When your feet are comfortable, you probably don’t pay much attention to how they feel. Yet if your feet are pinched, blistered or sore, the rest of your day can quickly become unbearable. Suitably comfortable shoes are essential not only to your daily comfort level, but also to your overall health. Shoes that fit you well provide your feet protection and allow you to complete all of your daily activities without having to ever stop to think about your feet. Yet in our practice, we often hear how difficult it can be to find shoes that are comfortable and that fit well. When you go shopping for your next pair of shoes, what should you be looking for?
The right shoe for the right activity
Match the type of shoe to the type of activity you plan to do in them. Cross trainers are great for gym activities and exercise programs, but not as ideal for walking and long distance running as they have more side-to-side support than overall cushioning.
Measure your feet
Feet can change shape over time and become longer and/or wider. Have someone measure both of your feet for both length and width. Many people have one foot that is slightly longer than the other. Ensure that your shoe fits the bigger foot.
Try the shoes on and walk around the store
Be aware that not all shoes conform to standard measurements and not all shoes available in the same size will fit your foot the same. Try on different pairs of shoes in the same size and try them out in the store to check if the fit is right for you. Keep in mind that shoes feel different when sitting stationary as opposed to walking. For example, if your current shoes are an 8D, it doesn’t mean that all shoes that are available in an 8D will fit the same. You may need to try a different width or a half size larger or smaller for the best fit.
Space available in the shoe
Now that you’ve tried them on, there should be some space between the front of the shoe and your longest toe. Ideally the space should be about a finger’s width. This will allow room for thicker socks as well as room for your feet to gradually swell throughout the day. Ensure that you are never hitting the front of the shoe.
Look for a wide, deep toe box
Shoes that are too narrow in the front can cause undue pressure through the front of your foot, which may in turn cause callouses, sores or corns. This space is essential if you have hammertoes, bunions, toe deformities, or are diabetic.
If you have custom orthotics that will be fitting in your new shoes, ensure that there is a full length removable insole.
We understand that finding the right pair of shoes can sometimes be a difficult experience, so we’d like to make it as easy as possible. If you have any questions about your recent shoe purchase, or aren’t sure if they are the right ones for you, contact your pedorthist. We are always happy to provide advice and make sure that you find a pair of shoes that work for you!