Thursday, 12 December 2013

Shoe Buying Basics

Sore and aching feet are amongst the most common of minor physical complaints the world over. In fact they are so common that often people get so used to the pain and discomfort that they ignore or don’t notice it. And if the discomfort is bad, a good soak or foot rub will usually ease the pain. But ignoring foot pain is not safe. The pain is a sign that something is wrong and what is happening could affect the health of your feet, ankles, knees, back and spine. The result of any of these problems can be far reaching and affect the way you live and the quality of your life. Looking after your feet is an important but often ignored aspect of overall healthcare.

It Starts With the Shoes

The starting point of good foot health is wearing the right shoes. Buying a new pair of shoes is not a simple matter of going to a shoe store, find a pair you like, trying it on and, if it seems to be okay, buying it.  There is a science to good shoe design and knowing what makes a good shoe can help you make the right shoe buying choices. Here are the things to look for:
·    Unless asked to by a foot doctor, do not wear shoes that provide ankle support (like basketball shoes) as this may cause the ankle to become weak.
·    Avoid shoes that are very narrow in the middle of the outsole. If the print the shoe makes is similar to a footprint, it will not provide stability when walking.
·    Try to bend the front of the shoe upwards. Only the front 1/3rd of the shoe should bend. The rear2/3rd should be stiff and hard to bend. Since your foot does not bend in the middle, neither should your shoe.
·    Hold the front of the shoe in one and the rear in the other. Try and twist the shoe. A good shoe should not distort or become deformed easily.
·     Press against the back spine of the shoe (also called the counter). Squeeze the sides of the counter at the same time with the other hand. The counter supports the heel and should not lose its shape easily.
·    Remove the insole from the shoe and compare it to your foot. The insole should be about one thumbnail width longer than your foot.
·    Some people have a marginal difference in the size of their feet. If this is the case with you, buy a pair of shoes that is right for the larger foot.
·    Pick a shoe with material that breaths or which has perforations. This will allow the feet to remain dry.
·     When trying out the shoes avoid any design or size that allows the foot to roll outwards or permits the heel to lift in the shoe. While some materials like leather will stretch with use, a new shoe should never be so tight as to be uncomfortable.
·    Walk on a vinyl or linoleum surface in or in front of the shoe store to see if the shoes squeak or slip. A good pair of shoes should not slip and should be quiet.
The above guidelines are meant to help you buy shoes that are good for your feet. That does not mean that such shoes need to be expensive or ugly. There are lots of good shoes that are both good to your feet and also look nice.

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