Monthly Archives: February 2016

How to Tell If Your Shoe Fits

How to Tell If Your Shoe FitsAlthough it seems obvious, knowing if your shoe fits are often the mistakes we usually make. Most prefer shoes that are a bit bigger as it allows for better room while others prefer smaller sized shoes for comfort. In order to find your true shoe size, use a measuring device at the store. But that’s just part of the many things to tell if the shoe fits.

Measure your shoe size

To find your true shoe size, use the Bannock shoe measuring device usually available at the shoe store. The Bannock foot measuring device is designed to indicate your correct shoe size by measuring the heel-to-toe, arch, and width of your feet. With these measurements, you will be able to find a properly fitted shoes.

Some people find that after measuring their feet, they have one foot longer or wider than the other. If you have this feat, don’t worry as this is normal and there is nothing to worry about. This is usually because of the formation of bunions and tailor bunions that have a genetic predisposition and will change the anatomical alignment of the foot; thus making it wider or longer than your other foot.

The rule of the thumb

The rule of the thumb when buying a pair of shoes is there should be a thumb’s spacing between the tip of the longest toe in your foot to the end of the shoe. Use the first, second, or third toes as landmarks as they are usually the longest toes in your foot.

Try shoes in the afternoon

Your feet swell during the day because walking slightly increases your blood flow. If you must shop in the morning, don’t buy shoes that are snug.

Buy shoes that fit the bigger foot

Never force your foot into a shoe that is either too small or too tight. Wearing shoes that don’t fit can cause foot, ankle, knee and back problems. It can even throw you off-balance and make you walk funny. If it is too narrow, you can develop ingrown nails, corns, and your skin will be irritated causing blister formation.

Wear the type of socks you would wear for the shoe you are buying

Don’t wear your basketball socks nor even try to wear ski socks if you are buying leather shoes for work. Don’t fit your shoes without socks either. The goal here is not just to make it fit, but also to provide overall comfort especially when wearing socks.

Walk around your shoes before buying them

Walk around the store and see how it fits before buying them. Once you have the shoes at home, try walking around and wear them for a few hours. This should give you a better feel for the shoes than trying them on briefly at the store. Make sure that when trying it on, you shouldn’t scuff the shoes, as the store won’t accept it if you need to replace the one you just bought.

Shoes just expand, not get longer

Usually, leather shoes expand and widen with wear, but only by a bit. However, shoes don’t get longer. If your toes are crunched at their tips, don’t expect it to be better with wear. Either go up a half-size, or find another shoe that is a perfect fit.

UK, US, and European sizes are different

You may find that in some shoe store, you are sized 6, in other stores you are sized 39, and in some you are sized 5.5. This is because the shoe manufacturers use different sizes and they usually base it on where the shoe was manufactured. Thankfully, shoe stores have shoe conversion tables you can use as a guide. Also, shoes nowadays have shoe sizes converted to UK, US, and European sizes.

How to Buy the Perfect Shoe

Perfect ShoeYou could apply the following principles to buying any shoe but I am looking specifically at exercise shoes, no matter what the intended use, e.g. running, walking, basketball, tennis or cross-training.

When buying shoes, getting to proper fit is arguably, the most important factor. Many athletic shoe retailers will have specially trained staff to measure your foot, assess the biomechanics of your gait and advise on the best type of shoe for your planned activities.

The second factor to consider is to make sure you spend enough. It is not a case of finding the cheapest shoe available but rather a case of working out what your budget is and spending enough to buy the best shoe for you. Whatever your budget, it will be easier to make a well-informed, smart choice if you follow these tips:

Check for Wear

The way that your old shoes have worn will be the best guide for deciding what features you need in your new shoes. For example, if the outside edge of the heel area is worn the most, you tend to roll along the outer edge of your shoe when you run. This is known as Inversion, although many retailers will mistakenly refer to it as supinating or under pronating. Runners with inversion typically have rigid, immobile feet and should look for shoes with heavy cushioning and soft midsole with less medial support. These shoes are usually built on a curved last and encourage foot movement.

If your heels shoes have worn mostly on the inside edge, you experience Eversion when you run, often mistakenly called over pronating by retailers. If you have an eversion problem, you should look for shoes that feature a medial post, a polyurethane midsole and a carbon-rubber insole. Most shoes for eversion correction are built on a straight last for more stability and support.

Examine the new Shoe

Your shoes need to be well made and be free of any flaw, or fault, that might introduce discomfort. Examine the shoes inside and out for raised stitching or stitching that is coming loose and if you find any, grab another pair of shoes. Minor issues like these can become major sources of discomfort and possible injury over the long haul. Also examine the intersection of the upper and sole of the shoe. Try to peel them apart and if there is any separation, choose another shoe.

