The popular saying, “if the shoe fits, wear it” makes sense but how do we really get a proper fitting shoe? And what other factors are important when shopping for shoes?
The day is long gone when every shoe store in United States was equipped with a machine that x-rayed shoppers’ feet to see how close their toe bones came to the shoe edges. Now we have to rely upon common sense and some time honoured techniques rather than irradiation to get a good fitting shoe.
The perfect shoe is always a compromise of what it is paired with, the rigours of not wearing brown with black, sporty styles with dress clothes and vice verse. And then, the best shoe is a marriage of style and comfort. Here are some guidelines to ensuring this sought after comfort.
The first is to always shop for leather and natural materials when buying shoes. Natural materials ‘breathe’ they allow for air exchange and are healthier for your feet. Plastic shoes are a closed system that retains heat and are a foot sized petri dish for bacterial and fugal growth. Save money buying cheap plastic shoes and you will end up spending a lot for podiatrist bills and anti fungal foot creams.
Next it is important to get the right sized shoe and measurement is one key component. For years, feet have been measured with something called the called a Brannock Device. The Brannock Device, that metal thing with lines and numbers we all step into, measures three basic dimensions of the foot; the heel to the ball of the foot, the heel to the tip of the toes and the width.
Each of the measurements is used in combination to custom find the correct shoe size. The most important measurement is the heel to the ball of the foot. The HB measurement most closely resembles how the shoe is designed to function and the all-important arch of the foot. Although the heel to toe measurement may intimately decide the fit of the shoe, the heel to ball of foot measurement is what makes a shoe feel and function well. It defines the position of the arch, the length of the shank and the location in the sole where the shoe will bend with each step.
If the heel to baal of foot measurement is incorrect, the shoe and the foot will never be in sync, and comfort will not be achieved. Another consideration, together with proper measurement, is the type of sock you wear when shopping and the time of day, and how long you have been on your feet. Shopping for shoe at the end of the day or after exercise or on a hot day is really not the best idea.
Feet swell with heat and exercise, UP TO 5%, and you may end up buying a pair of shoes that are too large on the following morning. Also, be sure to wear the type of socks when shopping for shoes that you will be wearing when you wear them. Do not shop for athletic shoes wearing hose and for pumps when wearing thick socks. Of course, most shoe stores have disposable socks but it is really the best idea to wear the type of hose you know you will be wearing when shopping for shoes.