If you really think about it, our shoes is where we stand most hours of the day. Our spine, posture and body are fully supported on your choice of shoe wear.
Shouldn’t we pay a little more attention to the wardrobe piece that does so much for us? Choosing your shoes is not like going through a rack of t-shirts — there are multiple factors to balance when buying a new pair.
And for the shoes you already have, I bet there is at least one pair or two that you avoid wearing because they simply aren’t the most comfortable to wear!
Many problems can arise due to feet discomfort on your shoes. Here’s a small list of foot problems that can happen if you don’t put comfort first:
- Hammer toes (this condition can cause permanent foot disfiguration! This happens when you use very tight shoes at the front, that make your toes constrict in the space they have, which results in the middle toe having to dislocate to make the room necessary for the foot on the long run)
- Corns (when the skin of the feet are in direct contact with friction, it can cause it to build up hard layers of extra cells to fight it — resulting in hard lumps of yellowish skin that can lead to injuries, blisters, sores, etc)
- Diabetic foot (diabetics have to be extra careful about their choices because their feet are much more sensitive due to nerve damage in the area of the foot — this condition can lead to serious infection after blisters and sores appear, along with severe pain)
- Bunions (by wearing mostly shoes with narrow/pointed fronts, your big toe starts to get deviated in angle and instead of pointing forward it starts pointing to the other toes — this is a severe physical alteration)
- Ingrown nails (when the nails start digging or growing into your toe causing infection and severe pain)
There are many more ways in which you can be affected by not wearing comfortable or ergonomic shoes. Feeling comfortable when you try them for the first time isn’t the only prerequisite.
You have to look out for details and shapes that might take the comfort away in a short while.
If you haven’t been to a podiatrist you might not even now if you have a high arched foot (which requires an extra padding for support ) or a flat foot (which needs specific insole shaping).
If you don’t know how high or low your foot arch is, you can do this simple test at home:
- Get a sheet of coloured paper (like a paper shopping bag) and wet the soles of your feet. Step on that paper with your back straight for a few seconds and step back. You will see your foot prints and they’re really easy to analyse — if between the marks of your toes and your heel you only see a thin line of wet paper, it is because you have a high arched foot or feet. If the area between your toes and heels is well covered you have flat feet. This will give you an idea of what you need to do to maximise comfort and protect your feet from injury.
New shoes — things to consider
When shopping for new shoes (no matter which style) you’ll try them on and check out how walking feels on them. Now, our feet are like every other element in our body – we are not symmetrical and one foot can be a big larger than the other or longer. You have to make sure that pair of shoes feels right on both feet. It’s always better to go one number up if you feel the shoe tight in one foot than choosing a number down.
Take a look at the way the sole bends — is it hard to bend when walking? Maybe it’s too hard? Try to get a pair that is more flexible. Does it have any padding on the insole for your arch? That is always a plus.
Check the back of the shoes — is the back padded? Or does it create a certain friction on your heel while walking? Also, is the fabric breathable? Or is it completely encapsulated so your skin won’t breathe or vent properly?
Take these questions and consider them when shopping.
Making your shoes comfortable
You can now choose the pairs of shoes with new considerations but even if you have many pairs laying around due to being uncomfortable to wear, there are some solutions to get you comfortable:
- First, take all the shoes you wear the most and those you avoid wearing – you will try them on and make a basic check-up of problems you might find in comfort — toss aside the ones for which you find no resolution.
- If you find a pair of shoes that is too tight (or maybe just one shoe is tight and the other fits) take it to a shoe-repair shop and ask for it or them to be stretched out. They have amazing solutions for all kinds of shoe fabrics, just explain where it feels more tight and they will do the work. If you want try a home-made repair do this: fill a small plastic bag with water. Just enough that it will fit tightly in the part of the shoe you want to be stretched. Carefully close the bag so it won’t leak and place it inside the shoe. Put the shoe inside another bigger plastic bag (for hygienic reasons) and let it stay on the freezer overnight. When the water inside the shoe turns into ice, it will enlarge in size and force any fabric to stretch a bit.
- Invest in a good couple of orthopaedic insoles. These will fit in every shoes you wear and should give you the support you need (especially if you have high arched feet or flat feet). There are amazing insoles made of gel that work wonders in giving your feet the comfort they deserve.
- If you have shoes that cause friction on any part of your foot, you can easily line the zone that is causing you that trouble with a fabric like cotton. Inside padding will stop the friction and you’ll be able to wear those shoes without a problem.
- If the insoles of your shoes don’t fit your foot sole right, take them off and replace them with an insole you can buy at any pharmacy. Go for something that is usually directed at consumers that have to spend long hours standing — those are guaranteed to satisfy you.
- If you have no problem wearing high heels but in the end of the day you find that your toes are hurting from being pressed against the front of the shoe, just add small gel padding for the front of your foot. And if the material of the shoe is natural (like leather), you can spread a bit of moisturiser so the next time you walk on them they will soften a bit and adapt better to your shape. When you wear heels, the front area of your feet is your centre of gravity so all your weight is being supported by a very small section of your foot — it isn’t hard to understand why we should pay more attention to that.
- If you have high-arched feet, probability is you have a high foot, which means that shoelaces will work a lot better than other closing option (zips or elastics on top). Always open up your shoe laces to the max and work them along the correct position to bring you the best fit. Never let the last row closed and force your foot through — the feet must enter easily and fit a bit loose.
- Wash your insoles regularly! They tend to lose their original shape due to the pressure but when washed, they tend to come back to their original shape and provide you the best padding. It also keeps bacteria and sweat at bay.
If you take good care of the shoes you wear and maximise their comfort with some extras or tricks, you will easily avoid many of the problems you may be facing now. Start today and give your feet the comfort they need to be healthy. Hopefully we have answered your question on how to make your shoes comfortable.
Writer’s Bio: Jane Grates
Gamer. Travel advocate. Freelance communicator. Passionate explorer. Analyst. Coffeeaholic. Hipster-friendly food buff.
Jane manages Nicershoes.com, Runnerclick.com and Monicashealthmag.com on her free time. She has also been featured in several running and fashion blogs around the world.