Shoe-Buying Tips

Shoe-Buying Tips

When shopping for shoes, your ultimate aim is to ensure that your feet have fewer pains and problems. Yes, style and trendy are good for the brain, but comfort and fitting are good for the feet. You can avoid many foot ailments by selecting appropriate, high quality, and well-fitting shoes.


To assist you, below are some helpful hints:


General Tips

  • Purchase shoes at the END OF THE DAY (when your feet are larger) to be certain they won’t be too tight.
  • If you can’t wiggle your toes, the shoes are too small. Round or squared-toed shoes have the most room, while narrow or pointed-toed shoes have the least and can aggravate conditions such as bunions and hammertoes.
  • MEASURE BOTH FEET. One usually is larger and the shoe should fit comfortably on that foot.
  • Try on shoes with socks, hose, or any special insert you normally wear.
  • As you get OLDER, your foot size generally gets LARGER
  • Shoes should fit your ankles as well as your toes.
  • Don’t force your feet into a pair of shoes in order to conform to the shape of the shoe.
  • Sizes vary among shoe brands and styles. Decide on a shoe by how it fits on your foot, not by the marked size.
  • Walk around the store in the shoes before purchasing. They should feel comfortable. Do not expect shoes to stretch to fit your foot. Shoes do not have a ‘break in’ period.
  • Footwear with adequate cushioning or shock absorption, such as athletic shoes, absorb more stress and protect your feet. This is important to mitigate and prevent heel pain.
  • Shoes should have good arch support. Those that bend in the mid-sole area can lead to plantar fasciitis or arch pain.

Poorly fitting footwear can aggravate hammertoes, bunions, heel pain, and flat feet.

Custom inserts or orthotics aid in the treatment of certain deformities and help relieve pain.


Athletic Footwear

Sports shoes should hold your foot in the position that’s most natural to the movement involved. Differences in design and variations in material, weight, lacing characteristics, and other factors among athletic shoes are meant to protect the areas of the feet that encounter the most stress.


Your athletic shoes need to be comfortable, well-constructed and appropriate for a given activity (running, walking, tennis, soccer, etc.) Remember, a properly fitting shoe mitigates blisters and other irritations.


If you are a serious athlete or are training for a specific goal (marathon, sports competition or more) sport-specific athletic shoes are a good investment. However, if you do not need a shoe for a specific sport, you should purchase a general athletic shoe.


With most sports shoes you will realize when they have finished their ‘useful lifetime.’ You will feel a change in your foot – so to mitigate unnecessary pains, please consulting with us.


Men’s Shoes

Most men’s shoes that we would recommend are conforming to the shape of the feet and have a roomy toe box with sufficient horizontal and vertical space and a low heel (usually about half an inch high). Both hard and soft shoe soles can be worn, but softer soles tend to be more comfortable. If you stand for extended periods of time, shoes with soft, pliable and cushioned soles will protect your feet and help keep you comfortable.


Standard shoes for men are good quality oxford styles and wing-tip or cap toe design shoes. Also suitable are slip-on, dressy loafers, and low dress boots.


Women’s Shoes

Women have to be especially careful in choosing shoes. The best shoe for women’s feet is a walking shoe with laces (not a slip-on), a composition sole, and a relatively wider heel with a rigid and padded heel counter, no more than three-quarters of an inch in height. 


High-heeled shoes often create or exacerbate foot problems, so if you are required to wear high-heels you need to find the best method to keep your feet as pain-free as possible. Try to limit the amount of time you wear them and alternate with good quality sneakers or flats for part of the day.  Low-heeled shoes (one inch or lower) with a wide toe box are ideal for women. Find comfortable and attractive walking pumps with both fashion appeal and athletic shoe-derived construction, reinforced heels, and wider toe room for greater comfort.  An ample toe box is as important as the heel in determining fit.


Don’t inflict punishment on your feet from improper footwear.


The wrong shoes like high-heeled, pointed-toe shoes can cause numerous orthopedic problems, leading to discomfort or injury to the toes, ankles, knees, calves, and back. Not only do many high-heeled-shoes have a pointed, narrow toe box that crowds the toes and forces them into an unnatural triangular shape, they also distribute the body’s weight unevenly, placing excess stress on the ball of the foot and on the forefoot. Thus most high heeled shoes can lead to discomfort, bunions, hammertoes, and other deformities.


If you have any questions, please consult our office. We will be happy to be your shoe analyst.



About: Dr. Shuman provides podiatry services from our offices in Sterling, Va.  Shuman Podiatry offers custom orthotics, diabetic foot care, heel pain and spurs, wart removal and more.  Contact Dr. Shuman today for all your foot care needs.