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Tips for buying and wearing shoes

Tips for adults and children

Footwear specialists recommend that shoppers discuss size, fit, and material with store sales personnel to become better informed. Your shoe size is not a static measurement – sizes vary with style and manufacturer.

Getting the right fit

Have your feet measured while standing. It is a good idea to shop for shoes after you have been on your feet for a few hours. Even healthy, normal, feet tend to swell slightly during the day.

Shoe experts and podiatrists advise having both feet measured, since feet are seldom precisely the same size. Always buy for the larger foot.

Beware of shoes which need a ‘break-in’ period – proper shoes should be comfortable immediately. Have both shoes fitted and then take a good walk around the store.

Purchase with function in mind

The shoe industry provides styling versatility for everyone – men, women and children. You should select footwear based on its appropriateness, both in appearance, support, and comfort. A good rule of thumb: buy footwear for function – for work, leisure time, or special activities.

For work: Working men and women should earmark at least three pairs of shoes for business hours. People who spend most of their working day on their feet should wear cushioned-soled shoes.

Workers in heavy industry should always wear shoes with toe protection.

For play: For casual wear, men and women can choose from a wide variety of casual slip-on and tied shoe and boot styles as well as a wide variety of sport shoes and boots.

For walking: Support is critical, and a lightweight, tie shoe is recommended. Specialists also advise that you look for cushioned heels and soles for bounce on hard surfaces and traction on slippery ones.

For children: Though fit is the most important consideration in children’s shoes, function applies here, too. For every day, crepe or rubber-soled shoes help cushion impact on growing feet better than dressier shoes with thinner soles. Buckled and tied shoes stay on the foot well and are best for active, daily wear.

Measure children’s feet as follows:

Look for shoes that are straight-laced, have a firm, rigid heel counter and flex at the toe.

Make sure there is room for the child to wiggle his or her toes, that the heel isn’t slipping out of the shoe and that there is at least 1⁄2 inch from the tip of the child’s toe to the end of the shoe.

Take care of your shoes

Once you have a shoe that fits and flatters, you have to maintain it. Specialists recommend that you make it a habit to examine your shoes every time you put them on, for comfort, health reasons, and appearance.

First, look for signs of wear. If the heel lifts are low, you are ‘down at heel’ and asking for trouble. Run-down heels put uneven pressure on your heel bone which supports 25% of your body weight, and adds to uneven walking patterns which can translate to pains throughout the body.

Thin and worn soles provide little protection from the shocks of hard surfaces and put unnecessary strains on the metatarsal joints.