Our feet bear the extraordinary burden of our day to day living, they support all the weight of our body and allow us to be mobile. It's important our feet are well supported and protected, so shoes play a vital role in this.
The Ideal Shoe
There is no such thing as the one perfect shoe. Feet come in many shapes and sizes, and undertake a range of different activities depending on your particular lifestyle. Generally though, when you buy new shoes, its important to make sure;
- They fit properly
- They are supportive for the kind of activity you will be wearing them for
- They do not cause damage to your feet or hurt you in anyway
The Importance of a Good Fit
Choosing shoes that fit well is an important part of caring for your feet. Finding the right fit may mean you have to look at a few different styles to accommodate your particular foot shape. Because feet are rarely the same size it is important that you fit your shoes to your larger foot. An experienced footwear sales person can help you with this. Since most shoe manufacturers have their own size range, you should make decisions on what feels best for your feet.
People who have misshapen feet from an injury or medical condition such as arthritis or diabetes, may require shoes with extra depth or width. Some people may require orthoses (inserts). Occasionally, a custom made shoe will be the most suitable.
Shoe Buying Tips
When buying new shoes keep in mind the following;
Materials: Leather is generally preferred for shoe uppers, however synthetics developed with specific beneficial properties, e.g. stretch may be preferable for some foot deformities. Synthetic or rubbers are best for the sole as they are often more durable, shock absorbent and provide better grip.
Security: Shoes should be secured on the feet with laces, straps or buckles, especially walking shoes. If your feet have to work to hold your shoes in place you foot muscles may end up strained.
Shape: Pointy shoes can make your toes "claw". This may affect overall body posture. Clenched toes can also cause rubbing, leading to corns adn calluses. broad toe shoes allow the toes more room and can help prevent pressure injuries
Also check the following:
- The heel of the shoe is less then 2.5cm high, high heels increase the pressure on the ball of the foot.
- Your shoes have a well padded sole, a cushioned sol absorbs shock and reduces pressure on teh feet
- Your shoes are made from a material that breathers, fungal infections such as tinea love a warm, moist environment, absorptive socks can help draw moisture away.
Your shoes protect you from injury, your feet must be protected from your immediate environment. People with reduced sensation or circulation need to be especially careful they do not injure their feet.
Footwear at Work
If you work in a field that increases the chance of injuring your feet then safety shoes are vital. Safety shoes and boots protect your feet, help prevent injuries and can help reduce the severity of injuries that can occur in the workplace.
Some extra tips:
- Your toes should not touch the end of your shoes or you may damage your nails and toes - you need a gap of about 1cm from the end of your longest toe
- Shoes should be broad enough and deep enough fo your foot, if you can see an outline of your foot pressing against your shoe that its probably the wrong fit
- Don't buy shoes that need breaking in, shoes should be comfortable immediately
- Shop for shoes later in the day, most people's feet tend to swell during the day and it is best to fit shoes when they are at their largest.