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SELECTING CLEATED SHOES; IMPORTANT DECISIONS IN FINDING THE RIGHT FIT

SELECTING CLEATED SHOES; IMPORTANT DECISIONS IN FINDING THE RIGHT FIT
 ATLANTA, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Cooler weather and the sounds of marching bands filling the air are the first signs that the back-to- school season approaches.
 Kids across the country will be signing up to play football, soccer and field hockey for their school or local team.
 But as parents and schools spend hundreds of dollars for protective equipment, from shoulderpads to shinguards, they often seem to forget one of the most important pieces of equipment -- properly fitted athletic footwear.
 Most kids tend to buy the cheapest, most popular or best-looking cleated shoes, regardless of how they actually fit or the type of field on which they will be used. This ignorance could lead to short-term injuries, such as sprains or blisters, or create long-term effects such as aggravating bunions or creating hammertoes.
 "Football players today wear more than $300 worth of equipment for protection, from a $100 helmet to pads for most every part of the body, that can cost more than $75," said Tom Brunick, director of The Athlete's Foot WearTest Center in Naperville, Ill. "Unfortunately, the equipment that can most easily prevent serious damage is often neglected. People don't realize that wearing improperly fitting shoes or the wrong type of cleat for the playing surface can contribute to serious injuries."
 As competitive outdoor field sports continue to grow, more and more leagues are playing on different surfaces. Where only one or two different styles of cleated shoes were available to young athletes 15 years ago, today kids can find cleats designed for soft, grassy fields, hard ground, or artificial turf. Each type of cleat provides the support and cushioning for the surface on which it was made to be used.
 Brunick suggests considering these types of cleats:
 -- Molded-cleat outsoles: designed for use on natural surfaces which are not wet or very soft. These shoes provide good stability and cushioning. If the athlete is not playing on artificial turf, molded- cleat shoes are the most versatile shoe.
 -- Hard-ground shoes: designed for wear on hard natural ground or artificial turf. These shoes are popular as they give players traction on a variety of surfaces and provide substantial cushioning.
 -- Detachable-cleat systems: designed for use on a soft, grassy surface. Because of climatic conditions in most areas of the country, these cleats are not used as much as molded-cleat shoes.
 Many soccer players understand the importance of wearing different shoes for different surfaces. That knowledge has often been attributed to the fact that footwear is the only equipment a soccer player has to purchase. Most importantly, however, soccer players realize that their feet help them get to the action and they make the action happen by kicking the ball.
 "Football players would be amazed at the improvement in their game if they realized what playing in the right shoes could do," noted Brunick. "Using a variety of cleats would cut down on the time in the training room dealing with nagging injuries such as shin splints, tendinitis and sprained ankles, and allow them to enjoy the sport a bit more."
 In addition to adapting cleated footwear to the many types of playing surfaces, manufacturers have also added other features that enhance fit and overall comfort. Staggered lacing systems, high tops, removable insoles and support straps are now used in different shoes, providing football, soccer and field hockey players with more stability, support and cushioning.
 "First and foremost, cleated shoes should fit the individual athlete's foot type," explained Brunick. "If the shoe is too small or too large, it can cause problems no matter what type of surface on which it is used."
 With more than 550 stores worldwide, The Athlete's Foot is committed to being the industry leader in serving the needs of athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Stores specialize in a full product range of athletic shoes for men, women and children, and also offer athletic apparel and accessories. The Athlete's Foot is the only retailer in the country with its own independent weartest center that evaluates athletic footwear.
 -0- 7/14/92
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Informational brochure on proper fit and photo available upon request, 404-231-0660/
 /CONTACT: Bari Love or Kim Grady of Julie Davis Associates, 404-231-0660, for The Athlete's Foot/ CO: The Athlete's Foot ST: Georgia IN: SU:


SM -- NYSFNS25 -- 8895 07/14/92 07:25 EDT
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Date:Jul 14, 1992
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