Did you buy the right shoes? Are you wearing the right shoe for your activity? Here are 7 questions to ask yourself when you are shopping for the perfect shoe!
- Are they the right size? Shoe size varies by manufacturer. Have a professional measure your shoe size and look for a thumb’s width of room in the toe box from your longest toe. Think about it, if you had to wear a pair of gloves all day, you would need enough room for your fingers to spread out to complete your daily activities. Our feet should have enough room in our shoes so they can carry us all day long! Shoes that are too small or too big can cause friction calluses, wounds, compression injuries, and limit proper movement of the toes. In shoes with buckles and straps, make sure they aren’t cinched too tight. Cinching laces and buckles too tightly can lead to compression on the nerves of the foot.
- Do they bend? The only place the shoe should bend is at the joint of the big toe in front of the shoe. The shoe should not easily bend from side to side. A shoe should not twist or be able to be wrung out. Again, the only place that should bend is where you would go up on your toes. Say “No!” to bendable, collapsible shoes! Flexible shoes do not support the arch of the foot and lead to an unstable base, this predisposes us to injuries like Plantar Fasciitis, stress fractures, and ankle sprains.
- Are they too soft? Memory foam is all the rage right now! Wearing collapsible, soft, “pillow-like” inserts and shoes are popular, but dangerous. They do not provide stability for the foot. They predispose us to injuries like stress fractures and Plantar Fasciitis.
- Is it too flat? Super thin, flat shoes bend easily and generally have little arch support. Their lack of support puts strain on the plantar fascia band, Achilles tendon, and calf muscle. Wearing ballet flats, slides, and flip flops that collapse can lead to stress fractures, aggravate Plantar Fasciitis and worsen Achilles tendonitis. These shoes can also predispose us to knee, hip, and back injuries.
- Is my heel too high? Stay under 3 inches and look for a stable heel rather than a pencil stiletto. Perfect stable heel choices include a block or stack wedge heel. Higher heels and pencil heels leave us open to ankle sprains, nerve compression, and Achilles tendonitis.
- Are they right for my activity? There are a host of activity specific shoes, and it is important to do a little research before buying shoes for sports such as running or tennis. If your sport requires wearing cleats or spikes, find stud types for the ground you will be playing on most often (soft, hard, firm, or turf) and wear longer cleats for wet surfaces. A good quality foot bed and snug synthetic or leather upper will decrease blisters and sliding injuries in the shoe.
- Is the shoe too cool? Often the most popular styles of shoes such as, flip flops, Converse, Vans, and Sperry’s, are the least supportive. But they are so cute! We get it!! See your podiatrist, put in a pair of supportive inserts, and have fun sporting your cute and supportive footwear around town!
These are some questions to ask yourself when choosing the right shoe. The wrong shoe gives little support to the foot and can lead to injuries and knee, hip, and back pain. The right shoe keeps you in alignment, so you can be more efficient – this helps minimize injury and maximize your function while playing sports and doing daily activities. For stylish shoes, supportive inserts, and much more, visit Healthy Steps Shoe Store at Foot and Ankle Associates of North Texas in Grapevine and Keller! We carry a wide variety of Brooks Running Shoes, Vionic, Dansko, and more!
This article was featured on Southlake Style!