10 Tips on buying proper footware…

Proper shoe fit for both activity and everyday wear is poorly understood and certainly poorly

done. This dilemma is as much the consumer’s fault as it is the manufacturer’s. When buying

footwear, the following should be considered:

1. Determine length and width of the foot, and fit the forefoot width first. Both feet should be

measured and the shoe fitted to the largest foot because it is always easier to add parts

to a shoe. The length of the shoe should not be increased to improve the width as this

increases the length of the lever under the toes and contributes to hyperextension of the

toes. This is the most common error in fitting shoes.

2. To test for proper width, the athlete should put full weight on the shoe. The shoe upper

should not over hang the sole. On the other hand, if wrinkles appear on the top of the

shoe, then the shoe is too wide.

3. To ensure a properly fitting “upper shoe”, ensure that the lacing is such that the eyelets

(lace holes) are parallel from the top to the bottom.

4. One study reported that 88 percent of women wear shoes between one and two sized

smaller in width than their feet. A shoe should never have to stretch to fit and one should

not believe that shoes will stretch to fit. Ice hockey players commonly wear skates that

are one to two sizes too small to ensure a good snug fit, and they claim that it gives them

better control. Such action however increases the chances of foot problems and


5. The end of the toe box (the front of the shoe) should be 1-1.5cm from the end of the

longest toe. The toe box should be wide enough and long enough to allow the toes to

extend fully and to allow good alignment of the first toe on push-off.

6. The shoe should be designed to bend at the level of the metatarophalangeal joint (the

balls of the feet). If it does not, excessive stress is placed on the foot and the Achilles


7. Shop for shoes at the end of the day when the feet are at their largest, or at least at the

time of day when you plan to use the shoes.

8. “Run around” in the store before purchasing to ensure a comfortable fit.

9. Search for defects in the shoes workmanship (ex. crooked stitching). If they are present,

ask for another pair of shoes.

10. ****Have your foot assessed before you go to purchase your shoes by an expert such as the ones found at Sports Performance Centres.  Employment at a shoe store does not an expert make!


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