Your Guide to Buying Men’s Sneakers

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Your Guide to Buying Men’s Sneakers

A good pair of sneakers can make the difference between sore feet and comfort that lasts throughout the day. "Sneakers" is a broad term that basically refers to casual athletic shoes. Sneakers can be used for running and cross training as opposed to shoes designed for specific sporting tasks, like golf cleats or bowling shoes. Yet, sneakers are not just for sports. They are worn by people in all walks of life, from kids heading to school, to adults at work. Sneakers are great for everyday casual wear as well.

Because "sneakers" is such a broad term, there are many things to consider when buying these shoes. There are a variety of different categories of sneakers, from basketball shoes to cross trainers and everything else in between. These shoes are built from many different materials and have many different designs. Consumers should be aware of the differences in construction in order to choose the right shoe.

Types of Sneakers

Dedicated athletes are not the only people who can wear sneakers. In fact, anyone with feet can enjoy the comfort and ease that sneakers provide. There are, however, differences in sneakers. Since they are often used by athletes and are inspired by different sports, there are key differences in shape that affect fit and comfort. When buying without trying on, as often happens when one shops online, it helps to know what type of sneaker is needed.

Running Shoes

Running shoes are designed purely for running, and they therefore have no lateral stability. In other words, they are designed to be used moving forward, and do not support the foot very well when one moves from side to side. Because runners tend to land more on the front of the foot, a good running shoe will have substantial cushioning at this part of the foot. In general, running shoes should be lightweight and flexible, but different foot types will require different shapes and styles of running shoes. Buyers should also note that if one plans on wearing a pair of running shoes while playing a specific sport, like basketball, the deeper tread might cause one’s foot to lock in place, which may cause injury.

Walking Shoes

Walking shoes, like running shoes, tend to be designed for forward momentum and have no lateral stability. However, unlike running shoes, walking shoes should have a thicker and more rigid heel for support as the foot strikes the ground heel first. Casual walkers will want a shoe without a flared sole, needing a thicker heel instead. For speed walking or race walking, there are many customized options of sneakers that are made to be more lightweight than a casual walking shoe.

Cross Trainers

Cross trainers are designed to be a general-use athletic shoe. As such, they are designed to provide some lateral support, a moderately thick sole, and some heel support as well. Because they are intended to be useful for general exercise, the design of a cross trainer tends to make them a bad choice for any specific sport. Instead, this kind of sneaker is perhaps most useful as a comfortable everyday shoe. Whether jogging or playing a pickup game of basketball with kids, cross trainers are best for light, everyday athletic activities.

Basketball Shoes

Because basketball players need to move in any direction at a moment’s notice, basketball shoes are designed with a great deal of lateral support. Along with this support, basketball sneakers offer a thicker sole and a rigid heel to support the foot. There is also usually a good amount of cushioning that helps absorb the shock to the foot when jumping. A basketball court also requires traction, so a basketball shoe should have adequate traction on the sole.

Tennis Shoes

Tennis, like basketball, is a game that involves a lot of rapid motion in all directions. A good tennis shoe should have solid lateral support, but since the nature of a tennis court causes more wear and tear on the toes and soles of a shoe, thick, durable heels are necessary. A decent tennis shoe should have a perfectly flat sole and a tread pattern that will grip the court. Tennis players need a lot of flexibility, especially at the ball of the foot, but too much flexibility can cause injury and become uncomfortable.

Sneaker Material

Sneakers come in a variety of different materials, which, of course will make a difference in cost. Aside from the effect on price, different materials can also make a difference with regard to comfort and overall foot health. Sneakers almost universally have a rubber sole, with varying thickness, but for the most part, they are made from three materials, leather, synthetic leather, and canvas.


Leather is a material commonly used in footwear. It is popular because it can bend and stretch in order to match the size and shape of feet. It also allows skin to breathe, which adds to comfort and helps general foot health. Leather can also keep feet warm in cold weather, which makes it useful for shoes worn year-round. Shoppers should note that some leather shoes need to be polished or cleaned with special cleaning fluids. Leather shoes tend to be more expensive than other shoes as well.

