With SO many options for footwear available, there are many things to consider when choosing a pair. We’re just going to talk about the basics with everyday shoes. Sandals could be a whole other post!
I think the most important thing to consider is proper support of the foot. This would mean a good insole, and most traditional shoes don’t have this, unless you’re buying them at a high quality shoe store that specializes in more supportive shoes. With insoles, there are 3 arches of the foot to support (transverse arch, longitudinal arch, and metatarsal arch) in addition to any heel cushion or metatarsal pads. If you are really struggling to find a shoe that meets these needs well, a separate purchased insole, arch support or custom made orthotics would be suggested next steps. It’s important to pay attention to how your foot moves while in the shoe. Does your main arch collapse or roll inward? Are you rolling onto the outside of your foot? It’s helpful to have someone knowledgeable watch you walk without and with the shoes on.
Other things to pay attention to include:
Type of activity the shoe will be worn for.
Heel cup to stabilize the heel and set proper foot mechanics since the heel is the first part of the body to hit the ground when walking.
Firmness or flexibility of the shoe and sole and this is somewhat dependent upon the intended use of the shoe.
Width of the toe box, a too narrow shoe puts pressure at the base joint of the big toe and this can contribute to bunions or make pain in this area worse.
Type of sock you will be wearing with the shoe.
Aesthetics, of course! You will likely not wear a pair of shoes long if you don’t like them, unless support and comfort are the only things that matter to you. Sometimes that’s the way it is, especially for sports or different types of jobs. However, there is a significantly larger selection of attractive AND supportive shoes. No more images in your head of your grandmother’s shoes when you think of orthotic or supportive shoes!
The last thing would be to rotate shoes, and not wear the same pair everyday and replace them when they are worn well or are starting to lose their shape. This keeps your foot flexible, adaptable and strong, and helps it be stable enough to support you.
We’d love to hear, what are some of your favorite shoes that are good to your feet and where did you find them?