Your footwear is one of the most important aspects of good foot care. Getting a professional shoe fitting is one of the best things you can do for your feet. Your shoes take you where you want to go and support your feet with every step you take, so shoe comfort is crucial. If you wear shoes that don’t offer comfort and support you are putting your feet at risk of developing a number of foot conditions from blisters to plantar fasciitis. In our offices, we offer professional shoe fitting services for a variety of styles, including orthopedic shoes.
Anatomy of a Shoe
A shoe is not just a shoe. It is composed up of many parts that fit in a specific way to work together. Since every person’s feet are different, you can’t assume that what fits someone else will fit you. Look at how each part of a shoe fits to make sure it is right for you.
For instance, evaluate the uppers on your shoes. Some people require a deeper toe box with more wiggle room to fit a deformity such as hammertoe. The vamp is the cover over your midfoot held in place with laces or snaps. It should fit snugly, but not too tightly or it can cut off circulation and cause numbness. The counter is the part that holds your heel in place. People who have flat feet should find shoes that have very stiff and sturdy counters.
Now look at the insole—the area where the foot rests. This is the part that should be the most comfortable and cushioned. You can find shoes with removable insoles so you can insert orthotics into this area for even more cushion. Your arches also need support, which is where the shank comes into play. It should be stiff, so as to give the foundation you need.
Shoe Fitting for Children
Children’s feet grow at such a rapid rate that it’s important to know what to look for when it comes to their shoes. For infants all that is really needed is a pair of booties for warmth. Once they begin walking outside it becomes a whole new experience. Finding a place that specializes in growing feet is important.
Children’s feet are usually wide through the arch area because their arches haven’t developed fully yet. Shoe comfort depends on having enough room there. They should also have a big toe box so that their toes are free to wiggle. Since your child’s feet will grow very rapidly you will want to check the fit of their shoes regularly. If it appears that their shoes are getting too tight, you will want to buy a new pair. It may seem like a lot of money for a short time of use, but it is what your child’s feet need.
Tips for Fit
Getting a professional shoe fitting is ideal, but there are some other guidelines that you should follow when buying a pair of shoes. Your feet are at their largest at the end of the day, so that is a good time for a fitting. Generally, one foot is going to be larger than the other so make sure you get both feet fitted.
Many of us base our shoe buying on the size number. Instead, you should base it on the fit and how it feels. Your feet shouldn’t slide around in your shoes when you walk, but there should be a bit of room in the toe box. Never buy shoes that do not immediately feel comfortable. If you think you have to “break in” a new pair of shoes to get the fit you need, you are buying the wrong shoes. Don’t put your feet through torture just to be stylish.
Finding a Professional
For more information on finding shoes that are right for you, call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, at (978) 794-8406 and set up an appointment at one of our three Massachusetts office locations. Not only is Dr. Wachtel a wonderful podiatrist, but he also offers professional shoe fitting at his offices. This is a great opportunity to make sure your feet are getting the fit they need.