightweight with great touch. Running shoes need to be breathable with a good heel drop for running comfort. Golf shoes need to be stiff in the midfoot and flexible in the forefoot, all while providing great traction for different lengths of grass (and the occasional sand). Cycling shoes need to have a stiff sole for maximum power transfer, a breathable upper, and a snug fit.

Not all athletic shoes are created equal. But finding out what makes a great athletic shoe for your sport will give you a better idea of what to look for.

Does It Fit and Is It Comfortable?

This is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing any kind of shoe. Does it fit and is it comfortable? You wouldn't walk in uncomfortable street shoes, can you imagine exercising in painful sport shoes? That's why it's essential to know your foot type and fit shoes properly. For most sports, shoes should not be too loose or too tight. There are a few exceptions though where a very snug fit is recommended, such as for cycling, boxing, climbing, and weightlifting. However, a quarter to half inch space between your toes and the end of the shoes is okay for most athletic shoes. You should also try on shoes in-store for the best fit, and you can also try out some movements to see how they feel in dynamic positions.

How High-Quality Is It?

No one wants a shoe that falls apart quickly. It's a waste of money and can cause some serious injury. Better quality means better materials and craftsmanship, which often correlates to higher cost. The more you spend, the better they'll perform and the more durable they'll be. The best advice when choosing athletic shoes is to avoid the cheapest options altogether. Since cheaper shoes are prone to having poor durability, in all likelihood you'll just have to buy another pair in a short amount of time. For most people, spending somewhere in the middle will yield the most cost-effective option; they'll provide high durability, good performance, and value for the money. The most expensive options are often reserved for very experienced athletes or people who have tons of money to splurge.

Does It Match Your Style?

Not a lot of people like to admit it but the majority of people buy shoes based on how they look. It's not completely superficial, however, but looks do increase confidence. You can have the most expensive shoes on Earth, but if they don't make you feel good, you are not going to perform at your best. So look for athletic shoes that match your style, there's nothing wrong with that. You should love your shoes as much as you love yourself. So when it comes to color, shape, or the smaller details, choose a shoe that makes you feel unstoppable.