image of woman and fashion sneakers

5 Tips for Finding the Right Shoes for Your Feet

Why is good shoe fit important?

We count on our feet all day long and they take a beating, so having shoes that fit right is a must. The right shoes can help keep us active by providing comfort and support. Good shoes also protect our feet and act as shock absorbers. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to a host of foot problems, including bunions, corns and calluses.

Many people don’t realize the impact of poorly-fitted shoes. When shoes don’t fit right, it doesn’t just lead to problems for our feet, but also our ankles, knees, lower legs, hips, and spine. Ignoring the problem can lead to even bigger issues in the future, making it difficult to enjoy everyday activities later in life.

A lot of people suffer from foot and toe-related discomfort. Luckily, many of these shoe related problems can be prevented by choosing shoes that fit your foot and body structure, as well as your lifestyle.

How can I find the right shoes?

Since there are many different types of foot shapes and sizes, it’s important to keep in mind that shoes that are right for one person, may not be right for you. Style often influences our shoe-buying decisions, but it shouldn’t be the only factor.

Here are 5 tips for finding shoes with the right fit:

1.) Purchase shoes near the end of the day:
You might not realize that your feet tend to swell during the day so you want to make sure your shoes are still comfortable when nighttime rolls around. Try on shoes at the end of a long day to ensure that they will provide a comfortable fit all day.

image of man taking new sneakers outside of box

2.) Buy shoes based on fit, not size:
You might think you know what size shoe you wear, but sizes can vary between brands and styles, so focus on fit. Shoes should feel snug but not tight. A bigger size may allow more space and comfort in the toe box area but if it’s too big, you might experience friction from your foot sliding around in the shoe. That friction can lead to calluses and blisters.

image of close up shot of woman's feet next to dress shoes

3.) Choose a square or round toe box:
Pointed shoes may look pretty but they can crowd your toes. A square or round toe box allows for more space in the toe area and can prevent toe compression.

image of fashion sneakers
image of red X over women's feet in flats

4.) Avoid excessively high heels:
If your feet hurt after wearing high heels, it’s usually due to excess pressure on the balls of the feet. It’s best to choose shoes with a heel under 2 inches high. Heels should feel secure on your foot and they shouldn’t compress your toes.

image of woman wearing pink pumps

5.) Make sure there is ½ inch of space between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe:
Shoes that are too tight in the toe area can be uncomfortable and lead to various foot conditions like hammer toe. On the other hand, shoes that are too long can cause the foot to slide. Make sure that you have enough space for comfort but not so much that your foot slides around in the shoe. Don’t be afraid to take those shoes for a test drive. Walk around the store, moving in different directions to really get a feel for how the shoes fit.

image of someone bending down tying shoes
Frequently Asked Questions
How to choose the right shoes for your feet

It’s not always easy to find the right shoes for your feet but the following tips can help:

·       Go shoe shopping late in the day when feet tend to be a bit swollen. This can help you avoid purchasing shoes that are too small or too tight.
·       Ask to have your feet measured at the shoe store. Your feet should be measured for length, width and arch length. Make sure that you’re standing in order to get the most accurate measurement. Get your feet measured yearly because feet often change over time. You may find that with age, your feet are longer or wider than they were when you were younger.
·       Choose a shoe size based on your larger foot. Most people have one foot that’s larger than the other although there’s normally not a big difference in size between the two feet. 
·       Choose shoes with good cushioning and arch support to protect your feet and lower body against stressful impact.
·       Make sure the shoes feel comfortable from the moment you put them on. Walk around the store to get a better feel. The shoes should fit well without feeling tight. They should also have ample room in the toe box and there should be about ½ inch of space between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. If you have bunions, it’s especially important to choose shoes with a wide toe box to avoid pressure and friction. 

How to choose the right shoes for your feet online

Shopping for shoes online can be difficult because you can’t try them on before you buy them. Consider these tips for choosing the right shoes for your feet online:

·       Shop at a shoe store that has a return policy so that you can try the shoes and return them if they don’t work for you. Some businesses even offer free return shipping.
·       Try to choose a shoe from a brand you’re familiar with. Online shoe shopping is far less risky with a brand you’ve tried before. If you have a pair of shoes that you love, odds are you’ll love another pair from the same brand.
·       Research the sizing information for the manufacturer. Sizes can vary greatly from brand to brand. Find out all you can about how the shoe brand determines their sizes. Measure your own feet while you’re in a standing position. You should measure for length, width and arch length in order to determine your shoe size.
·       Research details about the brand of shoe you’re interested in to better understand if the brand caters to a particular type of foot. For example, some brands are ideal for wider feet while others are more appropriate for narrow feet. Consider reading reviews from customers to get an idea of shoe quality, performance, style and comfort.

How to choose the right running shoe for your feet

Choosing the right running shoes for your feet is important for comfort, performance and injury prevention. In order to pick the right running shoe for your feet, consider these tips:

·       Shop at a store that specializes in running shoes and attire. In general, these types of specialized stores have employees who can offer good advice and suggest the best options for you. 
·       Opt for a gait analysis if it’s offered at the store. A gait analysis assesses how you move when you run. This can help determine which type of running shoe is best for you.
·       Shop for running shoes late in the day when your feet are a bit swollen. Because running causes the feet to swell, you want to make sure that your running shoes have adequate room.
·       Choose running shoes that feel comfortable from the start. While running shoes may require a little bit of a break-in period before running long distances, they shouldn’t feel tight or stiff, even in the beginning.
·       Opt for a shoe with a wide toe box to prevent toe cramping. Your toes should have plenty of room to spread out and there should be about a ½ inch of room between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
·       Make sure the store has a treadmill so that you can do a test run before you purchase a pair of shoes. You should be able to run comfortably with ease in the running shoes. The running action should feel natural and the shoes should enhance your running experience.
·       Ask about the return policy. Some running shoe stores allow you to run outside in your purchased shoes and then return them if they don’t work for you.