1. Purpose of the shoe
Think around what you will be wearing the shoe for. Is it for walking? Is it for running? Is it for gym? It’s essential that you have a clear idea of what activity you want the shoe for so that you can be pointed in the right direction from the sales person at the shop. This information can vastly change the ideal features of the shoe. If you are bush walking, you will need to look at the grip on the sole of the shoe. If you are running you will need to have cushioning and support where your feet need it the most.
2. The right shoe store
Its hard to be 100% up to date with what shoes are currently available. Finding a store with knowledgeable staff who can assist in picking the right shoe for you is essential to finding the right footwear. If you find you are not getting the help you need, then it is better to go to another store than to buy a shoe that doesn’t fit your foot correctly.
3. Optimised lacing
Not every shoe will perfectly fit every foot. Some of us have strange shapes, sizes and even bony lumps to our feet. Because of this, the laces may need to be adjusted with something like a lock lace (if the shoe is a little loose in the heel) or a volume lace (if the shoe is a bit tight). Stepping Out Podiatry can show you various types of lacing techniques if you need help.
4. Check the toes
The shape of a shoe toe box doesn’t always fit the shape of the foot. The best way to see how well a shoe fits around your toes is to pull the innersole out (if possible) and stand (yes, you have to stand up so your foot spreads out) on top of the innersole. Pay close attention to where your toes and the end of the innersole are (do they look a bit too close? Is there too much room?). The ideal amount of room in front of your toes is about 10mm. Depending on the purpose of the shoe will also depend on how snug they should fit.
Its’ very hard to tell how a shoe feels inside a store. Different shoe stores have different policies around returns. Ideally, we recommend keeping your shoes clean and wearing them around the house for a few hours to feel sure about your choice of shoe. If something feels uncomfortable, you can then attempt to return a clean shoe to the store, rather than attempting to return a visibly worn pair. Have a chat to your local store about their policy regarding returns in advance to avoid frustration.
Many of our patients at Stepping Out Podiatry buy shoes and bring them to us for checking to see if they are the right fit for purpose. This also helps avoid wasted money as shoes can be expensive and choosing the right fit can be the difference between happy feet and painful feet.