If the Shoe Fits …

Kathleen Ismael

Kathleen Ismael, Reflexology Practitioner, IronOaks Fitness Club

There is nothing more important than a firm foundation—houses, floors, patios, gardens, faith, and feet!

How we step out every day makes a big difference in how we feel and in the wellness of our feet, knees, and posture! Footwear plays a large role in the development of foot, toe, and overall health. Problems such as bunions, calluses, corns, and toe disorders can challenge our health. Shoes that don’t fit properly can cause problems or make conditions worse and more painful. Plantar fasciitis can be lengthy and painful.

It is most important to choose a shoe that is a good fit for the shape and size of the foot. If there is no cushion on the sole of the shoe, walking can cause pain and damage to the bottom of the foot and arch, as well as needless pressure on the knees.

Here are a few tips for selection of footwear from orthoinfo.org:

When trying on a new shoe, make sure that the toes do not feel pinched or cramped and that none of the toes are cramped over another toe. Each toe needs its space. Think Free Willie!

Buy shoes that feel comfortable right away. The “breaking in” period can be harmful. In time, a shoe may stretch or push out to fit, but this can cause foot pain or even damage to the feet.

Evaluate the shoe for its overall construction. The shoe should bend at the toe box, not the shank (arch). A good, stable shank will provide you with more support. Check to see if the heel counter is shallow, or does it sit higher on the heel, providing more stability for your foot.

Determine if the toe box is appropriate for your feet. Along with the shape of the toe box, notice the depth of the toe box. A square toe box is the most desirable shape to accommodate a wide foot, a round toe box will give the toes room to move, and a pointed toe box is most certainly the least desirable and can even damage the foot.

The goal is to find a shoe that approximates the shape of your foot, rather than for your foot to take the shape of the shoe. The shoe is made for the foot, not the foot for the shoe.

Proper arch support and cushioning are most important for comfort, stability, balance, and posture. A proper insole can make the difference between a good day and a bad day on your feet. Shoes with a removable insole will accommodate your shoe being exactly what you need it to be.

There is a plethora of choices in shoes and insoles, with various degrees of arch support. Take the time to have your feet evaluated by a professional or visit the Dr. Scholl’s counter at your local store to get started.

Be good to your feet! They will thank you for it, and they will serve you well.