primary purpose of shoes is to protect your feet and prevent
injury. But in order to do so, they must fit well. Poorly fitted
shoes--shoes that are too narrow, too short or too large--can
cause discomfort, injury and even permanent deformity.
the components of proper fit can help you make sensible shoe
purchases for yourself and your family. This brochure describes
the parts of a shoe and how they can affect fit. It also discusses
special considerations related to children's, men's, women's, work
and athletic shoes, and provides recommendations on footwear
style is often a key consideration in choosing a pair of shoes,
the most important quality to look for in shoes--from a practical
standpoint--is durable construction that will protect your feet
and keep them comfortable. In selecting shoes, keep this basic
principle of good fit in mind: Your shoes should conform to the
shape of your feet; your feet should never be forced to conform to
the shape of a pair of shoes. Soreness, blisters, callouses, and,
with time, permanent disfigurements can be caused by habitually
crowding your feet into shoes that don't fit well.
of a Shoe
shoe is composed of different parts. Understanding the basics of
shoe construction can help you choose intelligently from among the
thousands of available styles.
toe box is the tip of the shoe that provides space for the toes.
The toe box may be rounded or pointed and will determine the
amount of space provided for the toes.
vamp is the upper middle part of the shoe where the laces are
commonly placed. Sometimes Velcro is used instead of laces.
sole consists of an insole and an outsole. The insole is inside
the shoe; the outsole contacts the ground. The softer the sole,
the greater the shoe's ability to absorb shock.
heel is the bottom part of the rear of the shoe that provides
elevation. The higher the heel, the greater the pressure on the
front of the foot.
last is the part of the shoe that curves in slightly near the arch
of the foot to conform to the average foot shape. This curve
enables you to tell the right shoe from the left. On occasion. an
orthopaedic surgeon may prescribe a child's shoe that has a
straight or reverse last.
material from which the shoe is made can affect fit and comfort.
Softer materials decrease the amount of pressure the shoe places
on the foot. Stiff materials can cause blisters. A counter may be
used to stiffen the material around the heel and give support to
your feet may vary in size, ask the salesperson to measure the
length and width of each of your feet.
feet expand when bearing weight, so stand while your feet are
swelling during the course of the day can enlarge your feet,
have your feet measured at the end of the day.
shoes you buy should be fitted to your longer and wider foot.
Although the toe box should be spacious, too much space can
cause the feet to slide around in the shoes, possibly causing
blisters or abrasions.
should be fitted carefully to your heel as well as your toes.
Check to make sure your heel does not slip out of the back of
around in the shoes to make sure they fit well and feel
select a shoe by size alone. A size 10 in one brand or style
may be smaller or larger than the same size in another brand
or style. Buy the shoe that fits well.
a shoe that conforms as closely as possible to the shape of
your feet measured regularly. Their size may change as you
the shoes feel too tight. don't buy them. There is no such
thing as a "break-in period." With time, a foot may
push or stretch a shoe to fit. But this can cause foot pain
one of your feet is considerably larger than the other, an
insole can be added to the shoe on the smaller foot.
shoes can be comfortable, too.
don't need shoes until they begin walking, usually at around 12 to
15 months of age. Until then, socks or booties are enough to
protect a crawling infant's feet and keep them warm. When your
child does begin standing and walking, however, shoes provide an
excellent form of protection from injury. After your child begins
wearing shoes, there is nothing wrong with letting him or her go
good time to buy your child's first pair of shoes is when he or
she starts standing and walking. Shoe stores that specialize in
children's shoes are likely to offer the widest range of sizes and
styles, and will usually take more time to make sure a pair of
shoes fits properly.
try to force your child's feet to fit a pair of shoes.
soft, pliable shoe with plenty of room, such as a sneaker, is the
ideal shoe for children of all ages. The toe box should provide
enough space for growth, and should be wide enough to allow the
toes to wiggle. (A finger's breadth of extra length will usually
allow for about three to six months' worth of growth, though this
can vary depending on your child's age and rate of growth.)
your child frequently removes his or her shoes, those shoes may be
uncomfortable. Check your child's feet periodically for signs of
too-tight shoes, such as redness, callouses or blisters. And have
your child's feet measured periodically at the shoe store to
determine whether his or her feet have grown enough to warrant a
larger pair of shoes.
that the primary purpose of shoes is to prevent injury. Shoes
seldom correct children's foot deformities or change a foot's
growth pattern. Casting, bracing or surgery are often needed if a
serious deformity is present. If you notice a problem, have your
child examined by an orthopaedic surgeon.
high-top shoes tie above the ankle, they are recommended for
younger children who may have trouble keeping their shoes on.
Contrary to common belief, however, high-top shoes offer no
advantages in terms of foot or ankle support over their low-cut
men's shoes conform to the shape of the feet and have a roomy toe
box with sufficient horizontal and vertical space and a low heel
(usually about half an inch high). Soles made of hard materials
such as leather or soft materials such as crepe can both be worn,
but softer soles tend to be more comfortable. If you stand for
extended periods of time, shoes with soft, pliable soles will
protect your feet and help keep them comfortable.
shoes are also available with varying characteristics, depending
on the wearer's occupation. Boots made of thick leather with steel
toe boxes can be worn to protect the feet from injury. Boots with
varying degrees of traction also are available.
shoes (one inch or lower) with a wide toe box are the ideal choice
for women. An ample toe box that can accommodate the front part of
the foot is as important as the heel in determining fit.
pointed-toe shoes can cause numerous orthopaedic problems, leading
to discomfort or injury to the toes, ankles, knees, calves and
back. Most high heeled-shoes have a pointed, narrow toe box that
crowds the toes and forces them into an unnatural triangular
shape. These shoes distribute the body's weight unevenly, placing
excess stress on the ball of the foot and on the forefoot. This
uneven distribution of weight, coupled with the narrow toe box
characteristic of most high heels, can lead to discomfort, painful
bunions, hammertoes. and other deformities.
height of the heel makes a dramatic difference in the pressure
that occurs on the bottom of the foot. As heel height increases,
the pressure under the ball of the foot may double, placing
greater pressure on the forefoot as it is forced into the pointed
low-heeled shoes can cause problems if they don't fit well. Years
of wearing too-small shoes can lead to permanent deformities.
purpose of athletic shoes is to protect the feet from the specific
stresses encountered in a given sport and to give the player more
traction. A jogging shoe will be designed differently from an
aerobics shoe, for example. The differences in design and
variations in material, weight, lacing characteristics and other
factors among athletic shoes are meant to protect the areas of the
feet that encounter the most stress.
key ingredient in a well-fitted athletic shoe is comfort. A good
fit will reduce blisters and other skin irritations.
orthopaedist is a medical doctor with extensive training in the
diagnosis, and nonsurgical and surgical treatment of the
musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, ligaments,
tendons, muscles and nerves.