Some serious foot disorders, and even more common conditions, can be linked to one avoidable thing: inappropriate, poor quality or ill-fitting shoes. Any podiatrist will tell you that a good quality, properly fitting shoe pays big dividends for your feet down the road.
The most important quality to look for in shoes is durable construction that will protect your feet and keep them comfortable. Shoes that do not fit properly can cause bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes and other disabling foot disorders.
Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of foot problems. Use this guide when you shop for shoes:
- Fit new shoes to your largest foot. Most people have one foot larger than the other.
- Have both feet measured every time you purchase shoes. Your foot size increases as you get older.
- If the shoes feel too tight, don't buy them. There is no such thing as a "break-in period."
- Most high heeled-shoes have a pointed or narrow toe box that crowds the toes and forces them into an unnatural triangular shape. As heel height increases, the pressure under the ball of the foot may double, placing greater pressure on the forefoot as it is forced into the pointed toe box.
- Shoes should be fitted carefully to your heel as well as your toes.
- Sizes vary among shoe brands and styles. Judge a shoe by how it fits on your foot - not by the marked size.
- There should be a half-inch of space from the end of your longest toe to the end of the shoe.
- Try on both shoes.
- Try on new shoes at the end of the day. Your feet normally swell and become larger after standing or sitting during the day.
- Walk around in the shoes to make sure they fit well and feel comfortable.
- When the shoe is on your foot, you should be able to freely wiggle all of your toes.