I am a woman so a lot of the shoes I wear have absolutely nothing to do with comfort and function, they are all about fashion. But when I know I am going to be on my feet for long periods of time, walking, running, or hanging out at an amusement park I am all about comfort and function. Your feet are complex with arches that run both lengthwise and from side to side. As you walk your arches help distribute your body weight evenly across your feet. So how do you find the right shoe for your foot?
First we need to determine your arch type:
Fill the bath tub or a shallow pan and dip your foot in the water. Now step on a piece of colored paper. You can use a brown grocery sack if you don’t have any colored construction paper.
If you see most of your foot – You have low arches (or flat feet)
If you see very little of your foot – You have high arches
If you are somewhere in between – You have neutral arches
Now that you know your arch type here is what to look for in a shoe:
Low Arch – Look for a shoe with motion control. Your feet have a tendency to roll inward putting stress on your feet and knees. You need good stabilization for your foot.
High Arch – You need extra arch cushioning for shock absorbency.
Neutral Arch – Firm midsole and rear-foot stability.
Selecting the proper shoe will increase comfort, reduce injuries and keep you on your feet longer. Be aware that your foot changes size even in adult hood and your arches can lower over time.
Things to look for in an all around good athletic shoe:
- A rounded toe box, this helps prevent blisters and calluses. If you struggle with blisters make sure your socks are form fitting and still have their elasticity. If you are still having issues try microfiber socks. They are expensive but still cheaper than the pain and discomfort blisters cause.
- A reinforced heel.
- An Achilles notch will reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.
- A thick insole that conforms to the shape of your arch. Do not compromise on this keep trying on shoes until you get a pair that fits perfectly.
- A gel pad between the insole and the outer sole will really minimize impact. Gel pads can be added to your shoes but shoes now come with this feature already built in. 10 pounds of excess body weight adds up to 30 pounds of additional pressure.
- If you have low arches look for a roller ball that is positioned under the arch, this will keep your foot from rolling inward when you walk.
A sole with over all tread will provide good traction.
- Laces that stay tied and keep your shoe firmly in place.