By Kelsey McCloskey-Huckin
With the abundance of footwear brands and styles available on the market, it can be overwhelming trying to pick a shoe that is going to be comfortable enough to last the distance! Often, we compromise on comfort in order to have the most stylish shoe available, however this can sometimes lead to issues such as blisters or corns (which are extremely annoying and often very painful!).
We have come up with a list of the 4 most desirable features of footwear that may help you decide whether that ‘dream shoe’ will actually be just a dream.
1. Does Size Matter?
This seems pretty straightforward, however it is very common for patients to present to podiatry clinics or even to footwear stores wearing the wrong size. Each shoe brand is different, therefore it is important to remember that just because you are a size 8 in your runners, you may not be that size in other shoes. It is also important to note that our feet do in fact change size, even after we have reached full physical maturity! As we age, the soft tissue structures within our feet do tend to weaken and become less taut, as is normal in many other parts of the body. As a result, our feet can actually lengthen due to the laxity of these structures, thus requiring a larger shoe size. In closed toed shoes, it is important to have at least 1-1.5cm of room in your shoe.
2. To Lace or Not to Lace
A question that we often ask our patients in the warmer months when they present with foot pain is ‘What shoes have you been wearing lately?’. The most common answer? Thongs or slip on sandals. In the summer months, we all love the convenience of either thongs or sandals to allow our feet to breathe. Whilst we may get a feeling of relief from the heat, thongs in particular do not support our feet well at all. When we wear shoes without adequate fixation such as laces or velcro/buckle straps, we place an increased demand on our feet by simply walking in these shoes. Slip on thongs and sandals require our toes to claw in order to avoid losing our shoes, which then puts increase stress on many other structures in the feet.
3. Stability is Key
The heel counter is at the back of the shoe that helps to keep our feet properly placed in the shoe. This should be relatively firm and not compress much in order to keep your calcaneus (heel bone) in place in order to help keep the foot in good alignment and avoid sliding forward. People sometimes complain that a tough heel counter can result in dreaded blisters, however there are some quick fixes for that! Try applying sports tape to you feet on areas where you feel pressure, or alternatively head to a chemist to purchase some moleskin/fleecy web or pressure point adhesive foam. These can be applied to the inside heel section of the shoe to prevent rubbing, whilst also maintaining that supportive heel counter.
4. Shoes Shouldn’t Sweep You Off Your Feet…
Slipping and tripping isn’t fun, unless you’re watching funny videos on youtube of other people falling over! To avoid this being you, ensure that you check the tread on the sole of your shoes to make sure that you are provided with enough traction to remain firmly on your feet. This is often overlooked, particularly when purchasing that dream pair of high heels, however it is a integral part of a good shoe.
If you are experiencing discomfort or foot pain, the team at Watsonia Podiatry can assess and advise of any treatments that may help you overcome this. You can book an appointment with one of our qualified podiatrists by booking online or calling us on 03 9111 7047.