If the Shoe Fits: Five Tips for Proper Footwear Fitting

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Do your feet hurt? If so, your favorite pair of shoes might be the culprit. Ill-fitting shoes can cause more than pain; they can affect your gait (i.e., how you walk) by putting pressure on your knees, hips, and back. To avoid the ouch factor—and potential injury—keep these five tips in mind when picking out your next pair of kicks.

1. Socks can Make or Break the Deal

Would you wear your sweaty athletic socks—straight from the gym—with ballet flats or dress shoes? (I hope not!) When you’re shoe shopping, be prepared with appropriate socks for the style you have in mind. An extra eighth-of-an-inch might not seem like a big deal, but the blisters resulting from an incorrect fit will be a painful reminder of the socks you left at home when you hit the shoe store.

Even if you’re a die-hard fashionista, don’t underestimate the importance of comfort. Your shoes should fit correctly and allow you to walk pain-free in the store. If you’re wearing the proper hosiery in the store and the shoe feels too snug, chances are it’s simply too small—no way around it, no matter how desirable the shoe.

2. Bigger is Better When Your Feet Aren’t the Same Size

Most of us have one foot that’s slightly larger than the other. As a rule of thumb, always pick the size that properly fits the larger of the two feet. If one foot is more than one and one-half sizes larger than the other, you might need to find a specialty shoe store that offers pairs of varying sizes.

If your feet are within one-half or one size of each other, then no worries—go with the size that fits your bigger foot and you should be good to go.

3. Time Will Tell (Something About the Size of Your Feet)

Your feet might not be as dainty now as they once were. As time passes, the ligaments and tissues in your feet stretch and lengthen—meaning your feet continue to change shape and size throughout the course of your life.

Don’t worry; you won’t have to measure your feet every week—once or twice per year should do the trick to keep you on the right-sizing track. On that note, be sure to measure your feet while standing up to get the most accurate sizing.

4. Don’t Shoe Shop in the Morning

When you first wake up, your feet are nice and fresh—and sometimes quite a bit smaller than they’ll be toward the end of your day. It’s best to shop in the evening, after your feet have been feeling gravity’s effects all day. That way, your feet are at their largest, so you’re more likely to go with a size that isn’t too snug.

Keep the aforementioned tips in mind for happy and healthy feet. Your knees and back will thank you.

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