Shoe Shopping Tips

Mar 10th, 2010 by Amanda Strouse | 1 Comment So Far


You need to go shoe shopping!

What emotions do you relate with that statement? Fun, tiring, stressful, exciting, time-consuming, expensive?

shoppingAt, we know that finding the perfect pair of shoes isn’t easy. That’s why we have knowledgeable customer service representatives available to talk to you on the phone and aid you in your shoe search.


We’ve noticed that the majority of shoe shoppers don’t know how to correctly pick out the best pair of shoes for themselves. Shoe shoppers are usually under-educated in proper shoe fitting – at no fault of their own – and that can jeopardize their foot health. Below is a detailed list (in no particular order) of information you should be aware of while you’re trying on shoes to make sure you get the best shoe for your buck.

  • Ideally, you should have your feet measured at least once a year or if you have a significant weight gain or loss.
  • Feet should be measured standing on a Brannock device and always have both feet measured. A really skilled practitioner will measure both feet standing and sitting.
  • Even though you may measure a size 8, it does not mean that you will wear a size 8 in every shoe from every company. Each shoe company develops their own lasts (the leather upper built onto the sole that changes how the shoe fits.)
  • Always fit the pair of shoes to your larger foot. For most people, their larger foot is the opposite from the hand they write with.
  • Don’t buy shoes that are too tight. If you’re at the point where you’re praying they will stretch to be comfortable, they probably won’t. It’s true that soft leather and suede give slightly, molding to your foot, but they will not dramatically increase in width or length. There’s a difference between a “snug” comfortable fit and a “tight” uncomfortable fit. A few laps around a carpet should help you decide how you feel.
  • If you have a wide foot, it is recommended that you wear a wide shoe and not just purchase your shoe a size larger and hope it fits. You will be so much happier in a shoe that fits correctly.
  • Stand up with your shoes on. Walk around a bit. You should be able to wiggle your toes in the front of the shoe. For most footwear, your toes will be able to touch the top of the shoe, but there should be 3/8″ to 1/2″ of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
  • The best time to try on shoes is usually at the end of the day, when your feet are most swollen to make sure the footwear will fit your feet when they’re at their widest.
  • Make sure you’re wearing the socks you’d wear with that particular shoe.
  • Good shoes rarely have decent arch supports as they expect that you have a custom orthotic. The inlays in most shoes are comfort inlays- essentially just foam- unless they are in athletic shoes.
  • Get athletic shoes ½ to a full size larger than you would typically buy, because when you run, your foot moves forward about 1/3 of an inch, which is a ½ size in length.
  • Dress shoes will not fit like athletic shoes, so don’t expect to buy both dress shoes and athletic shoes in the same sizes
  • In general, slippers should be sized to be a bit looser, unless you need tighter and more stable slippers for a certain condition.
  • Shoes that are too short may cause black toenails and blisters.
  • Shoes that are too long can make you trip.
  • Shoes that are too narrow may cause callouses and corns.
  • Shoes that are too wide can create blisters.
  • Orthopedically, shoes with heels over 2 inches put an unrealistic load on the forefoot.
  • Velcro is great for arthritic people with limited movement or back stiffness.
  • Our specialist advocates wearing shoes with laces instead of Velcro, unless there are upper body limitations. Lacing offers more control and a more secure fit, compared to Velcro closures.
  • Leather uppers are preferred as they are breathable as well as protective.
  • Even though there are about 20 separate parts to an average shoe, they are mass-produced. It’s up to you to customize the fit – a heel pad, arch support, etc.
  • Make sure the shoe fits the intention and the season.
  • Know the life span of the shoe – in general, if you wear a shoe everyday, it will last around 9-12 months. The more shoes you have and wear in rotation, the longer the life spans.
  • Use a shoe horn to prolong the heel counter. Once that gets trampled down, the shoe no longer has the stability and/or correction that it once had.
  • Protect and clean the leathers to enhance their lifespan.
  • The more eyelets the shoe has, the more adjustability and control.
  • Goat, calf, cow, deer and kangaroo are all highly prized uppers. Cow is the strongest, kangaroo the softest but least durable.
  • If you have a foot condition: When you get new shoes or orthotics that you are  not used to wearing, you should wear them at one or two hour intervals for the first couple of days. Increase the amount of hours you wear them by one or two each day to get adjusted to the strapping or different lacings.  This will decrease the chances of creating blisters or corns, assuming you bought the right size shoe.

One Comment on “Shoe Shopping Tips”

  1. Barbee said:

    I’m pretty sure that’s one of the most informative articles I’ve ever read!!! You should think about putting it out on that new thingy…twitter??