Finding Good Footwear
The following tips on good footwear may prevent toe, foot, or ankle problems or injuries.
- Have your feet measured regularly.
The size of your feet may change as you grow older.
- Have both feet measured.
Often one foot is larger than the other. The shoes should be fitted to the larger foot.
- Don't choose shoes based on the size marked inside.
Sizes vary among shoe brands and styles. Pick shoes by how they fit your feet.
- Choose a shoe that fits the shape of your foot.
Look for a shoe that conforms as nearly as possible to the shape of your forefoot (the front, widest part of your foot).
- Look for roomy footwear with a wide toe box.
Consider laced shoes that have enough room for your toes to wiggle. Athletic shoes are a good choice. High-top laced shoes may give foot and ankle support.
- Make sure the heel fits.
Your heel should fit comfortably in the shoe with a minimum amount of slipping (pistoning).
- Avoid high-heeled, narrow, and pointed-toe shoes if you can.
High-heeled shoes increase pressure on the front of the foot. If you cannot avoid wearing pumps or high-heeled shoes, look for a pair that gives your toes more room.
- Choose shoes with heels that are no more than 2 in. ( 5 cm) high.
- Alternate these shoes with flat, roomy shoes to give your toes a chance to move freely.
- Look for shoes made of materials that "give" or stretch.
They will be the most comfortable for your toes and feet.
- Look for shoes that do not have seams.
This will prevent rubbing or irritation of the skin.
- Find comfortable shoes for home.
Consider sandals, soft leather flat shoes, slippers, or inexpensive cloth shoes for at-home wear. If you have an enlarged toe joint, cut a hole in the cloth shoes.
- Plan to buy your shoes at the end of the day.
Your foot is more swollen at the end of the day. Foot size may vary half a size from the morning to the evening or after a day at work.
- Stand during the fitting process.
Your foot is longer when you stand up. There should be one finger's width [about 0.5 in. ( 13 mm)] between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. For the most comfort, the shoe should not be more than 0.25 in. ( 6 mm) narrower than the width of your foot when you are standing.
- Walk around the store.
Make sure that the fit feels right in both shoes.
Current as of: March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine
Gavin W.G. Chalmers DPM - Podiatry and Podiatric Surgery