Finding the Right Shoes for You
The wrong shoes can cause or aggravate foot ailments. The right shoes can often prevent - but cannot correct - problems. So wearing the right shoes is vital to foot health. Follow these simple suggestions when picking out shoes. If problems persist, visit our therapeutic shoe store, Step Alive Shoes, and our certified shoe fitters, will be happy to help you.
Leather is best because is breathes like skin and molds to your foot. But cheaper canvas is fine for fast-growing children. Breathable mesh is also good especially in athletic shoes. Soles should be strong and flexible with a good gripping surface. Insoles should be cushioned to absorb the jolts of walking on hard surfaces, but have enough arch support for your foot type. Some people require custom insoles for good foot health and comfort. Arch supports distribute weight over a wider area. Rigid shanks also give added support. High heels can be fun and look good, but they should not be worn too long at a stretch or for much walking. Besides cramping the toes, they change the biomechanics of your whole body making back pain, foot strains and aggravation of foot deformities more likely. Thongs and ballerina flats with no support are just as bad and can cause and aggravate many foot ailments.
Only you can tell if shoes fit. If they aren't comfortable, don't buy them! Our certified Shoe Fitters have a digital fitting system that can scan your feet and suggest the proper shoe size. Don't be surprised if you are wearing two shoe sizes too small. Don't plan on shoes stretching with wear. If you already own shoes that are too tight, ask your shoe repair shop if they can be stretched. Better advice would be to replace them.
Because feet spread with age, have your feet measured every time you buy shoes. Especially if you have had recent weight gain or pregnancy. Both feet should be measured as they are often different sizes. Always buy shoes for the BIGGEST foot.
Go shoe shopping late in the afternoon. Feet swell to their largest later in the day. If you must buy shoes in the morning, buy them slightly larger.
Size depends on shoe make and style, too. Don't insist you always wear one size if the next feels better. Remember the size is merely a suggested number and changes with brand and style.
The toe box should be roomy enough so you can wiggle all your toes. You should have one thumb width from the end of your longest toe to the end of the shoe. Remember this may be your second toe not your great toe.
Your forefoot should NOT be wider than your shoe. Look to see if your foot is spreading out over the sole of the shoes at the sides.
Unfortunately, most shoes today are narrower in the front than the foot is. You can check this by standing on paper and tracing around your bare foot. Compare the outline of your foot with the sole of your shoe. If your shoe appears too narrow, you may be inviting foot problems. Choose only shoes that feel comfortable - you are the best judge of that.
The heel should fit snugly and the instep should not gape open.
And finally, if the shoe doesn't fit - don't buy it!
Fitting Children's Shoes
Good shoes are especially important to avoid problems in developing feet.
Because shoes serve only to protect children's feet from injury, none are needed before a child walks. High-topped infant shoes do not support ankles - oxfords and tennis shoes are equally good.
Check OFTEN to be sure shoes aren't too small. Children's feet are so flexible they can be crammmed into shoes two sizes too small - and the child may not complain.
Don't have children wear hand-me-down shoes. They are permanently molded to the original owner's feet.
And remember, kids with a family history of foot problems like bunions and flat feet can benefit from custom foot orthotics as young as 18 months old to slow down the progression of some inherited foot deformities.