At the chiropody clinic in Congleton I’m often giving advice on buying shoes that fit. Poorly fitting footwear is one of the biggest causes of foot pain in the developed world. Here’s a quick guide to buying shoes that fit properly so your shoes help you rather than hurt you (remember these points can be applied to any type of shoe be it a smart leather shoe or fell running trainer or walking boot).
- Are the shoes comfy? Quite simple really but often over looked. If your shoes are making your feet hurt then they are probably damaging your feet. OK there are times when fashion and appearance are important but wear time of nice but uncomfortable shoes can be kept to a minimum by traveling to work in comfy shoes and changing to nice shoes when you enter the office.
- Check the length of the shoe. When your foot is in the shoe and you are standing there should be a thumbs width between the tip of your longest toe and the end of the shoe. If your toes rub on the end of the shoe you are likely to get hard skin and corns on the tips of your toes and damaged nails.
- Heel to ball of foot. Hold your shoe between both hands, as in the picture above and compress the shoe. It should bend just in front of the laces. When your foot is in the shoe this bend should be where the ball of your foot is. If it is not the shoe is likely to rub the skin on top of your toes and prevent your foot from working in a mechanically efficient way.
- Width of the shoe. The rear foot should be snug in the shoe so that when it is laced up the shoe moves with the foot. The foot however should not over hang the mid-sole, if this is the case then the shoe is too narrow. A shoe is too wide if when laced up there is less than a thumbs width between the eyelets or the shoe is able to move around the foot. The forefoot is should have space to move without the toes rubbing on the sides of the shoe. The foot rubbing on the sides of the shoe is often the cause for damage to the little toe nail and the edge of the big toe.
- Depth of the shoe. This is another area of shoe fitting that is often overlooked. When the foot is in the shoe you should not feel the shoe touching the tops of your toes even when you walk and run and you should be able to wiggle your toes.
Top Tips For Trying On Shoes
- Go shoe shopping at the end of the day or after a long run. The foot expands during the day and during runs so try shoes on when they are at their biggest.
- Make a cardboard template of your foot. Put this template into the shoes you are trying on. If it doesn’t fit or comes out creased on the edges then the shoe is too small for your foot.
- If you use orthotics take these when trying on shoes after all the trainers and orthotics have to work together.