The perfect shoe purchase


Trying on shoes

You may think this is simply choosing the pair that appeals to you the most in a visual sense, as well as the pair that’s the most appropriate. For many people, that’s the extent of their shoe-buying decisions.


However, for people with mobility problems, and/or issues with their feet, the decision-making process is more in-depth when it comes to buying new footwear.


Even if you don’t already suffer from any ailments relating to your feet, that doesn’t mean you never will. As mammals that walk upright, when you add up how many hours we spend on our feet over our lifetimes, you’ll likely appreciate how important it is to look after them.


On that note, here are some things to consider when buying your next pair of shoes…


Does the job

As mentioned, everyone will have this in mind when shoe-shopping, i.e. choosing the pair that’s suited to what you’re going to do. For example, few people would choose stilettos to go cross-country running, nor opt for a pair of crocs if they’re going to be walking through puddles in rainy weather. Nor would you opt for trainers with a smart suit, unless you were a Hollywood A-lister or someone wishing to make some sort of fashion statement—most men or women would choose a formal shoe to match their attire in this instance.


It's not rocket science that you should choose the style of shoe/boot that best matches the activity you’ll be doing when you wear them. For some people, comfort may win out every time, and it may be that they do wear trainers with every kind of attire, because the pain and discomfort they feel if they wear any other style of shoe dictates this. If that’s the case, we certainly wouldn’t disagree with you—comfort counts for a hell of a lot.


Support

Again, depending on what you will be doing when wearing your new shoes, the level of support your new footwear offers may be synonymous to its style. However, people with fallen arches or plantar fasciitis will need further support than normal footwear designs typically afford. This may mean adding special inserts to support the arch of the foot or choosing a style of shoe that has a small heel or thicker sole than what’s typical.


Even if you’re only shopping for slippers, if you need extra support, look for styles that mimic shoes, with material at the sides and over the heel, rather than mules, for example.


Reducing risk
Foot hurting from bad shoes

If you’re someone with mobility issues, it’s a good idea to opt for shoes and slippers with rubber soles, as these will grip the ground better than plastic soles will, especially if it’s been raining or a surface is slippery. You’ll enjoy even greater traction and stability if the shoe/slipper has a wide, square heel.


For someone looking to add inches to their height, stilettos aren’t the only option. Look at wedges or block heel styles, which will be easier to walk in and which will offer a little extra stability. You can also reduce the risk of accidents by choosing a pair that has ankle straps, which will at least keep the shoes on your feet.


If the pair you’ve set your heart on have a stiletto heel, you could ask a cobbler to take an inch off their height to make them more stable. A sprained ankle isn’t much fun if you lose your balance in sky-scraper style heels, and there are far worse injuries documented from the wearing of such shoes—believe us!


Don’t make poor decisions

It may be that the shoes you want are the last ones of that design in the shop…but, oh no, they’re a size too small! However much you may love them, it’s not worth squeezing your feet into shoes that will ultimately cause you pain. You may believe that the shoes will ‘give’—after you’ve worn them for a few hours, though, the pain in your feet will confirm that you’ve made a mistake.


You could do lasting damage to your feet for the sake of your vanity; it’s really not worth it. You could develop bunions, endure blisters…your toes could even become deformed if you repeatedly wear shoes that don’t fit properly. Few shoes expand to the point that they’d be classed as another size up; a little give, maybe, but this is a huge ask for any material. Value your feet and your mobility over the latest fashion.


Times change

Your feet don’t stay the same size once you reach adulthood. They may still have growth spurts, or they may fluctuate with significant weight gain/loss. You may suffer from water/fluid retention or conditions of this ilk and find that you can’t wear certain shoes until the swelling has receded.


Shoe styles that may have suited you a few years ago may not be the most comfortable for you now. If you’re spending a decent amount of money on a pair of shoes, we’d recommend getting your feet professionally measured before handing over your cash.


You get what you pay for

It’s hardly surprising that cheaper shoes don’t have the same generosity of material, fit and longevity that more expensive pairs enjoy. Fast fashion isn’t synonymous with quality. Cheap shoes can fall apart at inopportune moments, they can be tripping hazards, or they could cause blisters and bunions because they simply don’t fit well or have the ability to mould to the wearer’s true shape.


As we’ve said before, we take our mobility for granted until we’re without it. Paying that bit more for good quality, well-fitting shoes isn’t just an investment in your appearance, it’s also an investment towards your long-term health.


What other considerations would you add?