10 Tips For Shoe Shopping For Kicks - Triad Foot & Ankle Center

10 Tips For Shoe Shopping For Kicks

When you shop for anything from a new car to a new lawnmower, you probably put some time into researching your options.  Your hard-working feet, the foundation for so many of your daily activities, deserve the same attention when shoe shopping.

Follow these 10 tips for shoe shopping and happier feet:

  1. Check your shoe size. This can’t be said enough: feet change over time (if you are over 40 you can expect to gain a full shoe size every ten years).  Ask a salesperson in the shoe store to measure both feet every time you go shoe shopping.
  2. Don’t shop in the morning. Your feet expand during the day and you want shoes that will feel as comfortable in the evening as they do at the start of the day.  Try on shoes in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest.
  3. Take socks with you. If you’ll be wearing socks with your new shoes be sure to take the types you’ll be wearing to the store with you.  Even a minor difference in thickness can make a big difference to the fit of your shoes.
  4. Stand in your shoes. Put your full weight on your feet, walk, wiggle your toes, and press the tips of both shoes to make sure there is a thumb width amount of room between your longest toe and the toe of the shoe.
  5. Walk around. Take your time walking around the store—on both carpeted and hard surfaces if possible—and ask yourself how your feet are feeling.  No matter how cute the shoes are, no matter how well they go with your favorite outfit, they are not the right shoe for you unless they fit without pinching or slipping.
  6. Good shoes don’t need “breaking in”. Sad but true: if it doesn’t fit in the shoe store it’s not going to fit in your everyday life. The shoe you want is the one that feels right from the moment you walk out of the shoe store.
  7. Don’t take the manufacturer’s word for it. Shoe sizes vary between shoemakers and even between shoe styles.  The size printed on the inside of the shoe is a starting place but be prepared to go up or down depending on the fit.
  8. Width matters. If the ball of your foot feels bunched, or if you feel pressure against the joint at the base of your big toe, ask if the shoe comes in a wider size.  Simply going up a half size is not the solution—shoe size is based more on length than width.  Over time shoes that are too narrow for your foot can lead to corns, calluses, and bunions.
  9. Pay attention to the inside of the shoe. An awkwardly placed seam or tag can become as irritating as a stone in your shoe.  Feel around on the inside of the shoe and pay attention to what you find.
  10. Save your sole. Turn the shoe over and run your hand over the sole. Ask yourself if it is thick enough to protect your feet from rough surfaces and unexpected sharp objects?  Bend the shoe: does it bend easily behind the toe area, and not the arch?  Does the sole provide enough springy support to cushion your feet as you walk?  Does it have enough “grip” to protect you from slipping?  And finally, will it hold up?

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