Try different sizes

The sizes on the boxes and tags on the shoes really mean very little. Sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and from model to model. Use the advice from the (qualified) retail assistant to find a starting point and work up and down (size wise) from there. Remember, proper fit and comfort are the be all and end all.

Get a three-way fit

This is not as complicated as it sounds. Put simply, it means:

1. The longest of your toes should clear the end of the shoe by 5 – 15 mm.

2. The ball of the foot should fit comfortably into the widest part of the shoe.

3. The heel should fit snugly without any slippage.

Try on both shoes

Most people typically have one foot slightly larger than the other, so getting a perfect fit for the smaller foot will mean problems for the larger foot. If you already know which foot is larger, base your decisions on how the shoe fits that foot. Finally, stand up after lacing up the shoe to allow your foot to flatten out and spread out under your body weight.

Shop late

After you have been up and down on your feet all day, walking, running, whatever you normal day entails, your feet can swell by up to 5 percent between morning and night. Buying a shoe too early in the day could result in you purchasing a shoe that ends up pinching by the end of the day.

Don’t force it

Do not try to follow the example of Cinderella’s ugly sisters and try to force your foot into a shoe that is simply too small or one that allows your foot to literally swim around inside the shoe. There are still some badly trained, or unscrupulous, retailers who will try to rationalise the purchase and they have a number of tricks you should be aware of:

1. “That’s a good snug fit.” Snug really means tight, perhaps too tight.

2. “It will stretch with wear.” No it won’t. Modern shoe technology is designed to ensure the shoe maintains it shape and size. It may become more comfortable as it conforms to the shape of your foot, but it will not stretch.

3. “If you wear thicker socks it will fit perfectly.” Does that mean you also need a sock wardrobe? Before you go to the shoe store, choose a pair of socks you would normally wear with the shoes and take them with you or, wear them to the store. If the shoes don’t fit while you are wearing those socks, they will not fit. Don’t buy them.

The Shoes You Wear

The Shoes You WearWHAT style shoe should I wear? Is this my correct size? How can I tell if the shoes are really well made? These questions and many more must be answered each time a pair of shoes is selected and bought.

It is important to answer these questions wisely, for the purchase of a new pair of shoes can have a profound effect on a person’s overall health and happiness. Ill-fitting footwear can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort, even leading to headaches, backaches and leg cramps. To a large degree, painful foot ailments such as corns, nail troubles, toe deformities and flat feet can be avoided by a careful selection of footwear.

A person may walk over 75,000 miles in a lifetime. ‘Why not walk those miles in comfort?

Do Not Sacrifice Comfort for Style

How, then, should one go about buying shoes? Unfortunately, many choose shoes for style rather than for comfort. More often than not, this type of buying leads to considerable pain. Further, the owner will probably cast off the shoes, being no longer able to endure this form of self-torture in the interest of fashion.

In some cases serious problems and foot deformities can result if fashion is the primary factor in selecting one’s shoes. For example, some years ago the style was pointed toes, and in this regard a letter was printed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer under the heading “What Price Style? Girl Paid Too Much–Loss of Two Toes.” The letter said:

“Like most girls I wanted to be in fashion and bought the shoes that everyone was wearing. The pointed toes and high heels were uncomfortable, but I thought that this was the price of style. You can realize how shocked I was when I went to a doctor because of painful feet and was told that I would have to have two toes amputated. This was a year ago, and since then I have heard of many other girls who have lost one or two toes.”

So, in buying shoes, do not sacrifice comfort for style. Select appropriate shoes for ‘the purpose for which they will be used: walking, working, casual, special occasions, or constant wear.

Be Sure of the Right Fit

You can buy good shoes but still end up with painful feet if you are not careful to get a good fit. Helpful in this regard is checking the time of day before you buy a pair of shoes. Why? Because if it is very early in the morning, you may not get the right fit. Since feet tend to swell somewhat as the day wears on, it is wise to buy shoes in the late afternoon. Remember, too, that hot weather will cause one’s feet to expand.

Many persons find it desirable to have their feet measured when purchasing new shoes. For one thing, sizes may vary with different makes of shoes. Some have found, too, that it is wise to stand while their feet are being measured. The foot will expand, and one is more likely to get a better all-round fit. Further, since one foot is likely to be slightly larger than the other, have both feet measured and pick a size to fit the larger foot.

Heels should be snug but not tight. Also the height and shape of the heel need to be considered, especially in women’s shoes. Women generally have four times as much foot trouble as men, largely because of high-heeled shoes. The higher the heel, the more the body is projected forward, and to maintain balance the body is bent backward at the hips. This is unnatural and results in a variety of leg and back problems if unreasonably high heels are worn over an extended period of time. Generally speaking, heels should not be higher than one and a half inches and should produce a good broad base on which to stand. Almost naillike or so-called “spike” heels are not conducive to good foot care and posture.

