When shopping for shoes, you want to have more than fashion in mind - you'll also want to consider function and keeping your feet in good shape. Finding the right pair of shoes seems like a simple thing, but with the advent of specialized footwear for a host of activities, and new technological advances in material and production methods, this is not necessarily true anymore.
Things to be kept in mind while buying new shoes
Our feet carry a load with each step we take, day in and day out, and the arch of the foot is a mechanical marvel that acts as both a shock absorber and balancing mechanism, and being sure to keep it supported will help maintain its health.
Soft soled shoes are generally quieter and more comfortable than stiff, inflexible soles. Some very hard soled shoes will mark hard surfaced flooring like vinyl composition tiles, and in some instances, such as hospital environments, the tapping of hard soles can be disturbing to people in the workplace, as well as patients.
Examine the soles. Are they sturdy enough to provide protection from sharp objects? Do they provide any cushioning? Take note of how they feel as you walk around the shoe store. Try to walk on hard surfaces as well as carpet to see how the shoe feels on both.
Most shoes are traditionally made from leather, but there are many grades and types of leather, and each has its own distinct characteristics. Suede don't require polishing, as do patent leathers, and very fancy shoes may be made from exotic animal skins, even alligator or ostrich skin. Many people are reluctant or refuse to wear any shoes or clothing made from animal products, so synthetic materials or natural fibers will be their preference.
Take a tracing of your foot with you. Place any shoe you think you might buy on top of the tracing. If the shoe is narrower or shorter than the tracing, don’t even try it on.
Shop for shoes during the afternoon — your foot naturally expands with use during the day.
Wear the same type of socks to the store that you intend to wear with the shoes.
Have a salesperson measure both of your feet — and get measured every time you buy new shoes. Feet change with age, often growing larger and wider. If one foot is larger than the other, buy a size that fits the larger foot.
Double row stitching on the uppers, sealed seams with gussets, reinforcing rivets, and Goodyear Welt construction are indications of well made, durable shoes or boots.
Feel the inside of the shoes to see if they have any tags, seams, or other material that might irritate your foot.
Stand in the shoes. Press gently on the top of the shoe to make sure you have about a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. This provides enough room for your foot to press forward as you walk. Wiggle your toes to make sure there’s enough room.
Walk around in the shoes to determine how they feel. Is there enough room at the balls of the feet? Do the heels fit snugly, or do they pinch or slip off? Don’t rationalize that the shoes just need to be “broken in.” Find shoes that fit from the start.
Pay attention to width as well as length. If the ball of your foot feels compressed in a particular shoe, ask if it comes in a wider size. Buying shoes that are a half-size bigger — but not any wider — won’t necessarily solve the problem.
Trust your own comfort level rather than a shoe’s size or description. Sizes vary between manufacturers. And no matter how comfortable an advertisement claims those shoes are, you’re the real judge.
Cheap shoes will not last as long, or be as good for your feet, as will more expensive, better quality ones.