If you’ve gone through numerous pairs of shoes that hurt your feet and leave you with blisters or other foot issues, it is likely that you are just not getting the right fit. We all have differently shaped feet and even if you have an idea of your size, that doesn’t mean that your feet will feel great in every pair of shoes you try on in that size.
Whether it’s the toe box, width or length of the shoe, you will find discrepancies in sizing and shoe shape with every pair you try on. For this reason, it’s essential to know what your exact measurements are. Getting the right fit will not only keep your feet healthy and happy, but also protect your joints and spine.
Consider the following tips to get the perfect fit.
If you are planning to wear your shoes outside, it’s really important that you take a look at the soles and see what they are made of. While leather soles are beautiful, they will show scuff marks after the very first wear. Rubber soles are the most durable and they are more likely to protect your feet if you step on hard objects like rocks or glass. While rubber soles on sneakers will be a given, you can also find indoor/outdoor shoes like wool clogs with rubber soles that will allow you to go anywhere without worrying.
It’s really important to shop for shoes at the end of a long day rather than at the beginning. After a day of standing and walking, your feet will be slightly swollen. That is your true shoe size. You never want your feet to feel squeezed, so make sure your shoes are comfortable at all points of the day.
It’s good practice to have your feet measured every time you go to a shoe store. As you age, your feet will likely change, often becoming wider, so getting re-measured can save your feet overtime.
Around 60% of the adult population has one foot that is larger than the other. If you fall into this majority, then remember to always shop for your larger foot. If your feet are very different in size, you may need to buy two different shoe sizes to accommodate both.
For many shoes, like running sneakers, you will know exactly what kind of socks you will be wearing with them. Go ahead and bring these to the store and try the new shoes on with that specific pair of socks. This will help you get a feel for how they will actually fit when you go to wear them. There is a big difference between hose and thick boot socks, so avoid the free hose that they give you at the store.
While a pair of shoes might be your exact size, that doesn’t mean that they will automatically be comfortable. Before buying a pair of new shoes, make sure you feel inside to see if there are any seams that are protruding that might rub and cause irritations.
If you are at a store, you can try on multiple different pairs of shoes to see which provide the best fit. Be sure to walk around for a good five minutes on the carpet and see if after that time, they are still comfortable.
If your shoes feel too tight at the store, they are still going to be too tight when you go to wear them. While some materials, like leather can get softer over time, the effect is minimal. Don’t count on any shoes “breaking in” because all that is going to happen is that you will end up with blisters.
Beyond the sizing of your shoes, you should also check the flexibility. Shoes that are too rigid won’t provide your foot with the opportunity to move naturally, which can result in foot pain. To test the flexibility of a shoe, bend the toe part upward.
While this has less to do with fit and more to do with being smart about the type of shoes you wear, we recommend keeping heel heights low. Heels over 2.5 inches are going to put your foot at an uncomfortable pitch with more pressure going to the front of the foot than the back. This can affect your balance and cause both acute and chronic foot problems.
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