General Tips for Selecting Shoe Gear
Picking a new pair of shoes can feel overwhelming. With a quick glance at social media, you will find ultra rigid shoes, minimalist shoes, or even sandals which all claim to be best for marathon runners. So, what really does work best? See below for our general recommendations.
What Makes a Shoe “Good”?
Good shoes do not have to be expensive, rather, a well-made shoe will have the following 3 important characteristics which make it supportative and allow for control of potentially damaging mechanics:
- When you attempt to fold the shoe in half, along the long axis, a well-made shoe will only bend at the toe-box or forefoot. See Figure 1 for illustration.
- The heel of the shoe should be rigid, which helps to prevent the foot from pronating (arch flattening). A well-made heel will not collapse when squeezed in side-to-side compression. See Figure 2 for detail.
- The arch of the shoe can be assessed with twisting of the shoe as seen in Figure 3. A stable arch will resist twisting, while a poorly made shoe will collapse with this motion.
General Fit Tips
Shoe salespeople can have great insight and experience with shoe fit and characteristics, and should take time and attention to ensure a proper fit for you. When shopping on your own, or looking online, follow these simple tips to help you find an appropriate fit.
- Length – There should be ½ Inch to 5/8 Inch space from the end of the longest toe of the foot to the end of the shoe.
- Width – The sides of the shoe should not bulge due to pressure from the sides of the foot.
- Your feet should not be forced to conform to a shoe, and a shoe will not conform to your foot.
- Try on new shoes at the end of the day, as your feet normally swell and become larger due to standing and walking.
- If you must wear a heel, avoid those higher than 3 inches, and choose a block or wedge type for better stability.
Well made shoes should be an integral part of your daily wear, and should increase, not hinder, your ability to be active. If you have further questions, or wish to discuss your activity and the best shoes for you, make an appointment today at our Albuquerque or Santa Fe offices.
Dr. Paul Whitehouse staffs the Santa Fe office full time.