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An overview of proper shoe fit

shoe fitting

A number of common foot and ankle injuries and abnormalities can be avoided by getting one thing right: proper shoe fit. When shopping for shoes, there are a number of factors to consider. Today we will focus on the overall fit.

Regardless of what type of shoes you are purchasing, try on shoes and have your feet measured in the afternoon as it is common to have mild foot swelling throughout the course of the day. Additionally, if you exercise, your feet may swell as much as a full size during your workout. Your exercise shoes may need to be a size larger than your everyday shoes.

The podiatrists at Kansas City Foot Specialists can help you to determine your shoe size by properly measuring your feet. When having your feet measured, either by one of our podiatrists or at a store, always have your feet measured while standing, and measure both feet. Also, measure both length and width.

After your feet have been measured, and you’ve selected several pairs of shoes to try on, be prepared to try on both shoes of each pair. It is normal for one foot to be slightly larger than the other, but both shoes in a pair should be comfortable. If the shoes are held together by tags or they have an anti-theft device that impedes good fit, ask the associate to remove these items while you try the shoes on.

There are a few key elements to pay attention to when trying on shoes:

Toes — There should be about a half inch between the big toe and the end of the shoe. You should also have room to wiggle your toes a bit up and down. If the shoes you try on restrict your ability to wiggle your toes, the toe box may be too tight. On the other hand, if your toes can freely move, the toe box may be too large. Both situations can cause foot complications.

Heels — Your shoes should fit snuggly around the heel. If you take several steps and find your heel slipping in the shoe, either up and down or from side to side, choose a different shoe. The heel fit should be snug, holding your heel in place but without pinching. The stability of your heel within the shoe helps keep your entire foot stable and thus help you keep a steady gait.

Width — The width of the shoes should cradle your feet snugly so that they don’t slip side to side or forward.

Always take time to walk around in the shoes for several minutes. If they fit properly, they should be comfortable right away and throughout your trying-on period. If you use orthotics or any special device that fits inside the shoe, be sure that you are trying on shoes with removable inserts. While trying on the shoes, replace the removable inserts with your orthotics or other custom devices. A shoe may feel like a good fit straight out of the box, but if it doesn’t have room for both your foot and orthotics or devices, then it isn’t the right shoe for you.

For help with any foot injuries or ailments, contact Kansas City Foot Specialists at 913-338-4440.