Feet endure tremendous pressures of daily living.
An average day of walking brings a force equal to several hundred tons on them. They are subject to more injury than any other part of the body, underscoring the need to protect them with proper footwear.
Doctors of podiatric medicine are health care professionals trained for both palliative and surgical care of the foot and ankle. They also are fully qualified to recommend selection of the right pair of shoes, or address other aspects of foot health, for all members of the family.
For longer service, keep shoes clean and in good repair. Avoid excessive wear on heels and soles. Give your shoes a chance to breathe—don’t wear the same pair two days in a row (you prolong the life of shoes by rotating their use). Never wear hand-me-down shoes (this is especially important for children).
- Have your feet measured while you’re standing.
- Always try on both shoes, and walk around the store.
- Always buy for the larger foot; feet are seldom precisely the same size.
- Don’t buy shoes that need a “break-in” period; shoes should be comfortable immediately.
- Don’t rely on the size of your last pair of shoes. Your feet do get larger, and lasts (shoemakers’ sizing molds) also vary.
- Shop for shoes later in the day; feet tend to swell during the day, and it’s best to be fitted while they are in that state.
- Be sure that shoes fit well—front, back, and sides—to distribute weight. It sounds elementary, but be sure the widest part of your foot corresponds to the widest part of the shoe.
- Select a shoe with a leather upper, stiff heel counter, appropriate cushioning, and flexibility at the ball of the foot.
- Buy shoes that don’t pinch your toes, either at the tips, or across the toe box.
- Try on shoes while you’re wearing the same type of socks or stockings you expect to wear with the shoes.
- If you wear prescription orthotics—biomechanical inserts prescribed by a podiatric physician—you should take them along to shoe fittings.