Shoes serve many roles. They protect your feet while providing support, stability and cushioning when you are walking or standing. Shoes also keep your feet comfortable. Unfortunately, most people don’t give much thought to footwear. Some end up purchasing any pair of shoes that they can get their hands on, as long as it looks fashionable and stylish. Wearing improper footwear can lead to various foot conditions like plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammertoes, calluses, corns, and stress fractures, among other foot-related issues. A properly-fitting pair of shoes, on the other hand, will keep your feet happy, and injury-free, thus helping you to be more productive. So, how do you make sure that your working footwear is a good fit? Here are some key considerations:
Get Professionally Measured
According to a survey conducted by Sourcing Journal, 90% of women in the U.S wear shoes that don’t fit properly. Another study published by the Business Insider shows that 80% of men are wearing the wrong shoe size. Also, people have different types of feet. Some have wide feet while others have narrow feet. One of the easiest ways of determining your actual shoe size is to get your feet professionally measured. Most footwear stores have a shoe size measuring tool, known as the Brannock device. A Brannock device will measure various aspects of your foot, including the actual length and width, as well as the ball of your feet. A Brannock device will also measure your foot’s arch length. With time, your foot will change in shape and size. For instance, if you were wearing size 7 shoes five years ago, you might now be size 7½ or even 8. Therefore, getting your feet professionally measured and verifying your actual shoe size will help you to eliminate guesswork and purchase a shoe that fits your feet well.
Fit Shoes in the Afternoon
Your feet will change in shape, depending on the size of the day or the prevailing weather conditions. For instance, you might notice that a pair of shoes can fit loose in the morning but tight in the afternoon or when it’s hot outside. Your feet will expand on swell after you’ve walked or stood on them for a couple of hours. It’s, therefore, highly advisable to try shoes in the afternoon. If a certain pair of shoes fit well after your feet have expanded, then they will definitely fit well in the morning when your feet have not yet expanded.
Fit Both Feet
The human body is not fully symmetrical. For instance, your right arm may be slightly longer than your left arm. The same case applies to your feet. If you are right-handed, there is a high chance that your right foot is slightly bigger than your left foot. And if you are left-handed, then your left or dominant foot will be bigger than the right one. Just because a shoe fits the right foot properly doesn’t mean that it will also fit the left foot well. That’s why it’s important to fit both feet when you are buying shoes. You should also note that different manufacturers apply different sizing methods. For example, a pair of size 10 Nike sneakers might be larger or smaller than size 10 Asics nursing sneakers. The difference in sizes arises from the lasts used. Therefore, don’t get too hung up with the shoe size number. What matters is how your feet feel when you are wearing shoes. As long as they fit both feet well, then you don’t have to worry too much about their size.
Fit with Socks
When trying on shoes, make sure that you wear socks that you would normally wear with them. The thickness of the socks can determine the actual fit of shoes. Once you slip on your foot inside the shoe, you should ensure they leave a space of at least half an inch between the front of the shoe and the end of your longest toe. You also need to leave at least an eighth of an inch at the rear end of the shoe. If the back of your heel is too tight against the rear part of the shoes, then the shoes might cause blisters and irritation. Also, you should ensure the shoes have ample toe room. Your toes need ample room for wiggle. Inadequate toe room might lead to neuromas, deformed toes, calluses, and corns.
Check Their Flexibility
Once you’ve got the width and size right, you now need to turn your attention to the flexibility of the shoes. The materials used to make the upper and the sole unit will determine how flexible a pair of shoes is. If you take one of the shoes, bend it and the outsole assumes a ‘V’ form, then those shoes have great flexibility.
Consider Your Pronation
Pronation refers to the way your foot rolls when it strikes the ground when you are walking or running. Overpronation tends to place an extra strain on the ligaments, muscles, and tendons of your foot. If it goes on unchecked, it will eventually lead to torn or strained ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the leg, ankle, and foot. Overpronation can also lead to stiffness and soreness on your lower extremities as well as conditions like bunions, plantar fasciitis and shin splints. On the other hand, underpronation leads to soreness and inflammation in the feet, ankles, and knees. Knowing your pronation is therefore vital when you are buying shoes. A gait examination conducted by a podiatrist will help to determine how you walk. A podiatrist will also determine the amount of arch support that your feet need. You will then use that information when purchasing shoes, to ensure you choose a pair that offers optimal arch support.
Walk in Them
Once you’ve acquired your preferred pair of shoes, you should spend some time walking in them. It’s highly advisable to walk on different surfaces, to determine how they fit. Shoes should be comfortable straight out of the box. Don’t buy an uncomfortable pair of shoes, hoping that they will become comfortable once your feet get used to them. If they are uncomfortable to walk with, you should return them right away and seek a replacement.
Take Your Time
As observed earlier, shoes serve several important roles. Whenever you are wearing a pair of shoes, you are relying on them for support, comfort, and protection. Therefore, you should never buy shoes in a hurry. Make sure you check their interior for any hardened areas, bulges or seams that can create discomfort. Some shoe manufacturers don’t line shoes properly, in an attempt to reduce production costs. Therefore, ensure that the shoes are well lined to prevent anything that might lead to blisters, hot spots or other elements that might create discomfort.
When purchasing shoes, you should always remember that they are more than a fashion statement. They should provide support comfort and support, thus helping you to carry out your chores. A well-fitting pair of shoes will also keep your feet healthy and happy while helping you to perform at your best. If you follow the above tips, it should be easy to choose a pair of shoes that fit your feet well – based on your occupation, as well as your lifestyle.