Maximize Fit and Function for Happy Feet
It's April and most of us are really looking forward to ditching the winter boots and heading outside in regular shoes. If you are like me, you're anticipating some outdoor time, walking and hiking in our beautiful trails and parks. You might even be thinking about purchasing some new shoes... just because it's spring.
Before you head to the shoe store, take a good look at your feet and size up what's in your closet. Feet change size and shape over time and many of your old favorites may no longer fit.
To get an idea of the shape of your foot, stand barefoot on a piece of thick paper or cardboard and trace the outline of each foot. Cut out the shapes and compare them to the shape of the soles of the shoes in your closet. Your favourite shoes often have the same shape as the cut outs?
Try on your shoes. Which ones fit well? Cause discomfort? Foot pain may be caused by shoes that are too narrow, the wrong shape for your foot, or too-high heels.
If you decide to purchase new shoes, follow these tips for success.
- Shop late in the day - over the day, standing and walking your feet spread a little and heat from the day may cause your feet to swell.
- Match the socks to the shoes. We are not talking colour here; the type and thickness of the socks makes a difference.Dress shoes need dress socks and trainers require athletic socks. Wear (or bring along) the type of socks you plan to wear with your new shoes.
- Get your feet measured each time. Many of us have one foot larger than another and feet do change size over time. If you have feet that are two different sizes, fit the larger foot. Insoles can be added to accommodate the smaller foot.
- You need "wiggle" room. Check the toe-box of your shoes. There should be a space of 1/4 to 1/2 inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. The longest toe is not always the great toe.
- Check the fit. Walk around for a few minutes. Does the arch fit well? Do the heels slip? There should be enough room in the toebox. New shoes should be comfortable right out of the box. There is no guarantee that a breaking in period will make shoes fit well and be comfortable.
- Size really doesn't matter. Shoes are built on different lasts and sizes vary greatly. Purchase shoes that make your feet feel happy.
- Check the workmanship. Are there tough spots, snags that might rub against your feet when you are walking? Take a good look at the soles too. You purchase shoes to meet a variety of different purposes. Do the soles offer enough protection against the environment, provide cushioning, or a non-skid surface?
- If you are a woman and killer three-inch heels are your trademark, you may need to rethink your style strategy. Wearing sky-high heels (3+ inches) places your feet and knees at risk! Did you know that 3-inch heels place seven times the pressure on the ball of the foot, may contribute to balance issues and may cause knee strain for some women? If you must wear heels, try to vary the heights from low to mid-heel whenever you can. Instead of stilettos, look for shoes with sturdy or chunky heels to help distribute your weight more evenly.
Most importantly of all buy shoes that fit well and provide the support you need. If your feet are causing pain and your shoes fit well, it is time to look at the other possible causes of foot-pain. Our physiotherapists are trained to assess and treat your foot pain conditions to help keep you walking this season.
"I'm very painful to deal with when I create a shoe."
Manolo Blahnik (designer of high-end stilettos)