Wearing the wrong pair of shoes can cause foot problems. Fortunately, changing shoes can cause those problems to go away. There are several things you should do to make sure you find a pair of shoes that fits properly.
Choosing the Right Pair of Shoes
There are a variety of things that you need to do when choosing a pair of shoes. Here are some important tips when you are fitting your shoes.
1. You should have your feet measured once or twice a year. The ligaments and other soft tissues in your feet tend to relax and stretch out as you get older. This causes your feet to change shape and size. You should measure the length, width and arch length to make sure your new shoes will fit on all sides.
2. Measure the arch length. You need to know your arch length when choosing a new pair of shoes. The arch length is measured from your heel to the ball of your foot (where your big toe joint bends). The bend in your big toe should match with where the shoe bends. Put your shoes on and rise up onto your toes. If you feel the shoe bend before or after the big toe joint, then the shoe is not a good fit for your arch length.
3.Shoe shop later in the day. Most people’s feet swell by the end of the day. This is a good time to try on new shoes to make sure that you don’t choose a pair that will be too tight.
4. Fit shoes to the larger foot. Most people have one foot that is slightly larger than the other. You want to buy the shoe size that fits the largest foot. You can buy pads and inserts to take up room in the other shoe if it is too big.
5. Wear appropriate socks/hosiery. You need to wear the sock or nylons that you would normally wear to make sure the shoe will fit properly. For example, if you are trying on high heels for a wedding, you do not want to wear the socks you wore to the gym. The thickness of the sock will significantly affect the way the shoe fits.
6. Stand when measuring. Be sure to stand up when fitting a shoe, because your feet will spread out more. Someone else will need to take the measurement, because you need to stand upright with your weight centered over your foot. Your stance significantly affects the size and shape of your feet.
7. Leave 1/2 inch at the front of shoe. There should be about a 1/2 inch between the end of your longest toe and the end of the front of the shoe. Generally this is about the size of the tip of your index finger if you have small hands or your pinky finger if your hands are larger. Your longest toe isn’t always your big toe so you will need to inspect them carefully.
8. Leave 1/8 inch at the back of shoe
You do not want the back of the shoe too tight against the back of your heel. This may cause skin irritation and blisters. Make sure there is about a 1/8 of an inch between the back of your heel and the shoe.
9. Room in the toe box. The toes need room to move so you don’t develop corns, callouses, neuromas or deformed toes. Your toes should have enough room to “perform” a symphony by Mozart.
10. Walk with both shoes on. Do not be afraid to take your time when fitting shoes. Try them on and walk around the store. Try walking on different surfaces (carpet, tile, etc.), if available. Some stores even have treadmills that you can try.
11. Don’t pay attention to shoe size. Try not to get too concerned with the shoe size number. Shoe sizes companies use different lasts and manufacturing processes, which means their sizes vary considerably.
Additional Tips When Fitting Shoes
Here are some additional tips that can help you when you are trying to find the right pair of shoes:
1. If your feet are more than 1 1/2 sizes different then you will need to purchase two different sized shoes.
2. Shoes should be comfortable in the store. Do not expect that an uncomfortable pair of shoes will feel better later.
3. Shoes with laces are easier to adjust and easier to keep on the feet. Shoes without laces cannot adjust for swelling variances and they are harder to keep on the feet. This creates more stress on your feet and can cause you to feel tired more easily.
4. If you have foot problems or are unsure about proper shoe fit, it is highly recommended that you go to a shoe store that offers professional, personalized shoe fitting. A thorough shoe fitting/buying may take 45-60 minutes.