From high heels to low heels, ill-fitting shoes can result in minor
foot irritations such as blisters or swelling to more serious problems,
including bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, and arch or heel pain.
Never underestimate the gift of pain, because it can signal that your
feet need a rest or that a shoe is causing damage and should not be
worn. Wearing appropriate shoes is the best way to keep your feet
Here are a few steps to take when shoe shopping:
● Purchase shoes toward the end of the day when your feet tend to
be the most swollen for a truer indication of foot size.
● Take along the socks or hosiery that you will routinely wear
with the desired shoes.
● Choose shoes based on the activity you will be doing while
● Choose soles made of nonslip material.
● Shoes with firm fastening devices will prevent your foot from
sliding forward or slipping out of the heels of shoes.
● Measure both of your feet. One foot is almost always larger than
the other, so make sure your shoes fit the larger foot comfortably.
● Choose the correct size that fits the shape of your foot. Shoes
should fit in length, width and depth when standing.
● A proper shoe fit is a “feel” not a size. Don’t make the
mistake of choosing style over comfort. Shoes should not need to be
“broken in.” Always walk around in the store giving them a good
test drive. If the shoes are uncomfortable in the store, they likely
will still be uncomfortable later.
● Select a sensible heel. A shorter, wider heel will be kinder to
your foot. If you do wear high heels, don’t wear them for extended
periods of time.
● Choose a shoe that allows for toe movement with a round or
square toe area. The toe box should be wide and deep enough for wiggling
the toes periodically. If you can’t move your toes in them, the shoes
are not a good choice.
● Be sure the foot bed contains adequate support and padding.
Shoes that bend in the mid-sole area easily may cause arch pain.
Pain is not the only foot problem women report to their podiatrist.
Odor is an unwelcome shoe guest. Bacteria grow in dark, enclosed spaces,
and shoes are a breeding ground. These germs may produce shoe and foot
odor, which can be unattractive.
Purchasing shoes made of leather or natural, breathable materials is
one way to combat this issue. A second way is to give your shoes time to
breathe - remove them periodically during wear and rotate the ones you
wear during the week. Additionally, you can spray the insides of your
shoes with an antibacterial cleaner or disinfectant to kill odor-causing
germs and keep shoes smelling fresh. Cleaning your shoes on laundry day
is a good way to remember.
My patients often ask, “Can wearing flip-flops too much damage my
feet?” In the South’s warm climate, it’s not uncommon to see women
wearing these summer slings all year long. But as long as flip-flops
provide good support, they are not a major concern for podiatrists since
they pass all the other tests for selecting appropriate shoes.
For women working daily in a business environment who need shoes that
deliver style and comfort, there are several major shoe lines that fit.
A simple internet search can identify these manufacturers. These shoes
may be more expensive, but the return on the investment - healthy feet -
So, before you buy your next pair of shoes, be sure they measure up by
doctor-recommended standards. Then, if the shoes fit, by all means, wear
MCG Health, Inc. (d/b/a MCGHealth) is a not-for-profit corporation
operating the MCGHealth Medical Center, MCGHealth Children’s Medical
Center, the Georgia Radiation Therapy Center, and related outpatient
facilities and services throughout the state. For more information,
please visit mcghealth.org.
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