If you were asked what one piece of gear for your workout is the most important, how would you answer it? Perhaps some would immediately say it’s their portable music player (we see a lot of people in the gym working out with their earphones on) or even a bottle of water. Truth is, the single most important piece of equipment you need for most forms of exercise, sport, or workout is a pair of shoes.

 people-running-city-marathon-660x400

Using the right or wrong pair of shoes can spell the difference between having a safe and successful workout or sport versus something to the contrary. Whether you’re sweating it out in the gym or playing sports like tennis or basketball or you’re simply running as a form of exercise, you need to have the right pair of shoes. Here the biggest don’ts when it comes to choosing a pair of training or sport shoes:

Don’t go for any pair – One of the biggest mistakes you can do is to grab the first pair you see in your closet or under your bed. Especially do not pull out an old pair of sneakers. It may no longer provide the support you need and worse, could be unsuitable for the kind of activity you’ll be getting into. This can lead to injuries and/or underperformance.

Don’t choose the wrong shoes – Picking up from where the first tip left off, it’s really crucial that you choose the right pair for the physical activity you’re going to get into. For example, shoes made for running are different from those made for, say, volleyball or football. Those who run don’t make lateral movements so the shoes designed for running don’t have lateral stability.

Don’t wear them all the time – Sometimes there’s one pair of shoes that you fall in love with so you continue to wear it even if you’re not exercising or playing sport. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, and no one’s stopping you if you really love that pair so much. However, the more you wear it, the sooner you’ll wear it out. Just standing in them or wearing as you go around the mall can contribute its shorter life span.

Don’t keep them for too long – This is another mistake that many people commit because again, they love their pair so much. Just like with cars, it can only give optimal performance until it reaches a certain mileage. Many experts recommend that you replace it every 300 or 500 miles. Unlike cars, though, most of us may not have a mile counter. Replacing it every year is recommended.

Get the right pair of athletic shoes (try excellent pairs of Brooks shoes) for your exercise or sport so you can perform optimally and prevent injuries.