Stepping into Comfort: the Importance of Good Fitting Footwear

By Jack Eastwood

In our fast-paced lives, the importance of choosing the right footwear often goes overlooked and regarded as not important. However, the impact of ill-fitting footwear can have varying effects on overall health and wellbeing. As a podiatrist, I often find myself emphasizing the crucial role that good fitting footwear plays in maintaining not just foot health, but your oveall well-being. Your choice of shoes can significantly impact your comfort, posture and even your mood. This blog post explores the significance of good fitting footwear and offers guidance on making choices that ensure your feet are well-supported. Whilst these key features are important, remember to always try shoes out before purchasing.

Feet are the Foundation of Foot Health

Our feet are remarkable structures, each containing 26 bones, 33 joints and a network of muscles, tendons and ligaments. They bear the weight of our entire body and provide the necessary support for our daily activities. Wearing ill-fitting shoes can disrupt foot function and structure, leading to a myriad of problems such as foot pain, bunions, corns, calluses and even back pain.

The Importance of Good Fitting Footwear

1. Proper alignment:

Good fitting shoes help maintain proper alignment of your foot joints, ankles and knees.This alignment is essential for distributing your body weight evenly and preventing excessive pressure on specific areas, reducing the risk of musculoskeletal issues.

2. Comfort and stability

Comfort is key when it comes to footwear. Well-fitted shoes provide stability, reducing the risk of slips, trips and falls. Uncomfortable shoes may make you walk differently, putting strain on other areas of the feet and legs. A comfortable pair of shoes can make a significant difference in your daily activities and overall mood.

3. Prevention of Foot Problems

Investing in shoes that fit well can prevent a variety of foot problems. Blisters, corns and calluses often result from friction and pressure caused by poorly fitting shoes Excessive heel height can overload the forefoot and cause foot strain. By choosing the right footwear, you can minimise the risk of developing these painful issues.

Features of Good Fitting Footwear

1) Correct sizing

Always find the correct size for your feet. Your shoe size can change over time, so it is crucial to have your feet measured regularly. Remember, too, that sizes can vary between different brands. Take advantage of tightening or loosening the fastening of your shoes to cater for your foot shape.

2) Toe Room

There should be enough room for your toes to wiggle comfortably. A tight toe box can lead to issues like ingrowing toenails and bunions. A shallow toe box can cause blisters or corns on the top of your toes.

3) Arch support

Shoes with an adequate arch support will maintain the natural curve of your foot. This can be handy to evenly distribute weight and prevent over-stretching injuries (such as plantar fasciitis) and maintaining proper foot biomechanics.

4) Heel support

The heel of the shoe should provide stable support and fit snuggly without slipping. This maintains balance and prevents issues such as Achilles Tendonitis.

5) Cushioning

Having a good amount of cushioning will reduce the stress on the joints of the feet and preventing injury.

6) Breathability

It is typically good to have a breathable shoe to allow moisture to escape and not build up inside the shoe.

Activity Specific Shoes

When ensuring you are choosing the right shoes for the right activity, there a few more things to consider:

1) Athletic shoes

Always choose footwear based on your activity (for instance running shoes for running and more structured shoes for cross training).

2) Work shoes

Although these may have to be smarter than your casual shoes, they should have a good cushioned sole if you are spending a lot of time on your feet. Also be aware of the impact of heel height. If you have a long commute and yet need to wear a dress shoe in the office, consider wearing trainers for your commute.

Investing in healthy and correct footwear is an investment in your health and prioritising comfort, support, and functionality will keep your feet fit. Whether you are walking, running or just going about your daily activities, choosing the right shoes can make a world of difference. When purchasing new shoes, it is always a good idea to try them on first as to make sure they fit the shape of your foot. Not every foot is the same shape!

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Royal College of Podiatry HCPC registered Podiatrist