There’s nothing worse than when you realise the perfect shoes you tried on in the shop, are too painful to wear. Here's a practical guide to help you choose the best shoes for you. So don’t forget it next time you go shopping!
When you buy a pair of shoes, remember to try them on with the type of socks you think you’ll wear with them. You can either go shopping in them, or carry a pair in your bag.
Your shoe should be approximately one cm longer than your foot to make sure your toes have room to move and to avoid any rubbing. Measure the length of your foot to the tip of your longest toe, remember, it might not be your big toe!
The shoe should be snug on your foot in its widest point to prevent chafing caused by your shoe rubbing your foot, so make sure there are no pressure points. If you can't wiggle your toes, the shoes are too tight.
The upper should not push down on the top of your foot, especially at the tip. This kind of pressure can cause skin irritation, nail problems and toe cramps. The depth of the shoe is right if you can flex your foot.
The shoe should fit your foot firmly around the heel, especially in athletic shoes. An unstable heel lets your foot slide around and makes your gait unbalanced, leading to arch pain and skin irritation.
It’s important to choose an insole or a shoe with an anatomically shaped insole capable of supporting your foot at the right support points. Shoes with removable insoles are very practical, they can be removed to put in anatomical orthotic insoles, or can be made wider to accommodate foot swelling during the day.
The lining of the shoe should be smooth, and free of wrinkles or any raised stitching. This will help you avoid any irritation or damage to the skin.
Whatever the material of the upper, make sure it's flexible and doesn't restrict foot movement. It’s also important to consider its breathability, so your feet don’t overheat and produce odours.
The sole material should be lightweight, durable and have grip. Try to pick shoes that provide protection from stones or other objects on the ground that could hurt your foot too.
If possible, choose shoes with laces, Velcro or buckles, so you can adjust the fit to suit your needs.
Our feet are fully formed at age 18, but their size and shape can still change with age or pregnancy. The shape of the shoe and the fit also make a difference. So it’s best to choose a comfortable fit to better accommodate the foot.
Trial and error
Always try on both shoes: most people's feet are slightly different sizes, so choose the size of the larger foot. Your foot widens when you put your body weight on it, so make sure you stand up.
A little trick
Finally, make sure you walk around in the shop with the shoes on – even the softest material may not give you the right comfort when your feet are in motion.