Footwear Advice – Podiatrist recommendations for finding the right shoes
Our feet bear an enormous burden of daily living as well as carrying the weight of our body. Shoes play a vital role in supporting our feet, as well as in protecting them from external dangers.
At Pod Fit Podiatry we provide consultations for footwear assessments. These assessments involve taking a history of your foot and leg concerns, previous footwear assessments and identifying areas of wear on your shoes. From this point, we provide a gait analysis both in shoes and barefoot, as well as a biomechanical assessment, and provide you with a list of shoe recommendations and retailers that would best suit your situation.
The Perfect Shoe
There is no such thing as the one perfect or best shoe. Feet come in many shapes and sizes, and are involved in many different activities. When buying new shoes, it’s important to ensure:
- They fit properly (we ideally look for a thumb width extra in length and adequate width across the widest part of the foot)
- They are supportive for the kinds of activities you engage in
- They do not cause damage or hurt in any way
The importance of a good fit
Choosing shoes that fit well is an important part of caring for your feet. Finding the right fit may mean you trying a few different styles to accommodate your individual foot shape. Because feet are rarely the same size, it is important that you fit your shoes to your larger foot. Since most shoe manufacturers have their own size range, you should make decisions on what feels right, rather than simply based on the shoe being the “right size”. An experienced footwear sales person can help you with this!
People who have differently shaped feet from an injury or medical condition, such as arthritis or diabetes, may require shoes with extra depth or width. Some people may require orthoses also, however with our new slim devices there is no issue fitting these into shoes.
Shoe buying tips
When buying new shoes, keep in mind the following:
Leather is generally preferred for shoe uppers, however synthetics developed with specific beneficial properties, eg. stretch, may be preferable for some foot deformities and increased comfort. Synthetic or rubber are best for the sole as they are often more durable, shock absorbent and provide better grip. In recent years shoes have become more light-weight, making it easier for wearers with knee, leg and foot injuries to move.
All shoes, especially walking and running shoes, should be secured on the feet with laces, straps or buckles. If your feet have to work to hold your shoes in place, your foot muscles may be strained. Lace-up shoes are ideal because they can be adjusted the most.
Pointy shoes can make your toes “claw” or cause bunions to form. This may lead to pain and affect overall walking biomechanics. Clenched toes can also cause rubbing, leading to corns and calluses. Broad-toed shoes allow the toes more room and can help prevent pressure injuries. There is also the option of getting shoes with arch support, which can help with conditions like plantar fasciitis.
When looking for shoes, keep the following in mind:
- The heel of the shoes is less than 2.5cm (high heels increase pressure on the ball of the foot).
- Your shoes have well-padded soles. A cushioned sole absorbs shock and reduces pressure on the feet.
- Your shoes are made from a material that breathes – fungal infections like tinea love a warm, moist environment. Absorptive socks can also help draw moisture away.
- Your shoes protect you from injury – your feet must be protected from your immediate environment. People with reduced sensation or circulation problems need to be especially careful they do not injure their feet.
- Don’t buy shoes that need breaking in. Shoes should be immediately comfortable.
- Shop for shoes later in the day – most feet tend to swell during the day and it is best to fit shoes when your feet are largest.
If you work in a field that increases the chance of you injuring your feet then safety shoes are vital. Safety shoes and boots protect your feet, help prevent injuries and reduce the severity of injuries that occur in the workplace.
Some tips when looking for safety shoes:
- Your toes should not touch the end of your shoes or you may damage your nails and toes on the steel toe box– you need a gap of about 1cm (a thumb width) from the end of your largest toe to the shoe.
The average running shoe has a lifespan of approximately 700 to 1000km. As a sneaker wears out, the midsole material can become overly flexible. This may mean that rather than flexing at the ball of the foot, the sole may also continue to flex further back in the mid foot, making it difficult for the foot to develop the rigid structure it needs for propulsion.
How quickly a shoe wears out depends on your body weight, what activity the shoe is used for, the surfaces you walk/run on, your physical form and the shoe materials. Signs your shoes need replacing include excessive wearing of the sole, loss of support from the heel counter, or wearing out in the midsole.
Some great stores to buy running shoes from in Adelaide are The Athletes Foot, The Running Company and Joggers World. We highly recommend these places as they will fit your feet to make sure the shoes are right for you!
Podiatrist shoes recommended
- New Balance
Below is a list of other retailers interstate and online that we think provide a great range of quality shoes:
- Active Feet – www.activefeet.com.au
Active Feet is a store staffed by Podiatrists and Podiatry Students. Each customer is provided with a free, detailed gait analysis on a treadmill, to determine the most suitable footwear choice for your foot structure.This choice can also take into consideration any orthotics prescriptions that you have. They stock a range of athletics, purist, walking shoes and cross training shoes.
- Bared Footwear – www.bared.com.au
Great looking women’s dress shoes designed by former Podiatrist Anna Baird (Baird Shoes), meaning they are good for your feet and look pretty!
It can be so difficult finding shoes that are both comfortable and attractive, so if you are struggling to find nice work shoes, this is the place for you.
- Ecco Footwear – www.ecco.com
Large range of Mens dress shoes.
Very good quality leathers and extra cushioning for those who have foot problems.
- Extra Depth Footwear – www.extradepthfootwear.com.au
They provide full foot assessments to determine your individual foot shape, the way you walk, the size of your orthotics and physical structure of your foot, to determine the most appropriate shoe for you.
- The Athlete’s Foot – www.theathletesfoot.com.au
Large range of different brands and shoes, that can be used in a variety of activities, including boots for soccer or football, sandals and other foot care accessories.
- Rosenburg Shoes – www.rosenburgshoes.com.au
- Ziera – www.zierashoes.com
Women’s dress and casual shoes that are made to accommodate your orthotics.
Proper footwear is an investment in your health!