Before we talk about shoes we need to talk about your feet, obviously that is why you are buying shoes. There are 26 bones & 33 joints held together by over 100 ligaments and tendons. Quarter of all the bones in your body are in your feet. The foot is a mobile adapter it doesn’t do so well on smooth hard surface where we spent most of our time. They say you walk about 160,000 kilometers or 100,000 miles around the earth in your lifetime. So it is very important to get shoes that fit you properly.
Every foot is unique, by that I mean sometimes your right foot is a little longer than your left foot, a little wider, narrower, every possible combination. But shoes are mass produced for an average foot that doesn’t really truly exist. So your shoes need to be more than a fashion statement, they need to fit your lifestyle, so buy shoes that fit your lifestyle.
A good shoe has good support at the heel, so it not easily collapsible, that helps support your ankle. It is not twisty through the mid-foot to help support the arch area in the mid-foot. And you want to have ample toe room, so your toes can wiggle freely, you do not want them cramped up.
You want to buy your exercise shoes right after exercise, work shoes right after work, cause your feet normally swell from these activities from beginning to end. If you need to buy them earlier in the day, just make sure you have a little extra room in there to allow for any swelling that might occur. When buying shoes you want to measure your foot each time. Your foot naturally changes over your lifetime, increase in weight, loss in weight, change of activity, pregnancy and ageing will all change the size and shape of your foot. There is a standard foot measurement device, it’s called a Brannock device and most shoe store have them. You stand on it & look straight down at your longest toe and read your size. This doesn’t necessarily mean your shoe size will also be this size but we use it as a guide. They are not very accurate for width, they are only right half the time, so it is a bit of a judgment call.
Okay, shoe sizes aren’t standard not even with a brand, some fit short, and some fit long. So what you want to do is when you are buying shoes is to buy shoes that look like your feet. In other words when you have a narrow straight foot, you want to have a narrow straight bottom on your shoe, trust me it will feel better. You put the shoe on and stand up you want to have 1 cm (3/8”) in front of your longest toe standing. And sometimes it is not always your big toe, for some people it is their second toe.The widest part of the shoe fits the widest part of the foot, and you never buy a shoe that hurts at try-on.
You may break the shoe in, but most likely you’ll break your foot in, don’t let anyone tell you it is okay. The other objection you often get is heel slippage, a little is allowed a lot is not. It is really up to you. If you think it’s too much, it is, if it isn’t, it’s not. A brand new shoe is often stiff and a little inflexible so it is not bending at the toe box so your heel comes up and the shoe doesn’t follow. Once the shoe has been worn for a while a little heel slippage will go away. Put the shoes on, walk around the store for a bit, see if you like it, see if it’s comfortable. If you are not sure ask for the stores return policy, take it home, try it out, and bring it back if it doesn’t work for you.
If you wear orthotics you know you should have a removable foot bed, but please buy shoes to fit your feet and not your orthotics. You have a foot problem, not an orthotic problem. You can get in trouble if you are always buying shoes for your orthotic when it’s your foot that you are really trying to help.
If you normally wear a certain thickness or style of sock bring that with you when you are trying on that type of shoe. It will affect the size and fit of your shoe. So remember, buy shoes that fit your lifestyle, shoe must be comfortable at try-on, a little slippage is allowed, a lot is not. . Keep on walking!