They may be a fashion staple, but shoes are also valuable tools that protect your body from damage in many different ways. It’s true that the shoes you wear can say a lot about you—including whether or not you’re likely to be suffering from foot pain. Fitting shoes correctly is an important part of maintaining your foot health, even as an adult.
Why Shoes Matter
Your shoes fulfill several important purposes for your feet. Not only do they protect you from stepping on objects that could potentially damage your lower limbs, they help your body support itself. They give your feet a little extra help absorbing shock and distributing bodyweight. Because they affect how your feet strike the ground, they can help your lower limbs function well and without pain.
On the other hand, shoes that don’t fit can cause significant discomfort. Footwear that is too tight or too loose can rub your skin, pinch your toes, and negatively affect your biomechanics. All of this can mean pain and, in severe cases, foot changes or deformities.
How to Fit Shoes
Obviously, fitting shoes correctly is extremely important. Most people, however, take it for granted—especially since, as adults, feet don’t seem to change that much. The truth is that your feet can and do still change. Just as importantly, not all shoes are made the same way, so they have to be checked carefully to make sure they support your feet appropriately. Here’s how you fit new shoes:
- Get Measured – Either have someone at a shoe store measure your feet, or let Dr. Darren Silvester do it so you know exactly what size you need.
- Look for Foot-Healthy Styles – Skip styles that don’t match your foot shape, particularly if they have pointed toe boxes or super high heels. They may look nice, but they won’t fit well in any size.
- Try it On – All shoes should fit comfortably right away when you walk around. Shoes that need to “stretch” or “break in” don’t actually fit.
- Test the Toes – Keep about half an inch of free space between the ends of your toes and the front of your shoe, even when you stand up.
- Check the Heel – You should be able to slide your index finger partially between your foot and the heel. If not, the shoe is too tight; if your finger slides too easily, the shoe is too loose.
Pro Tips for Getting the Best Fit
There are a few other things you can do to help you find the perfect fit for your footwear:
- Shop Later – Your feet swell and expand throughout the day, so fit your shoes in the late afternoon, when your lower appendages are at their biggest.
- Fit for the Larger Foot – Most people have one foot that’s slightly larger than the other. Make sure you get sized for the longer foot, so your shoes don’t squeeze it.
- Bring Your Insoles – If you wear over-the-counter inserts or custom orthotics, make sure they are with you and will fit into any prospective shoes.
- Wear the Right Socks – Socks can actually change the fit. Bring a pair of the socks you’re most likely to wear with your new shoes.
- Get the Right Width – Shoes that are too narrow will squeeze your forefoot and cause pain.
In the end, the shoes you wear are your choice. Do your feet a favor and keep them healthy by wearing footwear that fits correctly. If you aren’t sure if your shoes fit correctly, or you have special foot needs to accommodate, let Dr. Darren Silvester and our team at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic know. We’ll be happy to help you. You can use our website to connect with us, or you can call our Pleasanton, TX, office directly at (830) 569-3338.