Yes, shoes should enhance your outfit. Yes, they should also be good looking. But, if you want to treat your feet like you like to be treated (with kindness and care), then read our top tips for choosing your footwear sensibly. And no, it doesn't mean you can't wear flash shoes every now and again. Just don't make them your every day choice!
Strong Heel counter– make sure you test that the heel counter is nice and sturdy! If you can bend the heel counter in half then it is too flexible! A strong heel counter will provide stability and security around your ankles during activity.
Flexible at one spot only– test to see if the shoe is too flexible by bending the shoe in different directions. It should only bend where your toes bend! Otherwise your feet may be working harder than it needs to in your shoes.
Lacing or fastening system over the ankle– ensure you have some sort of strap, laces or fastening system that goes over the top of your ankle. This allows your feet to feel secure and effectively and move efficiently during your gait (walking/running) cycle.
Cushioning qualities– if you’re someone who’s on your feet all day, and/or get sore feet… good quality cushioning in your shoes can help! Cushioning can help relieve high pressure areas (commonly the heels and forefoot) and redistribute them to keep you walking, running or standing on your feet all day more comfortably.
Width– having the correct width in any type of shoe is extremely important for good foot health! If your forefoot is either …bulging out the side, getting red pressure marks on the inside or outsides of your feet from the shoes being too tight, or there is excessive movement then the shoes are not right for you. The standard width of a women’s shoe in Australia is a B Width and the standard men’s width is a D width. Most people may not know you can find the same model in a slimmer fit (e.g. A width) or wider fits (e.g. double E) depending if the company makes it. You can also definitely check with Footpath Podiatry or head into The Athletes Foot or Active Feet stores for more footwear fitting advice.
Length – as a general rule of thumb there should be about 1 thumbs worth of space in the front of the shoe from your tallest toe. A mistake that people commonly make when buying runners is having the shoe size the exact same size at what they are measuring at. You’re foot, particularly during activity will often expand in width and length from heat and blood flowing to the area. Your feet will also be slightly larger when you’re standing. This is because all your bodies weight will be on your feet and the bones and soft tissues of the foot will generally splay out. That is why it is so important to get a podiatrist or footwear fitting expert to check you have about 1cm of space in front of your shoes when you’re in a standing position NOT when you’re sitting down.
Now, we don't want to scare you. But incorrect fitting of footwear can lead to long term negative health outcomes and consequences like speeding up bunion deformities in susceptible people, corns, callous, blistering or sore feet. If the shoes are not properly fitted, then your feet may having to work harder than normal. To simply put it, if you have correct fitting footwear then you’re feet will be much happier long term!