As shoes are the only item of clothing that can seriously impact your health, it is important to get well fitting shoes that will provide you with the necessary support and cushioning.
An interesting exercise is to stand on a piece of paper and ask someone to draw around both feet. Cut them out and compare the two. Obviously, feet are 3D structures, but your outlines can show you the differences in length and width. It is also interesting to hold your foot template against the soles of your shoes, or to try inserting them into your shoes. Does your little toe overhang? Does the outline of your shoe match your foot shape? It’s surprising how many shoes aren’t foot shaped, or not YOUR foot shape, anyway.
Most people have an idea of what their shoe size is, but did you know, there is no standardisation of shoe sizes in the UK? Foot measuring gauges vary between makes and manufacturers, and the fit of a shoe will depend on the materials used, the lasts used, heel height, etc. Coupled with the fact that no pair of feet are an exact match, sometimes varying in as much as 2 sizes between left and right, then the whole shoe-buying business is a minefield!
It goes without saying, that shoes should always be tried on before buying, but a few steps taken around a shop floor can be misleading. Unfortunately, no shops seem keen to let you test drive your new shoes for any reasonable distance away from the shop (!) so always ask the advice of the shop assistant, who will hopefully have had training in fitting shoes. As well as the obvious pinching, it also good to check for gaping, or creasing across the upper when the toes are bent. Just as you ask children when buying their new shoes, do your toes have room to wiggle? Is the toe box deep enough?
The Society of Shoe Fitters aims to raise standards in shoe fitting and runs training courses to that end. To find a shoe shop that has fitters that are members of the Society, having passed their stringent entrance criteria, they have an online directory. You will find Lisa from ShoeMed on the register.. If you missed her article , see it here.