Shoe shopping can be intimidating.
You walk into the store and see a wall filled with dozens of choices in every colour imaginable. But I’m not here to tell you what colours will bring out your eyes or make you look the most stylish, I’m here to help you take better care of your feet.
After all, foot problems can all start, or end, with what you put your feet into.
Anyways, back to the shoe wall.
To help with your shoe shopping experience, I have some things you should look out for.
For starters, this might sound obvious, but go for shoes that lace up. Yes, slip on shoes are easier to, well, slip on, but laces provide a better fit and more support. Your feet can also change size during the course of a day, depending how much time you spend on your feet, which makes laces that much more important as you can adjust and customize the fit to your liking.
The next thing to look for is a shoe with a good base of support. These shoes tend to have more material underneath, but they’re not super stiff. It’s important for shoes to have some flexibility and bend to them.
And lastly, this may sound like another obvious tip, but you’d be surprised how many people get this step wrong — the fit. Whatever shoe you buy, even if you must skip the first two steps, at the very least, make sure the shoe fits properly. If the shoe isn’t comfortable in store, it probably means it doesn’t fit and it won’t get any better over time. Take the time to measure your foot to know your size. Half a size up or down can make all the difference in the world when it comes to the fit, so you want to make sure you get it right.
But for some people, even with proper footwear, their feet may encounter some pain such as plantar fasciitis or heel spurs. There are some important steps to follow to eliminate those issues, too.
After making sure you’re wearing the right footwear, the next step to get rid of pain is to look into getting some orthotics. Orthotics can definitely help, but unfortunately, picking the right one for your feet offers its own unique challenges. There are tons to choose from and many aren’t much help at all.
Some of the cheaper orthotics act as a band-aid, as they’re just covering up the problem, not solving it. Their goal is immediate relief of the pain and they’ll feature gel cushioning in your problem area. At first, it will probably feel quite nice. But that added comfort doesn’t last for long and that 20 bucks, or whatever the cost was, would’ve been better spent elsewhere. You’ll be back to square one and still stuck with the same pain.
That’s when you might want to consider custom-made orthotics. They use materials that you’re not going to find in an over-the-counter orthotic. The materials used are designed to attack the problem, last a long time, and they’re made to the exact specification of your feet. They can also be created to fit in all types of shoes, everything from a skater shoe, to a work boot, to a soccer cleat.
There is no magic formula or one solution to all foot pain, but a combination of custom-made orthotics and physio offers the best results. Whether you’re battling pain while standing at work, running on a treadmill, or walking your dog, you owe it to yourself to take good care of your feet. After all, nobody’s happy when their feet hurt.
By Taylor Allen