Do Your Shoes Fit?

As a podiatrist, it still amazes how many people walk into our clinic with pain that is caused by ill-fitting footwear. In some cases, this is more obvious than others.

When we get older, our feet change size. It is essential to get your feet appropriately measured before buying shoes. Length isn't the only issue. It can be challenging to find a pair of shoes that accommodate both the width and depth of our toes. As we age, we can acquire many foot conditions such as bunions or hammer toes. We find a lot of clients come through the door with obvious bulges in their shoes as the shoe is too narrow or too shallow and isn't accommodating their foot well.

Did you know the best time to buy shoes is at the end of the day as your feet swell as the day goes on?

Here are some other tips for finding footwear that is the perfect fit for you:

  • Don't necessarily buy shoes that are marked in your size, but go for how the shoe feels on your foot making sure it isn't too small or too big.

  • Pick a shoe that is shaped like your foot. Often we find our clients are squeezing their feet into shoes that are far too narrow at the toes. I usually grab the shoe for the opposite foot and turn it around, so the sole is at their foot (it gives a good indicator of how much your foot is having to squeeze into that narrow space.)

  • When the shoes are on in the shop, stand up and feel for where your big toe is. Make sure there is at least a thumb's width (1cm) at the end of the longest toe (this is not always your big toe). Many of us will have one foot that is larger than the other, so make sure you pick the pair of shoes that will fit your largest foot.

  • Your foot should fit comfortably in the shoe with a minimum amount of slipping. Your heel should not rise up and down out of the shoe (to prevent this make sure you put your shoes on, kick your heel against the ground to make sure it's sitting nice and tight against the back of the shoe and then tie your laces).

  • Ensure the ball of your foot fits comfortably into the fullest part of the shoe.

  • Try the shoes on while in the store and take a walk in them. Once purchased, wear them for a few days within your home to make sure they fit correctly.

  • The material of the upper part of the shoe should be flexible, so it moulds to the shape of your foot. This can prevent irritation.

  • The soles of your shoes should have thick soles and good grip to provide shock absorption and cushioning while walking on hard surfaces. Low-heeled shoes are more comfortable, safer, and less damaging than high-heeled shoes.

  • Don't buy shoes that feel too tight, expecting them to stretch to fit your foot.

sarah Laverty