The widest part of your foot should spread easily across the widest part of the shoe. There should be enough room for the toes to lie straight, and the shoe should be a little longer than the longest toe. If you cannot wiggle your toes to some extent, the shoe is too small. When shoes are too tight or too short, toes may be forced back into an inverted V position called hammertoe, a common deformity. A shoe ought to be comfortable when you buy it; it is unwise to rely on a “breaking in” process to ensure comfort.

After buying a pair of shoes, you can try them on again at home, but walk only on a rug. If you have doubts about the fit, you may be able to exchange your purchase.

Children’s Shoes

Special care should be given to the selection of children’s shoes. Ill-fitting shoes are the most common cause of foot trouble among children and teen-agers. The problem often is that they outgrow their shoes. In this regard, The World Book Encyclopedia points out:

“In children from 2 to 6 years old, shoe sizes change every 4 to 8 weeks. From 6 to 10 years, sizes change every 2 or 3 months. Children from 12 to 15 should have their shoe sizes checked every 4 months. Children over 15 years old should have shoe sizes checked about every 6 months until their feet are fully developed.”

Many parents who have children that rapidly outgrow their shoes rather than wearing them out find that an inexpensive brand of shoes serves the purpose. When buying them, one can feel inside the shoes and check for rough edges that could cause discomfort.

The feet of children are growing and need careful attention to prevent deformities in later life. In the United States the American Medical Association estimates that 50 to 80 percent of children have some foot defects. So it is good to leave some “growing room” when selecting children’s shoes, possibly three quarters of an inch of space in the toe area. Watch for signs of wear developing in one place consistently, for this may indicate that the shoes are too small or poorly fitted and could produce foot abnormalities. It usually is not a good policy to pass shoes down from one child to the next, for shoes mold themselves to the characteristics of the wearer’s foot.

Look for Quality and Workmanship

Especially when shoes are for adults, quality and good workmanship are important, because you want them to last. Examine carefully the shoes you plan to buy. Be on the watch for signs of poor and careless construction. On the uppers, loose threads, seams with rough edges and excess bulk, enlarged needle holes and noticeable traces of adhesives are all things to watch for when buying shoes. Also check the sole stitch; if it is uneven and runs off the edge, it is a sign of poor workmanship.

Is the shoe lined? It should be, at least at the top opening, to prevent stretching and friction and to absorb perspiration.

Low-priced shoes are not always a bargain when it comes to durability, appearance and comfort. Really comfortable shoes usually cost more. Do not judge the durability of a shoe by mere thickness of outer soles. Durability depends more on the quality of workmanship and of the leather.

Shoe Care

Important to the shoe’s life is proper care. Yet shoes are often one of the most neglected articles in a person’s wardrobe. When you buy a new pair of shoes, it is wise to lubricate them with a good polish before wearing them; this will protect the finish.

The first few times that you wear new shoes it is good to be sure that the tongues and laces are smooth and straight. Then they are likely to stay that way for the life of the shoe, but if they are started off crooked, they may stay that way.

A shoehorn helps in putting on shoes, and it is good to loosen the laces when removing them. This prevents seams from ripping and the back from breaking down.

If you have more than one pair of shoes, you can considerably lengthen their life by wearing one pair one day, and a different pair the next day. The airing between wearings helps to prevent perspiration from rotting the leather. As for the shoes not in use, many persons find it beneficial to put a form or shoe tree in them. This prevents curling and wrinkling. However, the type of form used should not cut off the free circulation of air and thus prevent the shoe from airing properly.

From time to time shoes should receive a cleaning. Wash with a moist cloth, sponge or brush, preferably using leather soap. This removes encrusted foreign matter and permits the polish to be worked in more freely. Do not neglect the edge of the sole and heel in the cleaning process. A brisk rub with a cloth warms the leather, making it more receptive to the polish.

Apply a moderate amount of shoe polish and work it in well with an applicator. A powder puff does a fine job as applicator and can often be kept inside a can of polish. Rub the shoe briskly with a polishing cloth. This works the wax into the leather, producing a dry, hard finish and leaving no excess wax. The luster will last for some time and can be renewed by a brisk wiping. To maintain good appearance, repeat this process as often as necessary, possibly once a week if the shoes are worn consistently.

Do not neglect to have heels and soles replaced as needed. Besides looking shabby, run-over heels and shoes out of shape place a strain on the feet.

The shoes you wear definitely have a great effect on your health and your enjoyment of life. Therefore, you are wise if you choose your footwear carefully, avoiding the excesses of fashion, keeping in mind the need for comfort, durability and a pleasing appearance.

