Well-fitting shoes should be a no-brainer, but it’s often something that gets overlooked when choosing a new pair. Poorly designed shoes, without proper support can cause a wealth of long-term and short-term health conditions, including blisters, hammertoes and stress fractures. We spend most of our time on our feet, so whatever your day entails, shoe fit should be your number one priority. It’s about time that style and comfort went hand-in-hand, so we’ve put together this guide to help you achieve this important two-in-one.
The heel you choose will determine the outcome of your day...or night. It’s one of the most important things to consider when purchasing your next pair of shoes to avoid aches and pains.
For those of you on your feet all day, why not reach for a wedge? Ideal for supporting a greater surface area and taking the strain off of the ball of your foot. Wedges typically offer a wider footprint and more cushioning, meaning your arch is not expected to support your entire foot, resulting in less wear and tear.
The shoe for any occasion...enter the block heel. Practical and supportive, they bring the height of a stiletto heel whilst reducing the ache in your ankle and spreading your weight evenly. They are sure to carry you through with ease, whilst providing stability.
Evenings out welcome a high heel, perfect for elongating the leg and working out those calf muscles. To maximise on comfort try choosing a shoe with a slight platform on the toe, this ensures that the arch of your foot isn’t bending too much. You can also use cushion pads or stickers at the ball of the foot to help ease some of the impact of wearing a higher heel. The high heel can easily be comfortable if you know what to look out for!
Protect your toes at all costs. The correct toe box will contribute greatly to your overall comfort and foot health. Your foot is unique to you, so when purchasing those new shoes think of the toe box first. As a primary rule, avoid anything too narrow...this is where blisters and bunions start. If your shoes feel tight around your toes, this means that your feet aren’t moving naturally. Avoid this by choosing a toe box that gives your foot plenty of room.
A round, square or wide toe box works best for most people, providing enough room for your toes to spread and avoiding the dreaded pinch - you want to be able to move around freely and naturally without your toes overlapping. A tight squeeze will, over time, shift your toe bones and can be painful.
If your shoes are feeling tight, you most likely have chosen the wrong toe box for your foot. This can easily be established by removing the insole from your shoe, standing on it and seeing if your toes overlap on either side. Correcting this and establishing which is right for you will prevent any long-term damage to your feet.
Comfort is key here. The sole makes the shoe and will determine how long you can stay upright for. Our feet bear the brunt of our day and a great deal of pressure is put on them. Whilst you may have found the perfect pair of shoes, they will not go far without the correct sole. First thing’s first - avoid anything too thin or too flat; these will do your feet no favours and offer very little support. Rubber, cushioned or cork soles are the perfect options when considering comfort.
Running around all day? Rubber soles should be your go-to as they offer flexible and durable comfort and are also slip-resistant...no accidents here. For the most part, rubber is suitable for all-weather and all-terrain, allowing you to wear your favourite pair of shoes season after season.
A cushioned sole does exactly what it says on the tin - cushions your feet! These soles reduce any shock and stress that is placed on the foot in our day-to-day lives. Chances of recurring back and knee pain are greatly reduced, as well as the dreaded foot fatigue. Keep things cushioned and you will be on the move all day.
Lastly, a lightweight cork sole offers odour resistance with far less moisture build-up in the shoe. They are form-fitting, providing a custom fit by moulding to your foot. Lastly, like rubber they protect your feet from the impact of every day, making them ideal for standing, sitting or walking for hours on end.
Having ticked off the above on your shoe hunt, continue to support your foot with the correct closure. A bad fastening can undo all of your hard work and make that perfect shoe the wrong one very quickly.
Shoes with zip closures, while easy to slip on and off, may not be the most suitable for maintaining a healthy foot, due to their unadjustable nature. When choosing a shoe with zips, look to see if they also have a lace-up front, or straps to adjust, your foot will remain in place whilst maintaining the aesthetic that a zip gives.
To ensure that your feet are rooted firmly in place, try using styles with velcro, laces or straps. These provide the most support to your foot given that they are fully adjustable and help to keep your heel in place, whilst simultaneously supporting the body of your foot.