When shopping for shoes, it is important to choose shoes that have durable construction and are a good fit. Don’t select shoes based on fashion alone. The primary purpose of shoes is to protect your feet and prevent injury. Poorly fitted shoes can cause discomfort, injury, and permanent deformity, affecting your whole body, not just your feet.
Make Sensible Shoe Purchases
Knowing the essential components of a shoe and proper fit can help you make sensible shoe purchases. The right shoe cushions and supports the foot, feels comfortable and fits well.
A shoe is composed of different parts:
- Toe box. The toe box is the tip of the shoe that provides space for the toes. It can be rounded or pointed.
- Vamp. The vamp is the upper middle part of the shoe where the laces are located. Sometimes velcro may be used instead of laces.
- Sole. The sole consists of both an insole and an outsole. The insole is on the inside of the shoe, and the outsole touches the ground.
- Heel. The heel is the rear of the shoe and is generally used to provide some form of elevation. The higher the heel, the greater the pressure on the front of the foot. The lower the heel, the greater the tension on the Achilles tendon.
A shoe that fits well curves in slightly near the arch of the foot and conforms comfortably to the shape of the foot.
The material used to make shoes can also affect fit and comfort. In general, softer materials decrease the amount of pressure a shoe places on the foot, while stiff materials can cause blistering and callus formation.
Footwear and Fit Recommendations
You should have your foot size measured every 2 years, as the human foot can change size as frequently as every 2 years.
- Fit should be measured at the end of the day because feet tend to expand at the end of the day.
- Shoes should be fitted to your longer and wider foot, as almost no one has two feet that are identical in size.
- Shoes should be fitted carefully to the heel and toes. Too much sliding around inside the shoe can cause blistering and result in other problems.
- Do not buy shoes that feel too tight. There is no such thing as a break-in period for shoes.
- Consider adding an orthotic or insole If one of your feet is considerably larger than the other.
Remember, fashionable shoes can be comfortable as well.
Buying Shoes for the Family
- Generally, children do not need shoes until they begin walking at around 12-15 months. Until then, socks or booties are enough to protect a child’s feet and keep them warm.
Most men’s shoes conform to the shape of the feet and tend to have a roomy toe box with sufficient horizontal and vertical space and a low heel. If you stand for an extended period, shoes with soft, pliable soles will help keep your feet comfortable.
Low-heeled shoes, generally 1.5 inches or lower with a wide toe box, are ideal. A big toe box can accommodate the foot comfortably.
Wearing high-heeled shoes all the time should be avoided. Heels 2 inches or more with a narrow toe box can adversely affect your feet, knees, and spine. If you need to wear high heels for a special event, switch to lower heel shoes if you have to walk any distance.
Work shoes are generally tailored specifically to a particular occupation and particular needs with protection in the toe box and different soles to protect different levels of traction.
Buy a shoe designed for the sport. The purpose of athletic shoes is to protect the feet from the specific stressors encountered in a given sport and maximize the amount of traction provided by a shoe. For example, tennis shoes are differently constructed from running shoes or cross-trainers.
When to Replace Shoes
Keep an eye out for any signs of wear and tear in your shoes. You should replace your shoes when the heels begin to wear out. Wearing shoes with worn heels over long periods can cause pain in the leg or back.
Ideally, running shoes should be replaced every 350 to 500 miles because they lose their capacity to absorb shock over time. If you use your running shoes strictly for running, they will last longer. Use your old running shoes for walking.
Keeping Your Feet Pain-Free
You can keep your feet pain-free with a good shoe fit. A good fit reduces your chances of developing blisters and other skin irritations, as well as the possibility of injury and permanent deformity.