Footwear Advice

Useful tips

  • Try to ensure that your feet are measured when buying new shoes. Over the years your feet will naturally change shape and even size.
  • If you have been given insoles by the podiatrists always try new shoes with the insoles in place.
  • Don’t accept shoes that need “breaking in”. A correctly fitting shoe will feel right from the start.
  • Wear shoes for short periods initially and examine your feet carefully for any rubbing, redness or pressure points.
  • Shoes and slippers should have enough length, width and depth for your feet, particularly in the toe box of the shoes. Shoes need to be held in place by a lace, velcro or buckle fastening.
  • Always ensure that the shoe upper is made of soft material and is free from bulky seams or stitching.
  • Thick cushioning soles are best.
  • Fashion shoes should be kept strictly for special occasions and then only if your feet are not at particular risk.
  • Walking barefoot is hazardous.
  • Do not wear socks with holes or darns. For sensitive feet, wear socks inside out so that seams do not irritate them.
  • Socks that are too small are as harmful as tight shoes!

Choosing footwear

Shoes

(Advice from the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists)

Feet come in all sizes, yet although shoes differ in type and style, how many of us wear the best shoes for our feet?

The 26 bones in each foot do not fully set until we are around 18 years old, and the shoes we wear as children are vital to our future foot health. However, we can still do enormous damage to our adult feet by wearing the wrong shoes.

Badly fitting footwear can be very damaging to feet. In fact, many adults’ foot problems occur because they wear poorly fitting shoes throughout their life. To help prevent damage to your feet, try applying the following rules when you buy shoes. Similar rules will help for buying children’s shoes or shoes for specialist conditions such as diabetes

What should you look for?

HEEL: This takes a large proportion of a person’s weight. Unfortunately, the height of the heel is often determined by fashion, not by the needs of our feet. Ideally, the heel should have a broad base and the heel height should be no greater than 4cm.

HEEL COUNTER: The portion of the shoe that grasps the heel of the foot at the sides and back, preventing the heel from sliding up and down while walking. Most importantly, it stabilises or helps maintain the position of the heel when the shoe contacts the ground. As the heel counter softens or breaks down and loses its shape, the shoe becomes less supportive. Not all shoes have a heel counter. The heel counter should complement the shape of the heel of the foot.

SOLE: The entire bottom of the shoe. It should be flat, except for a gentle slope upwards under the toes.

UPPER: The material that forms the main part of the shoe covering the top of the foot. Ideally, it is composed of a natural material such as leather.

Simple methods of fitting shoes

Determine your foot length from the tip of your longest toe. In many people, this is the second toe, not the big toe! The correct length of a shoe can be determined by standing barefoot on a piece of thin cardboard and marking the place reached by the longest toe. When the cardboard is cut into a thin strip and inserted into a shoe, there should be 1cm between the end of the cardboard and the heel of the shoe. The width of the foot should correspond with the widest part of the foot while standing.

Your shoe width size should match your foot width.

Children’s shoes

Shoe fit can be a problem in children; the shape of the shoe should fit the natural shape of the foot. Your child may be unable to explain that his/her shoes are too tight.

Carefully examine your child`s bare feet for any redness or areas of irritation. If problems are found, check the fit of the child`s footwear. It is possible that the problem may not be associated with footwear, in which case, contact your local registered chiropodist/podiatrist.

A change in the shape of the shoe can help to solve the problem of a child who walks with toes pointing inwards, or outwards. Your chiropodist/podiatrist can advise you whether the shape of the shoes should be changed or special insoles (orthotics) used.