Tips for Finding Proper Shoe Support

Humans have been using footwear for about 30,000 years [1]. What started out as little more than woven plant fibers [2] has now evolved and become specialized for a variety of purposes. But are you getting the best use out of those thousands of years of shoe evolution?

Here are some tips to consider next time you’re out shopping for new shoes!

  • Measure your feet! Foot size and shape can change over time, even within the span of a day. Just because you’re accustomed to wearing a particular size doesn’t mean that it’s the best fit for you. Measuring them at the end of the day after exercise would be best as your feet can swell after standing and walking all day [3].
    • Extra tip: When shopping for new shoes, make sure to bring the socks you plan on wearing with the new shoes you plan on purchasing. This way, you will ensure that there is no displacement of space for your shoes when you’re doing the activity intended for those shoes.
  • When selecting shoes, stand up and make sure there is 3/8” to ½” space (about the width of your finger) at the end of your shoe for your longest toe. Make sure you can wiggle your toes!
  • Same as with clothes, shoe sizes can vary from brand to brand. What may fit as a 9 in men’s shoes in one brand may fit as an 8 ½ in men’s in another brand. Always try on the shoes and double-check that they fit properly—the shoe size you’ve been going by is likely just a starting point.
  • Your heels should fit snugly in your shoe. Heels should not slip, rub, or chafe while you walk. If they do, it’d be best to try a different shoe.
  • Ensure that the widest part of your foot fits comfortably in the widest part of the shoe. If the ball of your foot (widest area before your toes begin) feels tight or compressed, try asking the attendant if the shoe comes in a wider size. Getting a size larger, but not wider, may not be beneficial.
  • Your shoes should feel comfortable and fit well when you first try them on. Don’t rely on them stretching over time to accommodate the size and shape of your foot.
  • There should be enough room in the toe area to fit your toes comfortably, especially for those with hammertoes or other conditions.
  • If your feet require orthotics or inserts, be sure to find shoes that allow for that extra room. If the inserts take up room that you hadn’t accounted for, your shoes may not fit properly afterwards and therefore the inserts won’t perform their intended purpose.
  • Match the shoe to the activity you plan on using them for. As implied, running shoes are meant for running and basketball shoes are meant for basketball. One may not be best suited for the other’s activity.
  • Always try on and walk in shoes before you purchase them. Take a quick walk around the store to check if the shoes chafe or feel uncomfortable at all. See how they fit your foot shape. Make sure there is no slippage in the heel.

You don’t have to sacrifice the comfort or safety of your foot for fashion. There are tons of brands out there that are good-looking and practical!

If you have any certain foot or ankle conditions and aren’t sure about which specifics to look for in a shoe, call (888) 824-5580 to schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists!





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