It goes without saying that shoes are the only piece of clothing that can damage your health! Get the choice wrong and it may not just be discomfort you experience now that is the only problem…. the legacy of poor fitting footwear can be seen years down the line in the form of damaged toenails, hammer toes and other deformities.

These 7 tips can be useful in getting a comfortable fit and correct type for your feet.

  1. Shop for shoes during the afternoon – your foot naturally expands with use during the day.
  2. Wear the same type of socks you plan on wearing with the shoes you intend to buy when trying them on. Don’t forget its best to wear socks to prevent fungal nail infections.
  3. Before you go shopping, stand on a piece of paper and get someone to draw around your feet with no shoes on. Place any shoe you would like to try on over this tracing. If you can see the tracing when the shoe is on top, then the shoe is the wrong style or size for you.
  4. When was the last time you had them measured? At school?!! Feet change with age, often going up a size and becoming wider so get your feet measured by a reputable shoe shop.
  5. Style of shoe is really important.
    Fastening – In fact, this is more important that heel height! Our foot can only function properly if the shoe is doing its bit staying on the foot without any help! If your foot has to hold the shoe in place it will be unable to function correctly which in turn leads to deformities and pain within the foot. For podiatrists the worst shoe we see isn’t those 6 inch stilettos (although they aren’t great!) but those slip on ballet pumps!
    Heel height – We aren’t going to say you shouldn’t wear heels at all as we know ladies like a little style to a shoe (and if you are like me a little added height!) but look not only at the height of heel but the style of heel. The wider the heel the pressure will be dispersed over a wider area. If you have to wear heels for work why not wear trainers or something more comfortable to work and leave your heels at work for wearing around the office.
    Shape of the toe box is just as important. Have you ever notice the shape of the toe part of your foot? When you stand down the toe part of our foot is similar to a square (although most people’s toe taper in height). So why are we surprised our toes get corns on them when we try and squeeze them into a shoe with a point! Choose a shoe with a square or rounded toe box. The wider the better.
    Sole of the shoe – Thicker soles will provide more cushioning and shock absorption to the foot.
    Material of shoe – leather shoes will breath more and hold their shape better than a plastic shoe. You know the saying buy cheap pay twice! It applies to shoes too!
  6. When you try the shoe on press gently on the top of the shoe to make sure you have about half an inch of space between the end of your longest toe (which may not be your big toe!) and the end of the shoe
  7. Try the shoes on and walk around the shop. Yes leather shoes will stretch a little after continued wear but the shoes should feel comfortable in the shop, if they don’t try a different size or style!

Don’t forget, shoes that are better for your feet don’t have to be unstylish or granny-ish! It’s all about wearing the right shoe for the activity you are doing! No we don’t mean wear stilettos for gardening! For the days you are doing lots of walking (shopping, commuting etc) wear the flatter more secure footwear. Your feet will thank you in the future!