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One Step at a Time – Do the Shoes I Wear Really Matter? Finding Proper Footwear

Seventy-five percent of Canadians will experience foot pain at some point in their lives.  Your feet are the foundational building blocks of the human body.  Improper footwear can lead to malalignment of the foot and ankle complex in addition to the rest of the body.  Poor alignment leads to added stress and strain on muscles and ligaments which will lead to aches and pains. What can we do to prevent these issues and protect ourselves from future issues to come?

Here are some helpful tips when buying new shoes:

  • Make sure the shoe is wide enough and you are not forcing your foot into a shoe that is smaller. Ensure the ball of the foot fits into the widest part of the shoe and the heel fits snugly without slipping. Avoid pointed shoes that force your toes into an unnatural position.
  • Make sure you buy a shoe that is long enough (width of thumb between end of toes and end of shoe). During normal walking, your foot spreads out and lengthens about 1 cm in each direction.
  • Do not wear shoes with a heel height greater than 2 ¼ inch. Any amount of heel that is higher than this will increase the pressure on the ankles and balls of the feet which will cause injuries, calluses and bunions over time.
  • Try on shoes towards the end of the day when your feet are tired and swollen.
  • Try on both shoes when purchasing footwear since one foot is usually larger than the other.
  • When measuring your foot, stand up. Our feet and arches splay when we are putting our body weight through our feet.
  • Stand and walk around in the shoes before buying them to be sure they are comfortable.
  • Don’t rely on shoe sizes. Each brand makes their shoes on different lasts. Always try your shoes on.
  • Have each foot measured regularly, since feet tend to get larger with age.
  • Purchase shoes that are comfortable when you first try them on. Do not expect shoes to stretch or “break-in.”





Kaitlin Davis MSc COc


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