Why Your Shoe's Fit Matters So Much

Your feet are your body's foundation, so taking excellent care of them is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. 

The best shoes protect your feet, enable you to move well, and offer comfort with cushioning and support. Ill-fitting shoes lead to discomfort, pain, and other health problems. 

Read on to learn more about why your shoe's fit matters so much, and find out how to find the best-fitting shoes for any physical activity.

Foot Problems Caused by Ill-Fitting Shoes

Image via Flickr by Nicholas_T

Foot pain and discomfort are often the first signs that something is wrong with your shoe fit. A shoe that's too tight doesn't allow enough room for your feet to move and swell throughout an activity. The front area of the foot, known as the forefoot, experiences pain when the toe box of the shoe is too narrow or when your shoes are too short. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to ingrown toenails, bunions, blisters, and corns as too much pressure or rubbing occurs.

If you have an achy, sharp, or burning feeling on the balls of your feet, you may have metatarsalgia. Worn-out or poorly fitting shoes are one of the causes of this condition. The balls of your feet become inflamed due to poor support or a bad shoe fit. The shape of your shoe also has a lot to do with foot problems. Shoes that are too narrow or too wide for your feet are not a good fit.

You may also suffer from toe deformities, such as hammer toes or overlapping toes, if you wear ill-fitting shoes for a lengthy period. Podiatric foot surgery may be necessary to correct toe deformities and bunions, as well. A bunion is a prominent bump either on the inside of the foot by the big toe joint or on the outside by the little toe joint. It's a bony area protruding toward the inside of the foot that causes inflammation, swelling, and soreness. Bunions can become painful and cause you to walk incorrectly, leading to pain in other parts of your body.

Health Problems Elsewhere in the Body That Signal a Poor Fit

Another sign of a poor fitting shoe is pain or discomfort elsewhere in your body. Watch for soreness in your lower back, legs, or hips. Poorly fitted shoes can throw your body's alignment off, leading to poor posture or an adjusted gait that causes problems in other parts of your body. Arch support is also a major part of a shoe's fit. Shoes that are too loose can lead to poor arch support, shin pain, and arch collapse. Loose-fitting shoes may also cause trips and falls, as your foot can't feel the surface as well as it should.

How To Find the Best Shoe Fit

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If you feel like your shoes are constantly hurting your feet, then it's time to find better-fitting shoes. Supportive, well-fitting shoes are life-changing. They can enhance your quality of life, prevent injuries, and improve your athletic activities. You'll find you can perform better or longer when your feet and body are well-supported and comfortable. Finding the correct fit for your feet is simply a combination of taking measurements, testing sizes, and observing how you feel.

Measure Your Feet and Test Multiple Sizes

Did you know that your shoe size can change even after you've reached adulthood? Pregnancy, medical conditions, and aging are some factors that lead to changes in your feet. So, the first step to finding the best shoe fit is to measure your feet anytime you buy new shoes. These measurements give you a starting point. You can find a Brannock Device at most shoe stores to measure the length, width, and arch of your foot.

Every shoe brand and style fits differently, depending on the shape of the shoe and the materials used to build it. Most footwear companies make shoes from universal foot molds. Everyone's feet are different, so it's essential to try on different shoes to find the best ones for your feet. Start by trying shoes in your measured size and then try a half size smaller followed by a half size larger. This method helps you to home in on the best fit for you.

Observe How the Fit Feels

Image via Flickr by AngryJulieMonday

To determine the best width, start at your arch and lightly squeeze up to the forefoot. If there's no give, and they give you a pinching feel, the shoes may be too tight. If there's a lot of extra space between the material and your foot, they are too loose. The next thing to consider is the top of your arch, known as the height of your foot.

Observe whether the insole arch fits comfortably against your foot. If it's too flat, you won't have enough support, but if it's too large, you'll have too much pressure on your arch. Much of proper shoe fitting comes down to how they feel as you move around while wearing them. Don't be afraid to walk, jump, or run a bit while testing the sizing. Do whatever you need to do in order to make sure the shoes are the best fit for the activity you plan to do in them.

Your foot health sets the standard for your whole body's health, especially when you participate in highly active sports. We hope you've enjoyed this deeper look into why your shoe's fit matters so much. 

Do you need more info about how our sports podiatrist specialist can help you prevent or recover from an injury? 

Contact us today so we can talk more about improving your health together.

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