Synthetic Leather

Synthetic leather, also called "pleather," is popular in clothing and footwear because it is cheaper and easier to clean than leather. Rather than polish, synthetic leather simply needs a wipe with a wet cloth. There are disadvantages to pleather, namely that it does not breathe very easily and will not warm feet very well in cold weather. Pleather will not bend and stretch as much as leather, and may not be as comfortable or healthy for the skin.


Canvas shoes will not stretch as much as leather, but they are much more durable, and while leather shoes can be worn out by constant use, canvas shoes will retain their shape. Canvas, however, can suffer snags and tears more easily than leather shoes. It is much easier to clean canvas, as these shoes can simply be put in the washing machine. Finally, canvas shoes are, for the most part, less expensive than leather shoes.


Soles are usually made from rubber, but there are many differences in tread. Basketball shoes have deeper grooves than running shoes, and there is a common herringbone pattern that is specially designed for basketball courts. This pattern will grip the floor in different directions as opposed to a running shoe or walking shoe, which has traction designed to only work in one direction. Tennis shoes often have a feature on the sole that is known as the "toecap." The toecap is a small, extra piece of rubber that is added to the toe area of a shoe on the outside, where it is most likely to be scraped and worn down. This makes the shoes more durable and less prone to destruction due to hard tennis courts.

Foot Shape

Obviously, consumers’ feet are not all the same shape and size, and one’s feet can change over time. Most people are aware that when buying shoes, it is important to have their feet measured, even for adults who have worn the same size of shoes for decades. Buyers should remember it is common for one to have one foot be a different size than the other. The most important factor to consider when buying shoes is that the shape of the foot will determine which shoes fit best.


Supinated feet are feet with a high arch, or underpronation. The arch of the foot does not touch the ground when bare feet are placed on a flat surface. People with supinated feet tend to wear their shoes out in the forefoot area and on the outside of the heel. When buying shoes, especially running shoes, consumers with supinated feet should look for shoes with a bigger cushion.


In contrast to supinated feet, individuals with pronated feet have little to no arch. Pronated feet tend to roll inward too much when running, which can cause injury. Motion control running shoes are designed to reduce pronation and prevent this inward rolling from happening. If one with pronated feet is in need of a basketball shoe, he should look for a sneaker with a higher cut, which will help support the ankle and stabilize the foot when in motion.


It is perhaps only ten percent of the population that has neutral or slightly pronated feet, with a modest arch. When looking for a running shoe, buyers with neutral feel should look for stability running shoes that are designed to have rear foot stability. The sneakers should also offer cushioning for the front of the foot, and extra medial support. While a lower cut basketball shoe may be more breathable for more stable people, buyers should note that low-tops do increase the risk of ankle sprains for anyone playing a quick-motion sport.

How to Purchase Men’s Sneakers on eBay

Once a potential customer has decided on the right type and fit of sneaker, eBay is the perfect platform for shopping for that pair of men’s sneakers. Having internet access is really the only requirement. The first step is to log on to eBay ’ s home page. Locate the tab that reads "All Categories." After clicking on this tab, scroll through the alphabetized list of categories to find the one that reads "Clothing, Shoes & Accessories." After clicking on this tab, locate the label that reads "Men’s Shoes." This is the best place to begin the search for the perfect pair of sneakers. If buyers know exactly what it is that they are looking for, there is an even easier way to shop on eBay. Use the search bar on the top of the screen to type in keywords that will pinpoint the exact items you need.


Wearing the right shoe for any given sporting activity is important, not just for comfort reasons, but also as a way to prevent injury. Since there are so many different shoe companies out there offering different products made from different materials, it is important to evaluate one’s individual foot needs in order to find the best sneakers. Remember to consider factors like the chosen sport or activity for which the sneaker is needed, as well as the materials the shoes are made from, in addition to the size and shape of the wearer’s feet.

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