When the shoe fits- should you wear it?

You may have read our previous blog about choosing the right running shoes (https://bit.ly/2Ms2EMv), however when it comes to everyday shoes- what shoe is right for you?

The right footwear can help prevent injuries and improve comfort. Choosing a shoe that fits well, suits your activity and is appropriate for your body type, will help protect your feet, knees, hips and spine. If your shoes are too tight, too loose or insufficiently supportive, you’re likely to place stress on your joints and tendons which will contribute to pain and injuries.

It’s good to hear statistics that sales in stilettos are down, and activewear is on the rise. Shoes with flat rubber soles are making a resurgence, however they can have their own share of problems. Without proper support, structure and cushioning you’re still at risk of problems such as shin splints, tendinopathies, plantar fasciitis, corns and bunions, ingrown nails, or postural issues and lower back pain.


Two key elements when choosing the right footwear:

  • Fits well –Shoes should be wide enough and long enough to fit your feet. A good fitting shoe should feel snug and comfortable but not tight. As a guide make sure you have at least 1‒1.5cm at the end of the shoe so your toes aren’t cramped.
  • Supports and cushion the foot– your shoe should aid the alignment of your foot

How to choose the right shoe:

  • Make sure your shoes are not too flimsy. Shoes that lack firm structure (such as ballet flats) won’t adequately support your foot and can lead to soft tissue overuse injuries, heel pain and instability of the foot and ankle. Shoes without adequate midsole and outer-sole will also lack adequate protection and cushioning for your feet.
  • Some people’s arches roll inward too much, or not enough – either of which can impact how effectively your feet absorb shock. This can contribute to additional stress on other joints. Choose footwear with adequate arch support for your foot type.
  • You don’t want to choose shoes that are too rigid either. Shoes that are too stiff will restrict the natural movement of your feet and overload your joints.
  • Shoe should have a slight elevation. Our feet aren’t naturally flat. Good shoes will provide adequate arch support as well as having a slight heel raise to allow a comfortable heel strike. Sometimes putting a soft heel raise within your shoe may give you this extra support but always be guided by your physio or podiatrist
  • Feet may becomes larger/ wider as you age and also post pregnancy. It’s also common for one foot to be slightly bigger than the other, so always try shoes on before you buy.
  • Check that you can wiggle all your toes when wearing the shoes. Remember, you need room for your foot to move within the shoe as you walk or run.
  • Try the shoes wearing the same type of sock that you will wear for the activity.
  • The shoes should be comfortable as soon as you try them on. Don’t rely on ‘breaking them in’.
  • Make sure the shoes grip your heel. Your heel should not slip in the shoes when you move.
  • Think about width as well as length when purchasing footwear.
  • Choose shoes with appropriate grip on the soles
  • When it comes to athletic footwear, choose specific shoes designed for your sport (eg tennis/ golf/ netball…) Each has a different design, material and weight to best protect feet against the stresses of the particular activity.
  • If you’re unwilling to compromise with high heels- choose a wedge over a stiletto heel
  • Even a short duration in the wrong shoes can cause stress and pain to your bones and joints, and the soft tissues that support them. For example, if you regularly stand for long periods of time as part of your job.


If you’re concerned about a particular injury or want to discuss footwear in more detail speak to your physiotherapist or podiatrist.

Other useful links:

For more podiatry info visit www.upandrunningpodiatry.com.au/

We also highly recommend checking out the shoe range at http://www.bared.com.au

  • Sheree

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