Jeff Grimshaw, Canadian certified pedorthist and president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada, shares his advice for choosing shoes that are good for your feet from the comfort of your home:
Match foot and shoe shape
For a shoe to fit properly, the shape of the shoe must match the shape of your foot. If your foot looks wide and square then your shoe should mirror it. Ignoring this important step fit may cause discomfort, pain and accelerated shoe wear. Be sure to check out all angles of the product photographs, especially the sole, which is a good way to check the shape.
Most people have one foot larger than the other, either in length or width. Always buy shoes to fit your bigger foot. To help with sizing, read customer reviews to find out whether a style runs big, small or true to size.
Check your size
The size and shape of your feet can change throughout your life, from a variety of factors including aging, pregnancy or weight gain. Many retailers have sizing guides on their websites, which match up your measurements to their products. Be sure to check it out and take time to measure your feet before you buy.
Don’t use hand-me-downs
While it may be tempting to opt for hand-me-downs or vintage shoes online, the wear patterns created by the previous owners will not provide the best support for your feet. It’s always best to buy new.
Functional vs. fun
Grimshaw advocates the 80/20 rule. Choose stable, comfortable shoes for most of your daily activities for optimal foot health. To minimize the risk of injury, always wear activity-appropriate footwear and limit wearing flip flops, high heels or other less supportive shoes to less than 20 per cent of the time.
Test upon arrival
Most retailers are offering generous return policies right now. When your package arrives, try your new shoes on later in the day when your feet have expanded and are at their largest. Also, keep them on for a bit and walk around your home to make sure they’re comfortable.
Quick fit test
An easy way to check if a shoe’s size and shape are a fit is to remove the insoles from the shoe. Step down on the insole with each foot and look to see if your foot protrudes over the edges. If it does, then you know the shoe is not the right fit for your foot.
If you have footwear questions but aren’t ready to shop in person yet, call or email your local Canadian certified pedorthist and ask what shoes in their online store are best suited for your needs. Online shopping can be beneficial in many scenarios, but hard-to-fit feet and some foot conditions may require a more thorough in-person fitting.
More information can be found at pedorthic.ca/footwearselection.