Footwear Selection & Correct Sizing
Finding the right footwear for YOU can be challenging. Specific foot conditions, your gait, and foot type can all be determining factors in the footwear you choose. To make things even harder, there are so many types, brands, and styles out there to choose from, often times people just purchase footwear based on COST and LOOKS. Shoes are our foundation so they are important. Below are some important components in a shoe you should be looking for, as well as some tips for making sure that shoe fits properly.
When looking for footwear, here are just a few important qualities to look for:
- Rigid outsole: The only location of the sole that should bend is at the toe box, or flex point of the shoe. This is where our toes naturally bend as we walk.
- Firm & high heel counter: The heel courter is the back part of the shoe that surrounds your heel and Achilles tendon. This part of the shoe needs to be stiff and come up just below your ankle bones. A stable heel counter promotes ankle stability.
- Adjustable upper: The upper is the top portion of the shoe. You should be able to adjust the fit of the upper around the top of your foot with Traditional Laces, Elastic Laces, Velcro, Straps, etc. Traditional Laces are the most efficient and allow for the most adjustability and the best fit. The better the fit, the better the support
- Width & depth matter: Shoes come in standard, narrow and wide widths. When it comes to width, I'm talking about the width of the forefoot. Shoes also have different depths depending on the type and this is important if you're going to insert orthotics in them or have a condition that requires more room in the shoe.
- Shapes matter: The shape of your foot should match the shape of your shoes. Think how narrow some dress shoes or high heels in the forefoot are compared to the width of your foot.
- Heel to toe drop: The height of the heel is directly proportionate to the pressures exerted on the forefoot when standing or walking. It also affects the tension placed on the Achilles tendon.
Here are some important sizing guidelines to follow to ensure your shoes fit correctly if you're on your own:
- Focus on fit vs. size. Sizing differs from brand to brand as the lasts the shoes are constructed from are proprietary
- Fit your footwear to the largest foot. Most of us have one foot that's bigger than the other
- When trying on shoes, be sure to wear the socks you normally wear as well as your orthotics if applicable
- As a rule of thumb, you should have 3/8"-1/2" from the tip of the longest toe to the end of the shoe
- If you have a wide foot, you should look for a wide shoe. A lot of quality shoes come in differing widths, the most common being:
- Men:, D (Standard), 2E (Wide), & 4E (X-Wide)
- Women: B (Standard), D (Wide), &2E (X-Wide)
- Foot shape and shoe shape should match
- Shoes should fit on day one like they will on day 60.
- A little heel slippage is ok
After you've purchased your new footwear, use them for a day or two inside. Sometimes we don't find out that a shoe isn't right for us until after we get home and if the shoe doesn't show any wear and you keep the box and receipt, you can return/exchange them.
Pro Tip: If you are fitting shoes on your own, simply pull out the factory inlays and place on the floor. Stand on the inlays. If you've got 3/8"-1/2" material from longest toe to end of inlay your length is good. Also check to see if the balls of your feet are splaying over the inlay. If so, you need to go up in width.