Running It’s A Shoe Thing

Running It's A Shoe ThingRunning shoes are the most basic equipment that a runner has. It gives you support where it is needed, absorbs shock from the impact, prevents road injuries and lets you perform better. For this very reason, the shoe market industry has grown vastly. These companies invested substantial amount and effort in incorporating new science and technologies to meet every runner’s needs.

For this very reason, there are hundreds of choices for running shoes that leave runners, especially those who are still beginners, clueless. While most of the running shoes will feel comfortable when you first try them on, the real test of the shoes’ performance and supporting abilities is when you hit several miles on the road. You can figure out that the ideal shoe for you won’t be your running buddy’s perfect shoe, not even the shoe’s brand, but has more to do with the shape of your foot and your running style.

The Wet Test and Gait Analysis

Your chances of landing in a quality pair of running shoes increases when you know your foot shape and your running gait. The “wet test” is a test to give you a basic idea of what kind of shoes you will need based on the height of your arch. You just have to take an imprint of your wet foot on a brown paper bag and examine the contours especially the band between the balls of the feet to the forefoot.

If the imprint shows almost your whole foot is left behind, with hardly any curving inwards where your arch is, then you have very low, flexible arches or flat feet. Most overpronating runners are flat-footed and they can be better off with stability or motion-control shoes.

On the other hand, if there is a very big curve between the ball of your foot and your heel or it might seems like the band between your heel and toe is non-existing, then you have high-arched feet. High-arched runners need more impact protection. It means that neutral-cushioned shoes are recommended for them.

If your foot is somewhere between the two descriptions mentioned before, then you have a normal arch. There is a slight curve inward but not too much. Depending on your weight, you can choose shoes from all running shoe categories.

On the other hand, the Gait Analysis is a more elaborate wet test that takes in your running gait style in consideration. It is conducted in shoe stores so the shoe specialist can correctly identify the ideal shoe for you. They will look at your foot in motion so they can assess the proper biomechanics and your rate of pronation. Pronation is the inward rolling of the foot. A biomechanically efficient runner is someone who follows the natural gait cycle: landing on the outside edge of heel and rolling through to push off from toes. If you have excessive inward rolling of foot, also known as overpronation, or excessive outward rolling of foot, or supination, you have poor biomechanics and more vulnerable to injuries. Getting your gait analyzed is very advantageous because you would be able to buy the correct footwear to avoid future problems.

The Four Shoe Categories

There are four main running shoe categories. Although most shoe manufacturers do not use the same categories when describing their footwear, you can easily identify that some shoe models can fall in between these four categories.

First category is the neutral-cushioned shoes. These shoes have maximized midsole cushioning but with minimal arch support. They are highly recommended for normal to high-arched runners or those who tend to midfoot or forefoot strike.

The second category is the motion-control shoes. These shoes have maximum stability and usually have support on the medial (the big toe – arch) side of the shoe. They are suitable for flat-footed runners who are moderate to severe overpronators. It is also recommended for heavy runners who seek supportive shoes.

The third category has a good balance on support and midsole cushioning and it is called stability shoes. These shoes are recommended for runners who have low to normal arches and have mild to moderate overpronation.

The first three are categorized by the runner’s biomechanical needs. In contrast, the fourth category, the performance shoes, are more specialized. They are recommended for racing and if used for training, by biomechanically efficient runners. Amongst the shoes, the performance shoes are the lightest. Because of their light weight, they usually have varying amount of support and cushioning.

Other Factors to Consider

Maybe you already have an idea what running shoe you should get but you also have to consider other factors that might help you in choosing your ideal shoe.

First, know where you strike the most and the hardest. You can look at your old shoes and observe the wear patterns of the shoe. You will need a pair that has extra cushioning to the area where you strike, also, a very durable outsole.

Second, if you are a supinator (you roll your foot outward), look for a shoe with soft midsole foam and a curved last. You must not use motion-control shoes especially those with medial post for stability.

Third, if you are wearing orthotics look, for shoes that are roomy enough to accommodate it. Most running shoes have removable sock liner and you can replace them with your orthotic. You can also consult your podiatrist to know what type of shoe would go well with it. The podiatrist will probably recommend a neutral-cushioned shoe with a lot of support or for extreme overpronators, a motion-controlled shoe.

Fourth, if you have wide feet look for running shoes with wide toe boxes. As a rule in picking the right size for a running shoe, there should be a thumb’s space between your longest toes to the end of the shoe. On the other hand, if you have narrow feet, there are lacing techniques to help you avoid slippage. You can also look at performance shoes as they tend to be narrow.

In conclusion, choosing a running shoe can be an overwhelming task. In determining how to choose a running shoe, your choice can make it or break it. Depending on it, you can run in comfort or in pain, or you can stay in shape or get injured.