Ill-fitting shoes encourage incorrect posture and gait, ultimately producing unwanted stress on the feet, hips, ankles, and spine. Over time, the continuous pressure causes pain and debilitating injuries. Damage to the feet may potentially prevent an individual from participating in work, sports, and hobbies. Each year about seven million Americans visit their doctor for foot related discomfort. Many of these reported issues are easily treatable with proper footwear, proportionate to the individual’s feet, body, and lifestyle.
When choosing a shoe, style shouldn’t be the only deciding factor. To promote foot health and mobility, pick out a shoe that will conform to the shape of the foot. The shoe should complement your activities and walking habits. The following are a few guidelines for choosing an appropriate shoe:
Regularly measure your feet: Your feet continue to grow as you age. Measure your feet every year to ensure you’re getting the most accurate fit. Always measure your feet while standing, as the full weight of your body will expand your feet.
Buy shoes at the end of the day: Water build-up and muscle strain cause your feet to swell throughout the day. The feet can swell up to 8% by the end of the day. Go shoe shopping in the evening to be sure your shoes will be comfortable all day.
Leave Some Room: A proper fitting shoe has about ½ inch of space between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe. Wearing shoes too long for your feet strain your muscles, and blisters develop because your foot slides forward as you walk.
Test Before Purchasing: As you’re trying on shoes walk around on different surfaces. Taking steps in various environment test how the shoe reacts to changes in gait as you adapt.
Avoid Pointed Shoes: Shoes with a square or round toe box provide more room and allow the toes to lay flat. Pointed shoes crowd the toes, pushing them together and causing discomfort. In many cases, it ‘s hard to walk throughout the day in pointed shoes. Choose shoes that allow the toes to “breathe” and move freely.