11 February 2009

Finding the shoe that fits

"If the shoe fits, wear it", the saying goes. But how should you go about finding this magical object that is just right for your foot? Most women know this is not at all easy.

"If the shoe fits, wear it", the saying goes. But how should you go about finding this magical object that is just right for your foot?

Women are four times more likely to suffer from foot problems than men - often a result of wearing high heels or ill-fitting shoes.

Prevention of foot problems is definitely better than cure. It is worth your while to consider the factors relevant to your foot type in order to minimalise risk of damage to your feet. So when you are out shopping for what are the things you should look out for?

  1. Match the shape of your shoe to the shape of your foot, not vice versa.
  2. Your feet may be different sizes. Buy shoes for the larger one.
  3. Select shoes for your specific foot type

Different foot types

Low arch or flat feet. These require support in the arch as well as weight redistribution to prevent the arch from collapsing. This can result in stress and overpronation (rolling inwards). Select low, firm heels and a rigid shank for support and stability. In extreme cases, see a podiatrist for corrective orthotics.

Medium arch.This is the most bio-mechanically efficient foot, but it is still prone to problems from poor fit or repetitive stress injuries. Choose shoes with luxurious in-sole padding and soles that offer shock absorption and cushioning.

High arch.These rigid or semi-rigid feet often absorb shock disproportionately in the heel or ball of the foot, leading to problems in the knees, hips or lower back. Avoid very high heels, which shift your balance further forward adding more pressure onto the ball of your foot and toes. Opt for styles that follow the natural curve of the arch and have cushioning underfoot.

Broad/Wide feet. Accommodate the width of your foot by buying a larger size than your actual foot measurement. Adjustable straps and elastics will help improve fit too.

Narrow feet. Be careful not to buy shoes that are too small. A full upper shoe will emphasise the narrowness of your foot, so opt for a strappy or pieced upper. Keep wayward toes in check by paying special attention to the placement of straps near the toes.

(Information from Froggie shoes)

South African Podiatry Association (SAPA)


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