Walking Strongly On: The Complete Online Guide to Choosing Shoes That Are Right for You

There are tons of shoes out there waiting for a foot to take a walk or a run in them. But sadly, most of these shoes are not very comfortable or good for your foot health. You only get one pair of feet to carry you from birth to death, so taking good care of your stompers is a must. Did you know that the average human walks 110,000 miles in their lifetime? Seems like your boots really do need to be made for walking. But choosing the shoes that are right for you can be a little daunting, so this online guide is here to help you.

[ photo: pexels.com by ingo joseph ]


Read the description of the shoe thoroughly. You can find this very easily online, but it is also found on the side of the box or on the shoe’s packaging. It can also be found displayed near the shoe when you find shoes on sale. If you see any features that strike your fancy, like memory foam midsoles, heel collars, and removable insoles. Heel collars cushion the ankle and create a better fit and roll bars provide you with stability. All of these things can sway your decision and make the shoe appear more appealing.

Make sure you don’t get too caught up in the features though. If a shoe comes with special insoles or insoles that are marketed as being special, it is likely that you can replace your insole with one that better fits your foot. Some features are great for specific purposes. For instance a mesh upper is useful for running shoes because it allows your foot to breathe.

Know Your Arch Type

There’s a lot going on in your foot when you walk and run. You have ligaments, tendons muscles and bones that all work together flexing, contracting and relaxing to allow you movement. The arch of your foot helps to distribute your weight as you move and it also helps your foot to conform to different types of terrains and surfaces.

There are three types of foot arches. They are natural arch, low arch or flat foot and high arch. Each of these arch types present different needs to keep your foot and your footwear comfortable. If you have a natural arch you want a shoe with a firm midsole, moderate rear foot stability and a straight to semi-curved sole shape. Low arched feet need straight shaped soles and motion control for stabilization. Feet with high arches need curved shaped soles and plenty of cushioning in the midsole and insole.

One of the easiest ways to determine your arch type is to step in water and then step on a dry surface like cardboard or concrete. You’ll be able to see your footprint and just how much of the sole of your foot is in contact with the ground when you step. Before your footprint evaporates, take note of the width and length of your foot, the spacing of your toes and the length of your arch. When less of your footprint is visible, you likely have higher arches, and when more of your footprint is visible, you likely have lower arches.

Know Your Foot Shape

One way to get to know the shape of your foot is to do the same thing you do when determining your arch type, but a more lasting method is to trace around your foot on a sheet of paper. The sheet of paper lasts a lot longer than a wet footprint will. You can take it with you when you are shopping for shoes and place a potential shoe on top of the outline. If the shoe doesn’t cover your entire footprint, then you know that you’ll be wasting your time trying the shoe on because it’s not going to contain your entire foot very well.

Knowing that you have a particularly wide or narrow foot will help you choose the right shoe. If you have wide feet, you know you need to purchase shoes that come in wide sizes for maximum comfort and to get a longer life span from the shoe. And if you have a narrow foot you won’t make the mistake of choosing shoes that have a straighter shape that will make you want to wear an extra pair of socks to keep your foot in place.

Getting the Right Fit

When it comes to getting the right fit there are a few things you can do. When you go shoe shopping it’s a good idea to wear the type of socks that you will be wearing when you wear the shoes. Going shoe shopping later in the day when you’ve been on your feet for a while gives you a good idea of how they’ll fit your foot when your feet are at their largest. Make sure the shoes you buy have at least a half-inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. And try to walk in the shoes before you commit to buying them. Another tip is to take your favorite shoe inserts with you and put it in the shoe if you can.

Remember to Replace Your Shoes

Now that you know what to look for in a shoe, you can feel more confident when it’s time to replace them. Whether or not your shoes are showing outward signs of needing replacement, you should retire them before they get you down.The insoles, soles and midsoles are often the first things to lose their effectiveness. Since these parts provide a lot of the support, when those start to go, it’s time to start looking for another pair or shoes.

Most athletic shoes have a lifespan of 300 to 400 miles, but some running shoes may take you a lot farther, just listen to what your body is telling you about your footwear. Leather shoes can last indefinitely when they are properly cared for and stored. If you’re able to get to a shoemaker or cobbler, you may be surprised at the simple suggestions they give you to prolong the life of your shoes.

Shoes that don’t fit properly can be the source of so many problems. It is definitely worth the effort to find out what works for your unique feet. When you know what features work best with your foot, you can buy shoes that are comfortable, properly fitted and worry-free. The ability to shoe shop with confidence will have you walking with confidence in no time.

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