Sketchers, Reebok, Aetrex, Prada, Converse, TOMS—they all make shoes, but their footwear is diverse. Even shoes that may seem comparable on the outside can fit very differently. Many people pick out shoes based on their appearance and hope they will be comfortable enough to buy when they try them on; however, this can easily lead to acquiring a lot of shoes that look nice and fit badly. Fitting shoes well can help you find good footwear that is comfortable and supports your feet.
What you put on your feet matters—not just for your comfort when you walk around, but also for the long-term health of your lower limbs. Shoes are meant to protect your feet and help them support both your weight and the force of your steps. When they don’t fit right, or are bad for your foot structure, they can cause real damage to your body’s foundation. Fitting your shoes correctly when you go shopping can make the difference between overuse injuries and strong lower limbs.
To be able to find the best footwear for your unique feet, you need to know ahead of time what special support needs you may have. Your arch height, biomechanical weaknesses, and preexisting conditions like diabetes or circulation problems can all affect your foot functions. Some issues will need special accommodations in your shoes. It’s also possible for your feet to expand as you age. Over time, your ligaments loosen and allow your lower limbs to spread out slightly. This can affect your shoe size.
Footwear Finding Tips
Fitting shoes well can take some time, but it is worth it. Before you buy any footwear, you should have your feet re-measured to help find the right fit. Then look for shoes that match your actual foot shape—not too pointy, narrow, flat, or high. When you try on the shoes that interest you, there should be roughly half an inch between the end of your longest toe and the shoe material. Your toes should have enough room to wiggle freely and the sides of your feet shouldn’t feel cramped or compressed. Make sure the arch of the shoe fits comfortably under your actual arch and isn’t too high or too low for your foot.
If the shoes are comfortable when you stand in them, walk around the store. Footwear shouldn’t require a breaking in period; it should be comfortable enough to use it right away. The soles should have enough grip that you don’t slip when you step. Your toes shouldn’t press against the ends of the shoes and your heels shouldn’t slide out of the back, either. If certain footwear is too narrow, a larger size may not help. You may need an entirely different model.
Here are a few tips to remember when you’re fitting shoes:
- Your feet swell throughout the day, so buy footwear in the late afternoon when they are at their largest.
- Your feet are not always the same size, so be sure to fit your shoes to your largest foot.
- Rounded or square toe boxes allow the most room for your digits. Avoid heels above two inches in height or ballet flats with no support. Both are bad for your lower limb health.
- If you use orthotics, make sure they will fit comfortably in whatever shoes you try on.
If you struggle to find comfortable shoes, or aren’t sure what support issues you may need to accommodate, don’t just guess and end up with painful feet. Contact the experts at Absolute Foot Care Specialists in Las Vegas for an evaluation to learn more about your lower limbs and how to best protect them. Fill out the online contact form or call (702) 839-2010 to reach us for an appointment or more information.