Ever have trouble finding the right shoes? In this month’s post we discuss ten tips to finding the appropriate shoes for your foot type. Five of these tips apply to everyone and five more will apply to those with more serious foot concerns, such as diabetes or plantar fasciitis.
What to look out for when choosing your favourite pair of shoes
1. Shoes need to match the shape of the feet. A pointed toe box is not suitable for most feet, but especially a wide foot, as it squeezes the toes together, cuts off circulation and may even apply pressure to nerves that run between the metatarsal bones.
2.To allow for good stability, footwear should make as much contact as possible with the ground. A sole that flares out is better for stability than a sole that flares in (a sole found on most women’s dress footwear on the market to date).
3. Footwear materials play an important role as well. Synthetic linings that don’t breathe contribute to a warm, damp environment for the foot, which can lead to blisters, fungal infections of the skin and toes, or in general just a stinky shoe. Synthetic materials are seldom a good alternative for the upper part of a shoe as they are not as forgiving as leather. They can’t be stretched to improve fit and therefore won’t improve the comfort of the shoe over time. Good shoe designers pay attention to put the leather together in a way that will allow the shoe to stretch in the same direction as the foot, from side to side.
4. It’s best to shop in the afternoon, after your foot had some time to naturally expand (swell). This will ensure you buy the proper width, and do not feel the balls of your feet being squeezed as the day goes on.
5. Feet were meant to walk on soft, natural surfaces, but nowadays are mostly subjected to hard firm surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. As a result shoes should provide a decent amount of shock absorption and cushioning. A proper shoe construction, such as a steel or plastic shank, is critical to ensure proper support through the midfoot. A firm heel counter ensures the foot doesn’t slide off the shoes platform and keeps the foot in better alignment.
More Tips for Feet in need of Help
6. If you suffer plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the thick tissue that spans the bottom of the foot, we recommend a supportive, stable, yet cushioned shoe. A firm forefoot rocker sole can help prevent flexion of the toes, therefore preventing overstretching of the plantar fascia. In many cases orthotic intervention, such as an arch support or a heel lift, is necessary to counteract excessive pressures on the tissue.
7. Forefoot problems, such as bunions, hammer toes, and ball of foot pain, require a higher, wider toe box and a shock – absorbent sole. Rocker soles can also help prevent pressure on the forefoot in reducing the flexion of the toes.
8. Arthritic conditions of the midfoot, causing excessive movements in the midtarsal joints, can be painful. To relieve pain the shoe requires strong stability and support to allow the whole foot to make contact with the floor. Oftentimes this condition requires some additional support inside the shoe from an orthotic or an arch support.
9. The goal of diabetic shoes is to accommodate the foot to eliminate any areas of excessive pressure, both on the top and bottom of the feet. Many shoes are made of soft leathers, such as deer skin, which more easily adapt to a changing foot. Some shoes are made of heat-moldable, stretch uppers and can be washed to improve hygiene. Their more seamless uppers present fewer opportunities for skin aggravation and the light coloured insoles allow users to check for open wounds, to ensure immediate medical attention.
10. Last but not least, consider this. If the shoe doesn’t feel good on your foot, leave it at the store. There is no such thing as a break-in period.
Do you remember the time when you’d pull up to a gas station and the attendant would wash the windows and check the tires, while pumping your gas. We need to relearn the value of taking good care of our tires and of our feet, because both will get us to where we want to go. Allow our highly trained, expert certified staff assist you in finding the right shoe for you.
To learn more about proper fit, please watch this episode of the FootGeekz: