Why is good footwear important?

Wearing properly fitted shoes plays an important role in preventing and maintaining healthy painless feet.

Unfortunately, many modern shoes are designed for fashion and not for healthy feet.

Wearing shoes that fit properly will prevent future problems, help you to have less foot pain, and allow you to continue to do your normal day-to-day activities.

For some medical conditions, such as Diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis, wearing properly fitting shoes are essential - as they help prevent skin ulcers, blisters, callosities, and painful ankle joints.

For other medical conditions, such as ankle arthritis, specially made shoes can help relieve pain associated wit arthritis.

What is the right type of shoe?

There are certain features to look for when looking for the right type of shoe.

  • Low Heels. A low heeled shoe are better than a high heeled shoe
  • Laces. Shoes with laces or straps to close them are better than a slip on shoe.
  • Seams that are not prominent. Seams can rub on the skin of your foot and cause irritation and blisters.
  • Natural materials. Shoes made of natural materials are better than syntheic materials as they will shape around your foot.
  • Right fit. Make sure they fit in length- not too loose or too tight. Shoes that are too loose can cause rubbing.
  • Wide toe box. The front of the shoe must be “foot shaped” and allow enough room for your toes. Unfortunately, many modern fashionable shoes are very narrow in front, pinching the toes, and causing pressure and pain.
  • See a Specialist. Sometimes people require custom made footwear. A Podiatrist, Orthotist or Orthopaedic Surgeon can help decide whether your foot requires special custom-made footwear.

Tips when buying new shoes

  • Go by feel and comfort, not shoe size. It is very important that your shoes feel comfortable. Many shoes can vary in size, despite being the same "size" on the label. It is more important how the shoe feels on your foot than its’ size number.
  • Go shopping late in the day. When shopping for a new pair of shoes, try to do so later in the day. Our feet are slightly more swollen later in the day.
  • Bring along your own socks. Try your shoes on with the socks that you would normally wear.
  • Try on both Shoes.
  • Do a Walk Test. Walk around the store to make sure they are comfortable to move in.
  • Orthotics.
    • If you have orthotics (insoles or ankle supports) that you are supposed to wear, bring these with you when buying new shoes. You may find that you need a size larger than normal because of this.
    • Look for shoes that have a removable living. You can then take out the lining and place in your orthotics instead.
  • Try them at home. Wear the new shoes around the house first for 30 minutes. Then check your feet for discolouration or rubbing. Return your shoes if they seem too tight.
10 June, 2010