When buying sneakers, it can be overwhelming because there are so many different kinds to choose from.
At your favorite athletic store, you'll find sneakers for:
Walking: These sneakers have a good amount of cushioning and are great for people who power walk, or who walk to get to work. They are lightweight and offer excellent arch support.
Running: These are lighter than other sneakers, and provide more cushion and support for you since you'll be pounding on them pretty hard with each step you take. They also offer shock absorbers, so it puts less pressure on your joints. You can find ones that are higher in the ankles to offer even more stability. You can walk, jog, run, or do aerobics in these.
Cross-training: These offer a good amount of support for low-impact exercise. You can lift weights, walk, and take a cardio class with these, but I wouldn't buy them if you're planning on doing a lot of running.
Casual: These are usually adorable, colorful, and stylish, but unfortunately not very supportive. Wear these to do some shopping, for a casual walk in the park, for lifting weights, or just to hang out in. These won't offer much support for high-impact exercise.
Basketball Shoes: These have special soles that won't mark up the court floor.
Tennis Shoes: While you could wear running sneaks or cross-trainers, tennis shoes provide more support for the contact side-to-side movements required to play racket-based sports.
Fit's Tips: Different brands of sneakers are suited for different feet. Whether you have high or low arches, narrow or wide feet, you MUST try out the sneaker before you buy it. Most stores have treadmills you can use so if you're buying running sneakers, you've got to RUN in them. I always run 1/4 mile in a sneaker to make sure it's not rubbing too high on my ankle, or squishing my toes.