Heading into the New Year, as we reflect on the old and look forward to the new, many of us have to-do lists or even resolutions in mind. We are over the hump of the holidays and for many, thoughts are driven to think about goals, losing the holiday weight, and paying off debt. Typical of each holiday season now isn’t it? So lets think of something a bit different from the norm.

Think about your feet in the new year. Once you finish reading this article, send it to people you know then shut down your computer. Proceed to that ominus room in your house – your closet. You will need an open mind, a piece of blank paper and a pencil or pen.As you flip on the light to your closet, what do you see? Are there shoes lined up like soldiers or are they piled up like a bunch of old laundry? Are they residing in a organizer protected from the elements or can you blow off last years accumulation of dust bunnies?

Shoes need protection from the elements. To maintain your shoes appearance, you should have a shoe care kit consisting of cleaners for various shoe materials, clean soft cloths and applicable shoe polish. If your shoes are not protected in a shoe organizer, consider shopping for one that will protect your shoes and also allow breathability for the shoe materials.

Next, it’s time to take inventory of your shoes…

Athletic shoes

  • What do your athletic shoe look like? If you wear them daily and are more than six months old, consider donating them in lieu of throwing them away. Athletic shoes, particularly running shoes have a life of approximately 300-500 miles or six months. Wearing athletic shoes that are broken down can lead to foot health issues.

Dress shoes

  • Ah, now this is can be a touchy subject. Do you have sore feet after a day at the office or an evening event? Here is an exercise that may help you understand why: Outline your foot on a piece of paper with a pen or pencil. Place your dress shoes over the outline. Trace an outline of your shoe over the foot tracing. Do you see any tracing of your foot? Hopefully you do not but odds are, especially for the ladies, you may see your foot outline much wider than the shoe outline. Think about it, if your foot, particularly the forefoot is squished into your favorite dress shoes, could this be the reason why your feet hurt thus leading to pain in other areas of your body?

The answer is yes – it’s hard to accept but yes….you need better fitting shoes! Shopping for well fitting shoes is not as hard as you think. Sure, you may need to shop around a bit but once you have the right shoe for your foot, it will truly make all the difference. Have your feet measured at least once a year. Feet change whether you choose to accept it or not. Here’s another tip, once you find the right fit, buy a few pair versus just one. The investment will be worth it long term.It’s time to let go of ill fitting, worn down, incorrectly sized shoes and ring in the new year with properly fitting shoes.

You CAN part with ill fitting shoes no matter how cute they are….remember "if the shoe doesn’t fit, you must aquit". As you say goodbye to the old shoes, take a picture of them. Later in the year, as your feet feel great, pull out the pictures. Relish in your poor shoe investment then look at your feet. Saving your feet is the right thing to do!