The biggest decision we make in respect to our feet is the choice of footwear we place them in. This decision is made on a daily basis, and on many occasions, several times each day.
The decision you make will directly affect your comfort (or your child’s) throughout the day. Unfortunately, it is not a straightforward process to make this decision. There are many influencing factors, including work and sport requirements, fashion, school uniform and expense.
It can be argued that feet are so well designed that they do not require shoes. It is certainly true that the foot is engineered to near perfection. Its many joints are able to absorb shock and adapt to most natural terrain. However, their undoing comes with all the hard, man made structures our feet are required to live, work and play on.
It is essential that you know how your feet function in order to purchase the most appropriate footwear for your individual needs. Every foot is different, even the left foot compared to the right foot on the same person.
Your choice of shoe needs to compliment your foot type, to provide balance, support and shock absorption.
A correct choice of footwear can improve performance as well as minimise the risk of injury.
Often, shoes need to be specific to their intended purpose. A running shoe for running, walking shoe for walking, netball shoe for netball, bowls shoe for bowls, etc.
Footsmart Podiatry specialises in assessing the human body in motion and can recommend the style and features required in a shoe for you and your lifestyle.
School shoes are the most important purchase you will regularly make for your child’s feet. Many school shoes are made to look good but often lack the support required whilst your child is running around at school. Your Podiatrist can recommend appropriate school shoes for your child, taking into account their individual walking and running biomechanics as well as any specific uniform requirements that may be in place.
Infants receive important sensory information from their feet when learning to walk. Improper shoes can impede your child’s ability to walk. Most shoes at this stage of life are for protection. In fact walking barefoot in a controlled environment, such as inside your home, can help develop balance, co-ordination and posture. As your child starts walking more and more, have them professionally fitted for shoes to ensure proper sizing of length, width and girth. At this age shoes will need to be updated as often as every few months.
Here are a couple of tips to get you stepping in the right direction:
- Footwear should be tried on in the afternoon, when your feet are naturally swollen.
- You should always allow a thumb nail in length between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
This is not for growth. It is due to the upper of your shoe folding back when you push off your toes each step.
- Ensure you try on both shoes, as most people have one foot slightly longer than the other. If this is the case,
fit the longer foot.
- Don’t walk into a shop 100% determined to buy shoes. You probably will buy shoes; but they may not be exactly what you need.
- Don’t go to too many shops in one day. You are likely to get frustrated and once again buy shoes that are not perfect for you.
- If you wear orthotics, take them with you when you try on shoes.
- If you are unsure if the shoes are right for you, ask the shop manager if you can take them to your Podiatrist for assessment. Many stores will have a policy for exchanging unworn shoes if your Podiatrist determines they are not right for you.
Remember, you can have the best shoe in the world,
but if the shoe doesn’t fit,
it won’t do its job.