Your feet are the foundation for the rest of your body. But with a poor choice in shoes, you can experience sore feet, ankles, and legs, undermining the foundation of your well-being. Choosing the right or wrong shoe can be the difference between that pain in your back or that spring in your step.
Let’s start by looking at the shoes you’re wearing right now. They could be damaging your health. Here’s how you can tell.
Signs You May Be Wearing the Wrong Shoes
- Plantar fasciitis. Wearing shoes without a proper arch, or high heels, can cause this common form of heel pain.
- Damaged, Bruised or Ingrown Toenails. Toes that are crammed into too-small shoes for too long can lead to misshaped or damaged nails.
- Blisters. Ill-fitting shoes can cause blisters.
- Soreness in the legs, hips, or lower back. When your foot alignment is not correct, the rest of your body is forced to compensate – putting more stress on your legs, hips, and lower back.
- Inflammation. Constant foot pressure – such as that caused by high heels – can inflame the bones or the nerves that surround them.
- Malformed toes. Hammertoes, or clawed toes, can be caused by shoes that are too small or tight.
- Bunions. Crowding your toes in the front of narrow shoes can cause bunions.
- Corns. Tight shoes and high heels can rub against your feet and toes causing corns.
8 Tips for Finding the Right Shoes
If your current shoes don’t fit well, or you just need some new ones, you want to have more than fashion in mind — you’ll also want to consider how they keep your feet healthy.
When trying on shoes, consider these tips:
- Shop for shoes during the afternoon — your foot naturally expands with use during the day.
- Wear the same type of socks to the store that you intend to wear with the shoes.
- Our feet can grow larger and wider as we age. So, trust the comfort you feel rather than a shoe’s size or description. (And note that sizes vary between manufacturers.)
- If one foot is larger than the other, buy a size that fits the larger foot.
- Stand in the shoes. Press gently on the top of the shoe to make sure you have about a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. There should be enough room to wiggle your toes.
- Walk around in the shoes. Is there enough room at the balls of the feet? Do the heels fit snugly, or do they pinch or slip off? Are your toes pinched?
- If your foot feels too snug in a particular shoe, ask if it comes in a wider size. Note that shoes a half-size bigger may not be any wider.
- Don’t try to “break in” shoes or believe they’ll fit better later. Find shoes that fit from the start.
See the best shoes for work, walking, and specific health conditions in our blog!