This week is national shoe fitting week and whilst there is no such thing as one perfect shoe, wearing the wrong shoes or badly fitting footwear can lead to a wide range of foot problems, impact on the way we walk, the speed and efficiency when we run and in older people poorly fitting shoes or sloppy slippers may even lead to an increased risk of falls.

Whilst the incredible Faith Dickey may be able to defy the laws of physics, the rest of us mere mortals may want to use the below guide when it comes to buying shoes!

Many research articles have highlighted how few of us wear properly fitting shoes and with an aging population and increasing numbers of people suffering with diabetes our shoe choices should be a cause for concern.

Rubbing and pressure from footwear can lead to blisters and corn and callus development, in people with diabetes these common lesions can leave the foot vulnerable to more serious problems such as the development of foot ulcers.

So whilst comfort should be a priority when buying new shoes these other tips may also help you select the right footwear.

Tips to help you select the right footwear:

  • Always try your shoes on before you buy them. The best time of day to buy is in the afternoon because your feet will have swollen a little and will be at their largest
  • Try not to buy shoes that you think need ‘breaking in’ or that need to be stretched to fit
  • If you can, have your feet measured every time you buy shoes. Your feet can change shape over time so it’s important to make sure you’re always buying the right size shoe. There should be 1cm of room between the end of your longest toe (which may not be your big toe) and the end of your shoe
  • Shoes should be at least as wide as your foot and have a deep and rounded toe area. Choose shoes that have a covered toe, rather than an open toe, to protect your feet from injury
  • Try to choose shoes which have heels no more than 2cm high. Test that the heel is firm enough to support your weight. Hold the heel between your thumb and forefinger – if you can squeeze it and it ‘gives’ then it’s too soft. If you can, choose shoes with a closed in heel
  • Shoes with laces, buckles or elastic can help prevent your feet from sliding about and hold your shoes firmly on
  • Choose shoes with the upper part made from a breathable material, like leather, or specially made breathable fabrics. This helps air to get in and out of your shoes and prevents fungal infections like athlete’s foot
  • Check the inside of shoes to make sure there are no seams or rough areas which could rub on your skin


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