How to Pick Properly Fitting Shoes

One of the biggest causes of foot problems, from hammer toes to corns, is ill-fitting shoes.  Shoes that are too tight or too loose can result in all manner of ailments which is why it’s imperative that care be taken when selecting shoes to wear.  Here are some good rules to follow when buying new shoes that should maximize comfort and minimize the potential for pain.  The following guidelines are mostly for athletic shoes, but much of the information is useful regardless of the kind of shoe you are purchasing.

Shape

First, gauge the shape of your arches via a wet test of wetting your feet, stepping on a piece of brown paper and tracing your foot print.  There may also be systems that can judge this at your local shoe store.  If you have low arches (little curve in the inside of the foot) you’ll need a shoe with maximum support and motion-control.  For high arches you’ll need a well cushioned shoe with a forgiving midsole.  Those with neutral arches should seek stability shoes.

Feel

The shoe should feel good immediately – not too tight.  ‘Breaking in’ is a myth with modern athletic shoes.  This is especially important when you consider that your feet will often be slightly larger at the end of the day.  You should have room between the front of the shoe and your big toe of about the width of your thumb, and the shoe should be snug enough that your heel doesn’t come loose even when it’s untied. 

Materials

The upper part of the shoe should be flexible to match your foot’s shape.  It’s important to do some research, especially regarding soles, as they can be shaped in different ways or filled with all manner of soft or hard material.  Try to learn what kind of feet each particular shoe is made for – a knowledgeable salesperson should be able to help as well.

Other Things to Remember

Don’t wear a single pair of shoes for every task especially if it involves sports or prolonged activity.  Walking shoes are made for walking and basketball shoes are made for basketball.  Yes you can do one in the other, but your feet may not thank you for it if you do it too often.  Also, remember shoes are only good for about 550 to 650 kilometres.  This may seem like a lot, but walking can add up quick.

With these tips picking up a comfortable pair of shoes should be a relatively easy and comfortable experience.  Even more comfortable if you decide to wear them out.  If you have any foot issues that can’t be solved by a better fitting pair of shoes you should speak with a podiatrist.  Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M. is ready to help at his Toronto clinic.