Am I wearing the right size shoes?

Have you bought shoes online lately? Have you ever purchased a pair of uncomfortable shoes in the hope that you will ‘break them in’ over time? Shoes serve to protect our feet, however, poorly fitting shoes can cause a myraid of foot problems including bunions, corns, hammertoes, stress fractures and more. Mirco trauma to the nails caused by wearing narrow-toed is also responsible for exacerbating common chronic diseases such as onychomycosis (OM). Constant rubbing is likely to break the barrier of the hyponychium, creating a gateway for dermatophyte fungi to invade the nail structure. As podiatrists it is our job to help you make long-term decisions that will positively impact your feet. If you are unsure whether you are wearing the right size shoes, we suggest that you consider the following:

  • No footwear should cause you pain. If you experience any discomfort in the initial stages of buying or wearing in a new pair of shoes, then it is highly likely that they are ill-fitting. In particular, if it gives you relief when removing your shoes then that is a red flag.
  • Always accommodate for your longest toe when it comes to the correct length. This is not always your big toe. Ideally 1.5cm or a thumbnail worth of space in front of your longest toe is the space you need at the end of your shoes to ensure appropriate length. If a footwear store offers to measure your feet it is always best to measure before trying on as different brands can vary in sizing.
  • Width and depth are just as important as length. When being fitted for footwear ensure that the widest part of your feet are not rubbing against the footwear to avoid discomfort. The widest part of everyone’s feet can differ and each foot can be shaped slightly differently. Depth is very important as it can cause repeated micro trauma to your toenails if toes are squished in your shoes.
  • Always ensure that you are wearing appropriate footwear based on your personal support requirements. If you are unsure about your foot type, a podiatrist can guide you in the right direction.
  • Account for swelling when it comes to choosing your footwear sizing and material. Although not everyone’s feet can become swollen, it is quite normal to experience mild swelling by the end of the day after a full day of activities.