True story! My friend was jogging with me and the sole/bottom of her “branded” shoes came off. I scolded her saying why are you wearing your shoes till they disintegrate? Her response: I picked up these shoes online during a sale just a few months ago!

This is just one reason why buying shoes online is wrong. I know many patients, friends and even family who prefer to buy shoes online either because it is convenient or is cheaper or both! It is too easy to pick up shoes online based on your friend’s recommendation or to pick up the same brand/model as your previous shoes; especially since there are such lucrative discounts available online! Let me elaborate why this might be the most dangerous thing you can do for your health.

Shoes should be picked based on Function, Fit and Feel. 

Function means picking your shoes based on your foot/walking/running biomechanics (determined through a gait analysis). Every foot is different. There are several types of feet- you could have a high, medium or a low arch. You could be flat footed. Even flat foot can be classified into several kinds. You could have a rigid, semi-rigid or floppy foot. You could be an over-pronator, neutral type or a supinator. Each of these foot types should be fitted in the right kind of shoe. There is no way that the shoes that are a magical fit for your friend will be right for you too- unless you are twins and don’t know it! Only a well -trained Gait Analyst/Sports Physiotherapist will be able to shed light on this. When you pick up shoes online, you have no idea about how the shoes will fit you functionally and this can lead to injuries. 

Fit depends on the right size, matching the shape of the shoe to the shape of your foot. Is your foot broad or narrow? Is your big toe or your second toe the longest? Buying shoes during the second half of the day is advisable since your feet expand while walking or running and tight shoes are a recipe for disaster. Making sure there is one thumb space in the front of the big toe is crucial. There is no way you can determine these factors online. 

Feel depends on how it feels while you walk/run in them. Can you wiggle your toes comfortably, do they feel heavy or light, while walking does your foot lift up from the back or the heel feels secure? These are the questions you ask yourself when you buy shoes. This is absolutely not possible shopping online.

None of these factors are possible to determine when you pick shoes online. Another big red flag is that very few people realize that shoes have a shelf life of two years. This means that even if the shoe has never been used and has been sitting in a store somewhere- it “expires” after two years. This is the reason why online discounts exist- to get rid of old shoes! This is why my friend’s shoe did not last even for a few months. 

Needless to say, walking or running in shoes that have not been tested for Function, Fit and Feel and are “old” are a recipe for injuries. It’s like setting yourself up for injuries. So my advice is to spend enough time and effort trying out various shoes till you find your solemate!