How to find shoes that fit well and leave room for your toes

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Shoes can help with foot problems or potentially cause foot problems . There are several ways to help you put on the right shoes.

While shopping for shoes online is very popular, you can only rely on the indicated size and not how the shoes will actually fit your feet. Use these guidelines and tips to learn how to choose the right shoes and make sure they fit.

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Measuring your feet

The feet should be measured once or twice a year at a shoe store. Don't trust foot measurements taken 10 years ago.

Ligaments and other soft tissues in the legs relax and stretch with age. This causes your feet to change in shape and size.

Studies have shown that a large proportion of the population wears the wrong size shoes, which is associated with leg pain and foot discomfort. Be sure to measure the length, width and length of the arch of your foot.

Measure later in the day

Measure your foot and shop for shoes during the day. Almost everyone develops leg swelling at the end of the day. If you go to a shoe store later in the day, you are more likely to avoid shoes that are too tight.

Stand when measuring

Make sure to stand up when you measure your foot. In a standing position, the legs are further apart. It is best to ask someone to take the measurement because you need to stand up straight and face forward with your weight on your foot. The way you stand can affect the size and shape of your feet.

Measure the length of the arc

An important part of shoe fit is arch length. The length of the arch is measured from the heel to the ball of the foot (where the big toe joint flexes). The curve of the big toe should match the curve of the shoe.

With both shoes on, stand on your toes. If you feel that the shoe is bending before or after the attachment of the big toe, then the shoe is not suitable for your arch length.

Size does not matter

Try not to worry too much about the size of the shoe. There is a big difference in shoe sizes between shoe companies due to the lasts used. The latter is the shape around which shoes are molded.

Each company uses a different last, which means that a New Balance size 8 does not fit a Nike size 8, and a Manolo Blahnik size 9 does not fit a Jimmy Choo size 9.

Fit the shoe to a larger foot

No two legs are the same. One foot is usually slightly larger than the other. Buy shoes in a size that fits the largest foot. There are various linings and inserts that can take up space in a shoe if it is too large, but you cannot add space to a shoe that is too small.

Fitting a shoe to a large foot has a limit. If your feet differ by more than 1 1/2 sizes, wear two different size shoes.

Fit shoes to measure

You can try on your shoes at a shoe store or immediately after purchase by ordering them online. Here are some tips to help you decide whether to consider them further or reject them.

Wear suitable socks or hosiery.

  It is important to wear socks, nylons, etc., which you usually wear with the shoes you are trying on. For classic shoes, you should wear the socks that you would wear with them (or not if you wear them that way).

For outdoor or athletic shoes, be sure to use the thickness of the socks you typically wear with them. The thickness of the toe box greatly affects the fit of the shoe.

Leave 1/2 inch at the front of the shoe.

There should be about 1/2 inch between the end of your longest toe and the end of the front of the shoe. This is usually the size of the tip of the index finger (small hands) or the little finger (large hands). While for many people the big toe is the longest, others have a second longest toe known as Morton's toe.

Leave 1/8 inch at the back of the shoe.

You don't want the back of the shoe to fit too tightly around the back of the heel. This can lead to skin irritation and blisters. It is acceptable to leave approximately 1/8 inch between the heel and the shoe.

Choose shoes with room in the toe box

The toes need room to move. Insufficient space for the toes can lead to corns, calluses , neuromas , or toe deformity.

Walk with both shoes

Feel free to try on both shoes and go shopping. Walk on different surfaces (carpet, tile, etc.), if available.

Ideally, it is best to wear your shoes to the gym and walk on a treadmill. This will keep your shoes clean and give you a chance to really try on your shoes. Some stores offer this service, so don't be afraid to ask.

If you ordered your shoes online, be sure to follow their recommendations on what dress code is acceptable in order to return your shoes.

Shoes must be comfortable immediately.

The shoes should be comfortable in the store or immediately after purchase if you bought them online. Don't buy shoes in the hope that one day they will be comfortable enough to wear. Return online purchases immediately if they don't go well.

Lace-up shoes are easier to put on

Lace-up shoes are easier to adapt to your specific needs and easier to keep on your feet. Slip-on shoes cannot adjust to the swelling difference and are more difficult to keep on your feet, making your feet work harder.

Get help from experts

If you have foot problems or are unsure of the correct fit of your shoes, it is highly recommended that you visit a shoe store that offers professional custom-made footwear. Careful fitting and selection of shoes can take 45 to 60 minutes.

To avoid foot problems, the heel height should not exceed 1.5 inches. Any excess of this value puts significantly more pressure on the forefoot and can lead to foot pain later in life.

Frequently asked questions

  • No. Shoes that are too big for your foot will be too baggy to provide adequate support and can interfere with your walking, causing foot problems or falls .

  • The correct shoe should be comfortable from the start, but sometimes the upper part of the shoe can be stiff. To loosen them, you can try wearing them with thick socks or, if they have laces, tying them very tight. Wear your shoes for a short time until they are 'correct'.

  • Buy from a reputable store that has expert salespeople. Try on your left and right shoes and ask them to run up and down the block outside several times. Leave the shoes on your feet for at least 10 minutes.

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