I have very wide feet and not much ankle. And I love them, beacuse they’re probably the best feet to tread jungles and swamps. But I wish someone had told my mom about real shoe sizes. I always wore very narrow shoes, and now my pinky toes are weirdly squished. My friend Lilly from Shoestracker is a shoe fanatic, and she gave me some simple guidelines to find the right footwear. So I asked here to share them with you! Go for it, Lilly:
Shoes! Shoes! Shoes! A lot of us are obsessed. I know I am.
Shoe shopping, however, calls for more than fashion and preference as a wrong pair of shoes could cause foot problems such as calluses, corns, fungi infections, sprains, toe malformation (that’s you, Olivia!) and arthritis. Moreover, the wrong kind of shoes could also cause either minor or serious accidents through falling, slipping or tripping.
So Are Shoes Bad for Your Feet?
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Not necessarily, though I have a barefoot friend who swears he will never wear shoes again. I believe that if you take into account what your feet do all day, and choose the right protection for them, your feet will be fine.
I created a simple guide for you in buying shoes so as to avoid the above case scenarios; but first, you need to understand that the shoes we mostly wear can be categorized into two groups: work shoes and sports shoes. Each of these categories has its own recommendations.
Let’s have a look at them:
How to Choose Work Shoes
These can be defined as the shoes we wear on a day to day basis, considering your work shoes are what you wear most of your time. What to look for:
- Around chemicals, choose rubber, plastic or vinyl made footwear preferably with a synthetic stitching.
- In a cold environment, water-resistant shoes are appropriate if possible, those with oil and moisture proof insulation. Insulated socks will do you well too.
- In the sanitary department say a janitor, protective rubber overshoes and plastic booties meaning shoe covers are the way to go.
- When working in exceedingly high temperatures and open flames, boots with a wooden sole or fire-resistant overshoes are highly protective footwear.
- If your workplace has slippery floors and you’re at risk of sliding or skidding, buy shoes with neoprene soles or non-slip rubber. You could also use non-skid shoe covers.
- When working with sharp objects such as glass, for you to avoid getting cut or making holes in your shoes, wear shin guards and shoes that are puncture resistant and have a boosted sole.
- If you’re working with electricity, any shoe with metallic features is a terrible idea as you can easily get electrocuted. Instead, opt for those with rubber soles and heels.
- Do you work with materials that can easily spark and cause explosions or fires? If yes, ensure to wear nonmetallic, non-sparking made shoes.
- Or are you working with static electricity that just as easily can cause fires? If so, spend on conductive footwear, as they discharge the static electricity from your body to grounded floors.
Which Sport Shoes Are Best?
In this category, we have all the types of sports footwear people wear while engaging in competitive, recreational or exercising physical activities, what we commonly refer to as sports and athletics. All the involved activities such as running, ball games, treadmill exercises et cetera, require different types of shoes based on various factors including:
- Type of Feet
- Foot Support
- Type of Exercise
- The kind of surface you’ll be exercising on
- Gait patterns
- Your weight
- Physical disabilities
To have a more accurate grasp on the subject, let’s divide the various activities into specific classes and tackle each on its own as follows:
These are further divided into three categories:
A quality running shoe is flexible, enabling your foot to bend at the ball; cushioned to minimize impact from the continuous footfalls; and a moderately firm middle. If financially able, get your pair at a specialty store as they provide you gait analysis and analyze your feet ensuring you leave with the right shoes. If you shop elsewhere, make sure to try out a number of pairs because if you end up with a pair that’s too tight you will undoubtedly get blisters, corns or other foot injuries.
Chose a shock-absorbing; lightweight pair with side to side stability; smooth pace; and a rocker sole pattern that gives a natural feel as you walk. You can use them to jog too.
They should be lightweight to hinder foot fatigue, well cushioned to stand impact, and have a side to side firmness, for example, the cross-trainers. You can walk in them but it is not advisable to wear them for running. If lifting weights, go for shoes with flat and firm soles.
These are shoes worn to play court games such as basketball, netball, tennis, volleyball. These games require shoes with a firm sole, easy mobility, ankle and sideways support.
These are for games such as football and baseball. The shoes should have spikes, cleats or studs. They offer grip for impromptu changes in movement and differ depending on the sport. You should not feel any strain on your feet after a game.
Unlike the running shoes, you need shoes that are rigid; stiff this basically provides the support your feet need to avoid a hamstring. If you do not use toe clips and have no foot problem, cross-trainers are a fit choice.
Ninja tip: Instant protection with insoles
Picking a healthy shoe is the best thing, but if you are set on wearing a pair that are not perfect for your feet, there’s a trick: Shoes Insoles. These soles fit more naturally to the shape of your feet. For instance, they add an arch if necessary.
You can use the support insoles for sport shoes as well as work shoes. And, if they’re not too big, for those party heels 😉
Sof Soles Athletic Insoles
These keep your feet cushioned with gel pads, and are especially helpful if you have flat feet or suffer from heel pain, which you can get when you stand a lot (Plantar Fasciitis). You can order your Sof Soles on Amazon.
Some Extra Tips When Buying Shoes
Other than the mentioned, these are extra details you could check as you go shoe hunting:
- Carry a tracing of your foot and use it as a measure. Shoes narrower or shorter than the tracing shouldn’t be considered.
- Your feet tend to swell and flatten during the course of the day thus expanding, so shop preferably in the afternoon.
- Don’t only try out for a fit, walk around to ensure your toes have enough room and you feel no strain from the word go.
- Take with you the socks you are planning to wear with the new shoes.
- Inspect the shoe for anything that makes your skin irritable.
- If you are a female with a big shoe size, consider buying male shoes.
I hope I was able to help you find shoes that will keep your feet and joints healthy! If you know someone who could benefit from my guide, don’t hesitate to share it with them 🙂
Lilly is the chief editor of ShoesTracker.com, a place where she shares the journey of regaining her foot health after exercise injuries in 2015. She lives in San Diego, besides writing Lilly loves to read, run, and go to yoga classes. Follow her Twitter @lillyderrah to find more about Lilly and her work.