Buying the right shoes for your feet can make all the difference. Although some of us would love to wear sky high heels because they look so good, for many this option will only cause pain and suffering in the short and long term.
Getting to know your foot type and your own physical limitations will help you make good shoe shopping decisions. Your feet have to last you a lifetime, so one of the key steps to treating them well is getting the right shoe for your foot type and for your lifestyle.
Get Your Feet Measured
It’s not uncommon for women to buy the same size shoes they have always worn. But that can be a mistake. As we age, our feet do get longer and may get wider. That's because many of us gain weight as we get older. Pregnancy can also cause our feet to expand in size due to rapid weight gain. Even after delivery that foot size increase can remain.
That's why getting your feet measured is crucial before buying new shoes. Keep in mind, there should be at least an index finger of width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
Buy Shoes to Fit Your Longer Foot
Most of us have one foot that is slightly longer than the other. Since most people can’t afford to buy two pairs of shoes, choose the larger size so that you don’t cramp your toes. You can always pad the foot that is shorter for a better fit.
Shop for Shoes at the End of the Day
Our feet swell as the day goes on. Although you may be tempted to hit that shoe sale early in the day, wait until the afternoon to get the right fit.
Choose Heels of One Inch or Less
Many women love their heels, but unfortunately they can cause many foot and ankle problems that often get worse over time such as bunions and hammertoes. If you insist on wearing heels higher than an inch, don’t wear them all the time.
Select the Right Shoe for Your Foot Type
Foot type is another thing to consider when buying a pair of shoes.
Your foot width is one aspect of your foot type. Not all shoes will accommodate a particularly wide or narrow foot. Nordstrom and other specialty stores can be a big help if you have either of these foot types.
Arch type is also important to take into account when purchasing shoes. Arch types are either normal, high, flat or somewhere in between.
You're fortunate if you have a normal arch. You'll still need supportive shoes but not to the same degree as someone who has flat feet.
People with high arches tend to supinate or roll their feet out as they walk. Foot problems that can arise from this foot type are hammertoes and metatarsalgia. Often woman will seek out a high heeled shoe because initially they'll feel more comfortable. However, high heels put more pressure on the ball of the foot which can cause worsen problems like metatarsalgia and cause other's like Morton's neuroma. The best shoes for high arches are ones with a lot of flexibility, a firm heel counter, and ankle support when hiking or playing a sport with lots of motion changes.
Flat Feet or No Arches
People with flat feet tend to be most at risk for multiple foot conditions. Flat feet pronate or roll in when walking or running. Foot conditions that arise as a result of flat feet are heel pain, bunions, and hammertoes. Even young children can develop a condition called Developmental Flat Foot between ages four and five. Buying shoes with an arch and avoiding flat shoes are important for people with flat feet. Running shoes usually have a good arch and some shoe companies make shoes with good arches, i.e. Dansko. Most people with flat feet will require additional arch supports to prevent their feet from pronating and causing other foot problems.
Select the Right Shoe for Your Activity
Equally as important as getting the right shoe for your foot type is purchasing the right shoe for the type of activity you engage in. Whether you walk around Greenlake, run 10Ks at races, play soccer or another sport it's essential to buy the shoe that will best support your feet and are designed for your particular sport or activity.
Shoes designed shoes for the sports you play are available for purchase. Shoe companies design these shoes to help promote better play and prevent foot and ankle injuries. It's best to purchase these types of shoes at a store that specializes in that activity. A knowledgeable sales person can make a big difference in ensuring you buy a shoe that works best for you and your sport. For example, in the blog I wrote called How to Buy the Best Running Shoes I go into detail about what a good salesperson should be asking you.
Select the Right Shoe for Your Foot Condition
As mentioned above, certain foot types can put a person at greater risk for a particular foot condition. While it's important to choose the right shoe for your foot type it's also a good idea to purchase the right shoe for your foot condition. For example, if you're prone to plantar fasciitis it will be important to purchase supportive shoes that will prevent your foot from pronating.
If you have bunions or hammertoes, you'll want to avoid shoes with a higher heel as these can worsen your condition. In addition, you'll want to find shoes that have a roomier toe box and/or are made out of flexible leather or cloth to prevent pain caused by friction.
People with diabetes may need to purchase special diabetic comfort shoes to decrease the chance of developing foot ulcers.
Choose A Supportive Shoe
It's important for everyone to buy a supportive shoe. Shoes with no support may be fine for very casual wear (little or no walking) or for people with no foot problems or a normal foot type but most of us are going to need a shoe that can go the extra mile. To test out shoes before you purchase them visit my video "How To Test Any Shoe for Stability".