Investing in a comfortable pair of shoes will not only help you feel your best but also reduce the risk of injury. The type of footwear you choose can have an effect on your entire body, not just your feet.
The right shoe can keep your feet in tip-top shape and your body in proper alignment when you walk and move about your daily life. When shopping for shoes, you should have more than fashion in mind. The right shoe cushions and supports your feet, and should feel comfortable and fit well.
Here at Inspire Health Clinics in South Jordan, Utah, board-certified foot and ankle surgeon Matthew Graff, DPM, is devoted to top-quality foot and ankle care. Choosing well-fitting, supportive shoes can mean the difference between pain-free movement and foot problems.
Here are our top tips to keep in mind the next time you go shoe shopping.
Characteristics of the right shoe
Here are some important characteristics to look for in a shoe.
Cushions the foot – The midsole is the main cushioning component of the shoe. A shoe that has a very supportive midsole keeps your weight evenly distributed and lessens stress on the joints.
Supports the foot – A supportive shoe keeps your foot aligned when you walk.
Feels comfortable – Some people believe they must “break in” a shoe for it to feel comfortable. That is, wear it several times for the material to “give” and become comfortable. This is a misconception. From the first wear, your shoe should feel comfortable.
Fits well – Shoes should accommodate the length and width of your foot. Shoes that are too long or too wide can be just as problematic as shoes that are too narrow or too short.
Don’t rush shoe shopping. Take your time to find the shoe that fits best.
Tips for choosing the right shoe
The following are some tips to help you choose the right shoe:
Choose a specialized retailer – When looking for an athletic shoe, try visiting a specialized retailer. The team can help you choose the right shoe for your hobby or sport. They can also make sure that you get the correct size and fit.
Consider your socks: If you play a sport, try on the shoes with the same style of sock you’ll be wearing during activity.
Measure your feet – Each time you buy shoes, have your feet measured. Doing so ensures that you get the perfect fit each time. Even if you’re an adult, your feet can grow larger or wider.
Pay attention to comfort – Wiggle your toes when trying on shoes to ensure there’s enough toe room. When walking or running ensure that your foot is able to move freely. As soon as you put the shoes on, they should feel completely comfortable, so make sure to walk or run several steps in them.
Examine the shoe – Make sure your shoes have a good grip on your heel. Consider the width as well as the length. Ask if the shoe comes in a wider size if the ball of your foot feels squished. Feel inside the shoes for any tags, seams, or other materials that could irritate your foot.
Examine the bottoms of the shoes – Are they strong and durable? Do they provide a good grip? Walk on both carpet and hard floors if possible. If you participate in a sport, you should wear shoes tailored for that sport. Each sport has its own footwear designed for the performance and demands of the sport.
Bring a tracing: When shopping for shoes, it’s a good idea to bring a tracing of your foot with you. Avoid trying on a shoe that is narrower or shorter than the tracing.
Prioritizing foot health
Foot problems can cause pain and impact your mobility and ability to lead an active lifestyle. Poor footwear can also contribute to injuries and negatively impact your posture, leading to back pain. Taking the time to choose the right shoe, and knowing what to look for can help you avoid complications of ill-fitting shoes and keep your feet happy.