How to choose the right shoes according to a Podiatrist

Shopping for shoes is more important than fashion. That said, choosing the right shoe can seem quite confusing. With an overwhelming number of styles, brands and different prices, where do you start?

In addition to helping you feel comfortable and preventing injuries, wearing good shoes can affect your whole body and how you function throughout the day. Here are some tips on what to look for and how to decide:

  • Stiff back / heel counter

Grasp the heel in one hand and the shoe above the heel in the other hand. You should not be able to move the shoe side-to-side around the heel or be able to squash the heel.

  • Small amount of torque

Holding the shoe at both ends, you should barely be able to twist the shoe. This will provide good lateral and medial stability, or a stable platform for your feet.

  • Toe / Forefoot flexion

You want the shoe to flex and roll the way your foot does naturally, to bend where your toes bend. To check, place a hand at either end of the shoe and try to bend it in half. The shoe should only flex where the toes naturally bend, about two-thirds from the back, not in the middle of the shoe.

  • Provide arch support

You podiatrist or an experienced shoe salesman will be able to help you identify the amount of arch support you need based on your foot type. When in doubt, ask your podiatrist.

  • Feel comfortable straight away

It speaks for itself. When first placing a shoe on your foot, it should feel comfortable straight away. You should not need to “wear in” or have to “get used to” your new footwear.

  • Wide and long enough at the toes

Your shoe should not push on your toes or make them curl. They should also not place pressure on your feet from the side, making it feel like your toes are being squashed together.

  • Heel to toe gradient

The optimal elevation or drop in height from the heel to the toe of the shoe should be approximately 10-12mm. This provides the ankle with optimal range to support the foot and lower back.

  • Removable insole

If your podiatrist has recommended that you wear orthotics, it is important to make sure the insole of the shoe can be removed to allow room for the orthotic. If you have your orthotics with you, check that they fit in the shoe without squeezing your toes or causing the shoe to slip off.

When in doubt, ask your podiatrist. We are always here to help diagnose, treat and prevent all kinds of foot injuries and are more than happy to help you find that perfect shoe!