Are you aware that ill-fitting shoes can cause foot problems such as bunions, corns, calluses, and hammertoes? Podiatrists always remind people to wear shoes that properly fit to avoid foot disorders. But, with so many types and styles of shoes on the market, how do you find the right fit for you?
First, ensure that the shoe has durable and quality construction to provide optimal protection and comfort for your feet. A good shoe should conform to your foot’s natural shape, and not the other way around. Avoid forcing your feet to fit the shoe. Instead, look for shoes that fit your feet properly.
To find the right fit, use the following tips:
1. Purchase shoes that fit your largest foot.
2. Have your feet measured each time you buy shoes since foot size changes as we age.
3. Avoid shoes that feel too tight because there is no such thing as a “break-in period.” If the shoe does not fit comfortably, it will not suddenly become more comfortable over time.
4. Limit high heel height to two inches or less to protect your feet.
5. Ensure that the shoe fits properly on your heel and toes.
6. Try on both shoes and walk around the store in them to ensure they fit properly and comfortably.
7. Make sure there is a half-inch of space from your longest toe to the end of the shoe.
8. Avoid shoes with seams over areas of pain, such as a bunion.
9. Look for soles that are shock absorbing and skid-resistant. Rubber-soled shoes are better than smooth leather soles.
10. Choose shoes made of soft material that has some “give” to it.
It is also essential to consider foot arch and pronation when choosing shoes. The foot typically hits the ground heel first and rolls towards the toes, flattening the arch slightly. Abnormal feet functioning happens when the foot rolls too much towards the inside (overpronation) or outside (underpronation). Overpronation can cause arch strain and pain in the knee’s inner side, while underpronation can lead to ankle sprains and stress fractures. One way to determine one’s feet’s pronation is through the watermark test, where you dip your feet in a bucket of water and take note of the footprint created.
If you pronate excessively or have flat feet, molded-leather arch supports can help. Look for shoes with control features such as soles designed to stop the rolling-in motion. If these options are unhelpful, a custom-molded orthotic might be necessary. On the other hand, if there is little to no connection between the front part of your foot and heel, you underpronate or have a high arch. In this case, choose athletic shoes with stability features and extra cushioning for better support.
Shoes with a heel height of one inch or less are best for foot health. High heel shoes with a heel height of two inches or less should not be worn for more than three hours at a time. However, if you have foot problems, such as hammertoes, bunions, or neuromas, it is better to avoid high-heeled shoes altogether.
Properly fitting shoes are critical for foot health. If you experience foot pain, consult Dr. Gilbert Huang, DPM. With his expertise, he can provide you with custom-molded orthotics to alleviate your foot pain. Keep your feet healthy by wearing shoes that fit comfortably and provide adequate support.