Properly fitting shoes can make all the difference when it comes to comfort and foot pain. Here are 7 tips to remember when doing your shoe shopping:
1. Length, use the rule of thumb. A shoe needs to be a thumbs' width (or 1-2 cm) longer than your longest toe while standing. You should be able to freely wiggle your toes when the shoe is on. If one foot is slightly bigger than the other, accommodate the larger foot. You can also check by removing the insole from the shoe and comparing it against your foot. The insole should be longer by about the width of your thumb.
2. Sole flexion point. Bend the front of the shoe upwards. The sole of the shoe should flex where the big toe joint does - it shouldn't flex in the middle of the shoe where your arch is. The rear two-thirds of the shoe should be strong and difficult to bend.
3. Torsion test. Grab the shoe at the front and back and try to twist it (by rotating your hands in opposite directions). The shoe should not be easily distorted or deformed. If the sole of the shoe twists like a wet dish towel the sole of the shoe does not provide enough rigidity and support.
4. Heel counter rigidity. Press against the heel counter (the back spine of the shoe) and squeeze the sides of the heel counter. The heel counter is there to support the heel. Check that it is strong and not easily deformed and that the heel can't be pushed down into the shoe.
5. Shoe width. Similar to shoe length but often forgotten is shoe width. You should be able to grasp or pinch material of the upper portion of the shoe while standing. The joints of both the big and little toes should not protrude over the borders of the shoe.
6. Shop towards the end of the day. The optimum time to try out new shoes is towards the end of the day, since feet swell over the course of the day. Your shoes should fit your feet when they're at their largest.
7. Give the shoes a test drive. Try a different shoe if your heel lifts out or if the fit doesn't feel quite right. Although some materials like leather will stretch over time, too much tightness can cause discomfort over long durations. Running and walking shoes shouldn't need to be broken in, they should fit comfortably off the get go.