When you're on the golf course, it's helpful to have a good pair of cleats. You need to put that same attention to the shoes you wear for exercising. If you don't have the right shoes, you are more likely to get injured, and you could experience serious foot, knee and back pain. Generally, you should get a new pair of athletic shoes at least twice per year, especially if you exercise on a regular basis. It can help to get two pairs at the same time and wear them on alternate days.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Take a look at the bottom of your current pair of exercise shoes. Look at where they are worn away. These spots are the areas where you put the most pressure on your feet. Try to find shoes that are padded in these areas.
Bring the socks you wear when you exercise with you to the shoe store. That way you can ensure that the shoes will fit correctly. Try to shop in the evening, when your feet are at their largest; feet tend to swell after you have been walking around all day.
Try on each pair of shoes you are considering. Check to see where they fit in the toe. You want at least a 3/8-inch gap between the end of your big toe and the tip of the shoe. The heel should fit snugly. Tie them exactly as you would during one of your workouts.
Walk around the store for at least five minutes in each pair of shoes to ensure they are comfortable. Don't buy uncomfortable shoes thinking that they may feel better once you break them in. If you use your shoes for running or jogging, ask if it's okay if you do so in the store. Some athletic stores have tracks or treadmills just for this reason.
Buy shoes catered to your sport, if possible. If you play a variety of sports, buy a pair of shoes for each activity. If you don't have the means to do so, go for a pair of cross trainers instead.
Tips & Warnings
Don't set a certain timeline on when to buy new shoes. You need to replace them as soon as they are not giving you adequate support.