The older we grow, the harder it feels to find shoes that fit right, feel great - and come in a style we love. As we have a popular retail shoe store within our podiatry clinic premises, we’re chatting to customers all day about the kinds of shoes they are looking for, what problems they are having with finding the right fit, and all the questions people have always wondered about footwear and ‘the right fit’ - but haven’t had an expert to ask.
We know that when you’re constantly asking us the same questions, there are plenty more people in our community wondering the same things. So today, we’re sharing the top footwear & shoe fitting questions we get. We hope this helps - and if you have any more questions or want to know if any of our styles may be suitable for you, please contact us via our Facebook page here.
The Shoe Is The Right Size But Feels Too Tight
Just like how feet come in different sizes, they also come in various widths! In recent years, this fact is thankfully being recognised and actioned by many more shoe brands, leading to plenty more shoe width options. So if you know you have wide feet, ask your retail assistant which shoes are either naturally wider or come in different width options. If you’ve never tried a larger width size and have the option to, please do! You may unlock a whole new level of comfort.
The Sides Of My Ankles Rub Against The Tops Of My Shoes
Try adding a short sock to raise your foot slightly in your shoe, to move the ankles over the shoe toplines. Alternatively, swap out your insole (we can help with this) to have your foot comfortably sitting in your shoe, whether you’re wearing socks or not.
Do I Need To Go Up A Shoe Size If I Have Orthotics?
No, not usually. Orthotics should work with your feet and shoes, replacing the original shoe liner relatively seamlessly - with the help of your podiatrist to make sure you have the right fit. If you get insoles from the pharmacy and then find yourself having to go up a size to stay comfortable, be careful. You may be making compromises in other areas of the shoe fit, and your feet may suffer as a result - especially as supermarket/pharmacy insoles tend to have a very short lifespan, so after you’re done with them, you’ll be left with a shoe that’s too big.
How Do I Know If A Shoe Is The Right Size?
While most people have grown up checking if there’s a fingers-width between the tips of the toes and the end of the shoe, a better measure is checking whether the broadest part of the shoe is in line with the broadest part of your foot. Having these matches creates an important flexion point when you walk, allowing the shoe and foot to work together well and keep you comfortable.
I Have High Arches. Which Shoes Should I Choose?
It’s common knowledge that flat feet do best with some arch support to best support the muscles and ligaments in the feet, but for high arches? Cushioning is key, especially at the heels and the balls of the feet. This is because high arches tend to reduce the body’s ability to minimise shock forces from the ground as you walk effectively, leading to foot and leg aches. A good level of cushioning helps absorb that shock and best protect your feet.
Additionally, consider the height of the shoe. High arched feet sit naturally higher around the midfoot, which for some can lead to rubbing and pain at the top of their feet. If your shoe has laces, loosen and adjust them to best fit your feet. You may wish to drop an eyelet so the shoes don’t feel so tight at the top of your foot.
I Love Heels, But They Make My Feet Ache. What Can I Do?
This is a very common question. Thankfully these days, there are plenty of heeled shoes that get our A-Okay tick of approval for comfort and support of your feet, presuming you don’t have specific foot problems and pains. First - if you try on a heeled shoe and it doesn’t feel comfortable, it is less likely to get better and more likely to worsen over time. So avoid shoes that you can’t breathe a sigh of relief in when you put them on.
Second, avoid fidgety additions to your shoes as much as possible. Many people try to combat a poor shoe fit or a less than ideal heeled shoe choice with gel cushions or pads. In our experience, it’s only setting you up for a lifetime (the lifetime of your shoe at least) of hassle. Heel cushions and all those fidgety extras are easily misplaced, can move position as you walk, and often reduce the room available in an already narrower shoe. Unless they’re properly fitted and expertly added in a more permanent way, or by your podiatrist, avoid.
Next, talk to your retailer. At our clinic, we know exactly which heeled styles will work best for a range of foot types and foot problems, and paired with knowing which styles you like the look of, we can quickly help you find a great, comfortable shoe that you can spend all day in by just slipping your feet in.
I’ve Ordered The Same Size Shoe From The Same Brand But In A Different Style And The Fit Feels Wrong?
You’re not alone there. Some brands do have some variation in the sizing or fit of their shoes between the styles. Other shoes have features that change the way your foot sits in the shoe, and therefore the overall fit. For example, shoes with a good level of in-built arch support may raise the foot and arch to make it narrower and slightly smaller due to the way the foot is being held in the shoe. Other shoes go the opposite way - with little to no support through the arch, letting your feet flatten out, your toes splay out, and your foot appear wider and bigger - making the original size unsuitable.
Take the sizing not only on a brand-by-brand basis, but style-by-style too. Don’t be afraid to change sizes, even if it’s not your ‘normal’ size.
It’s Difficult To Find Boots Because My Calves Are Wide
Boots have different width fittings too! Opt for those that have a wider fit option at the leg. Always try them on. Make sure they’re comfortable from the get-go. Don’t buy boots that are too tight around your legs and expect them to give over time.
I Think My Shoe Size Has Gone Up. Could My Feet Be Getting Bigger With Age?
Yes! Feet can and do appear to get bigger with age. They don’t actually grow, but because of the amount of force we place on the feet every day from our regular movement, over time, our tendons and ligaments loosen more, and our feet become flatter. Weight changes and medical conditions can also have the same effect. So don’t think twice about getting that next size up if it feels best for your feet.
I Have Bunions. What Shoes Should I Choose?
A bunion greatly increases the space required in the toe box of the shoe. Opt for shoes that are not narrow or pointed at the toes but have a generous toe box if enclosed. If they’re open at the toes, make sure the straps don’t sit directly over your bunion, or it can be a quick journey to callus, corns and pain. You may wish to opt for softer and more flexible shoe materials in the toe box, particularly in the area of your bunion, to improve your comfort and reduce your risk of pain when walking.
I Had My Feet Measured, But One Shoe Still Feels A Little Too Tight
Our feet tend to have one that is naturally slightly bigger than the other. For some, this is a tiny difference, while others may find half a size of difference. Untrained retail assistants may not know this and may measure one foot, which happens to be the shorter foot, resulting in one shoe feeling too tight. Always measure both feet and go by the bigger measurement. Our feet also tend to be slightly naturally bigger towards the end of the day because they tend to swell.
Is Wearing Shoes That Are Too Big Bad For My Feet?
Most likely, yes. Shoes that are too big mean that the foot isn’t held and supported in an optimal way inside the shoe, leaving the foot to slip around. This means neither the shoe nor the foot can work at their best. Your feet will start having to work harder as a result, and your toes may constantly be trying to grip the shoe for some stability or control. While shoes that are too small aren’t good for our feet, neither are shoes that are too big.
Why Is My Heel Slipping Out Of My Shoe?
Heels slipping out of the back of the shoe is most often a sizing issue. There are many ‘tricks’ to help with this, going as far as using hairspray to help stick the foot to the back of the heel, but this is only a temporary measure and can quickly become frustrating and annoying. The best thing you can do is get the right sized shoe from the get-go.
I’m Ready To Buy Some New Shoes! Where Do I Start?
If you’re ready to buy some new shoes and want to ensure you have both the right fit, and that the style will be great for your feet, visit our in-clinic retail store. We have a wide range of shoes and styles, and our team is trained in getting the best shoes for you regardless of problems like bunions, medical conditions, or foot pain.
Visit us at 13 Alford St, Kingaroy. If you have any questions about our shoe range or want to inquire about certain styles, call us at (07) 4162 7633. We also post new styles and information about our sales on our Facebook page.