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5 Tips for Buying Your New Shoes

Back to school season is upon us and along with the notebooks, pens and backpacks to buy it’s probably time to purchase a new pair of shoes too. The following tips are great for helping you pick out your next pair of supportive shoes, whether you’re a student or just a student of life.


  1. Squeeze That Heel Counter. The heel counter is the area at the back of the shoe above the sole. It should cradle the heel and provide stability for the ankle. Place your thumb and forefinger on either side of the heel counter and give it a squeeze. It should feel firm, you should not be able to bring your fingers together.

  2. Bend Those Shoes. The shoes should only bend at the point where the toe joint will sit. You should not be able to bend the shoe in half or roll it up. Also, try twisting them side to side, like you’re ringing out a wet towel. Shoes that can be bended all around simply do not provide the proper amount of support for all day wear.

  3. Do They Fit Properly? Firstly, try to shop for shoes in the afternoon or the evening. As the day goes on the blood in our bodies has a tendency to pool in our feet, causing them to swell. Trying on shoes in the afternoon or evening is a sure way to get a fit that is comfortable all day long. Make sure they fit well, there’s no such thing as a “break in period”, that is a term made up by shoe salesman to help close the deal on shoes that simply don’t fit. Make sure there is room between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. You should have about a thumb's width of space between them.

  4. Do They Provide Real Arch Support? It has become more common to find shoes with an amount of built in arch support, but beware, appearances can be deceiving. Press your thumb into the arch of the insert in the shoe. Does in compress under the weight of your thumb? If so, there’s no way it’s providing the proper amount of support with all of your body weight compressing it all day long. Talk to your podiatrist about cover-the-counter or custom orthotic inserts that provide you with the ideal amount of support all day long. You’ll be surprised how such a small device can make such a major change in how comfortable your feet can be!

  5. How Will You Use This Shoe? Is the shoe for work around an office or is it for going on a day hike up a mountain? These are vastly different usages, but you would be surprised at the number of people who want a shoe that can do just about anything. Unfortunately no such magic shoe exists yet. Consider what you’ll be doing primarily with the shoe before purchasing.


One last bit of advice, beware of shoes that are hip and cool. While they may be popular they may not be the best shoe for your foot. The Uggs craze a few years ago lead to a fair share of athlete's foot and toenail fungus infections, but then again if you put you foot in a dark, warm shoe that holds moisture all day that may just be what you get. Sperry’s may be a hit for the look you’re going for, but are synonymous with provide little or no support whatever. Just remember, fashion trends rarely have your health in mind.


If you or a loved one just can’t seem to find the right pair of shoes visit your local podiatrist. Many now carry supportive stylish shoes, such as Vionics. It’s true, you can look good while still wearing shoes that are good for you!

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