Article written by Chaitanya Shah, Founder Orthofit & Practicing Podiatrist
WHAT ARE THE RIGHT SHOES?
Everyone has a different ideas and opinion. For most, it’s a matter of style & fashion. However, for a Podiatrist i.e. ‘Foot, Ankle & Biomechanics’ practitioner, there are following main considerations in choosing the right shoes: function, fit, gait, posture & biomechanical alignment.
TO PROTECT FEET
Shoes are a way to keep our feet from being injured or infected.
- Hard soles protect against sharp objects that could cut or that could bruise your feet.
- Ankle high shoes for basketball lend stability to reduce sprains and fractures.
- Steel toe boots protect your toes from heavy objects.
- Flip-flops, even though flimsy help keep bacteria and fungus away in the gym shower.
TO PERFORM ACTIVITIES BETTER
- Walking/Running shoes provide stability and comfort against repeated stress on the feet.
- Football shoes with studs help give you traction on the field.
- Tracking/Hiking boots with the deep tread grabs onto rocks and slippery surfaces better.
- Cushioning shoes helps teachers, nurses, and others work a long day without their feet and lower limb getting too tired and sore.
TO BE STYLISH
- Let’s face it, most of us are fashion and style centric when it comes to selection of the footwear and this is a main reason so many of the shoes end up causing foot problems.
- You may be tempted to buy footwear by matching your attire, favorite color and style at a cost of improper size and fit, which may contribute to heel & arch pain, develop bunion and hammertoes, aches and pain may lead to malalignment of your physical structure.
- It is important to pick the right shoes for your activity and that is going to protect your feet. When the footwear supports your feet properly,your posture and gait is better, reducing foot, ankle, knee, and hip and back related aches and pain.
- Shopping Time: Go later in the day when your feet may have swollen a bit. That is the best way to know if the shoe will be comfortable all day long.
- Footwear Size: Don’t choose by size number. Shoe size varies with styles and manufacturers.
- Measure your feet – by Length x Width x Height and you get the best-fit all around your feet.
- Test the Fit:
- Make sure the great toe doesn’t bang in the front of the shoes or hang out off the open footwear.
- Check the width of the footwear to make sure it’s not tight at the ball of the foot or at the 5th toe, should be able to wiggle your toes freely.
- Heel should be snugly fit at the back of the close shoes and not slide up & down while walking. They should be comfortable at the start and not need to be “broken in.”
- Make sure that the sports footwear provides stability and control at the heel and midfoot and comfort all around the foot to improve gait, posture and biomechanics.
- There are other things to check, such as the material, quality of construction, the cushioning, and the tread. Make sure the latter is not so slippery that it might cause a fall.