The first thing to remember is that all feet are not created equal neither are shoes. Just like everyone has a different sense of style, our feet have different needs and areas of discomfort. The trick here is to know what areas you need to be aware of when buying shoes; then what features of a shoe will either help or hurt you.
Heel pain (as mentioned in previous blogs) is one of the most common complaints from my patients. Besides all the exercises and different treatment options to alleviate heel pain, the shoes you wear play a huge role in relieving your heel pain and preventing its return. Constantly wearing ballet flats, flip flops and sandals leave your feet over worked and under supported. These flat shoes offer no support to your arch and have the muscles in your feel working overtime. When shopping for flats look for a shoe with structure and room to put an arch support inside if there isn’t one there already. Adding an over the counter arch support to flatter than flat ballet flats will make a huge difference. Bring them with you when shopping for new shoes to make sure that they fit inside with enough room on top of your foot. Also look for a shoe with even a small heel this takes strain off of the Achilles tendon and Plantar Fasciia. For those already suffering from heel pain a 1- 2 inch heel or wedge will be most comfortable for you.
Often with Bunions or a condition called Hallus Limitus (arthritis in the Big Toe Joint) , there is a decrease in the big toe’s range of motion. The decreased ability to move your big toe up and down at the joint can cause major problems when shopping for heels. Have no fear, platforms are your friend. Platforms are a great tool to make high heels livable. When wearing a shoe with a platform the actual angle that your foot is at is decreased. A 4 inch heel with a 2 inch platform actual is only putting your foot at an angle equivalent to a 2 inch heel.
Hammer toes. This is another issue where accommodation is key. The problem with hammer toes is that one you step down and bear weight on your foot the toes buckle or “hammer” and the knuckle or joint rubs up against the shoe. This will cause blisters at first, then calluses, then painful corns. Find toes with a deep toe box and enough room for your toes. Once again if the shoes hurt in the store they will also hurt when you wear them. So move on and try another style or maybe a different company that has a more generous toe box.
Okay so we covered a few of the most common problems but there are a few general principles that will help you be good to your feet while scoring some of this falls hottest styles.
- First get your foot measured, many times we hold on to the fact that we are a size 8 because that is what we have always worn but in fact our foot is a size 8 ½. All shoe companies sizing is not the same and sometimes in an evening shoe you may have to go up a ½ size. Our foot shape and size change with age, pregnancy, minor injuries. If you have one foot that is slightly larger than the other go for the larger size and put an insole in the other shoe if it is too big.
- Like I mentioned before the golden rule: if it is uncomfortable in the store there is no miracle or cocktail that will make it feel better two hours into your day or evening.
- When buying shoes for work or your daily activities it is far better to buy fewer higher end pairs that are made well and meet all the criteria than buying a greater number of inexpensive styles. Pick a shoe that feels good is stylish for this season in neutral colors like black, navy, metallics are super versatile and a style that works with different pant lengths so that you can wear it will all of your favorite fall outfits.
- The key is to be proactive. Don’t wait until you have the blister or corn and are searching for a band aid. Try your evening shoes on prior to an event. For shoes that you are going to wear to work, wear them on a weekend as a test run before the 8hr workday. This way areas of discomfort can be fixed before the main event.