Staff Tips: What To Look For When Buying New Shoes

What you’re looking for in a shoe will differ based on the shape of your foot, the type of shoe you’re buying, and the purpose of the shoe. It’s hard to draw a hard line in the sand with fixed rules but our staff rely on a few key principles to help our customers find their best fit in-store that we wanted to share with you here as well. 

Your starting point should always be to measure your feet (check out our blog on how to do that by clicking here). This will give you a good starting point by helping you understand the shape of your foot and what you’re looking for in a shoe. And don’t heed pressure from well-meaning partners that insist too big is better than too small. If blisters are your idea of ‘better’ then go right ahead, but if not, then read on.


1- Fit & function

We recommend leaving the width of a thumb between your longest toe and the front of your shoe in order to avoid getting your toes squished. This could restrict the muscles in your feet and result in foot problems. When you push down on the toe box with your fingers you should be able to feel a half or full thumb’s width of space. You should be focused on having that little bit of wiggle room in the toe box while ensuring your heels don’t move up and down. 


How snugly you’d like the shoe to fit throughout is a matter of preference and often comes down to the shoe’s function. Hiking boots and athletic shoes should fit a little more snugly. Winter boots will fit a little more widely to accommodate thick winter socks. But keep in mind that your foot should not be slipping in and out of your shoes. This will cause blisters and discomfort.


2- Narrow feet 

Laces are your best friend. Or any shoe with adjustable features, for that matter. This becomes especially important when you’re looking at shoes that need to fit more snugly, like athletic footwear. Sneakerslace-up boots and flats with adjustable details are perfect for this.


3- Bunions

With bunions, you’ll be looking for wider shoes, especially around the balls of your feet, to help reduce pressure on your bunions. You also want to look for something with a soft upper and no stitching around the crease line/bunion area. We recommend avoiding shoes with zips as they offer less flexibility, stretch and wiggle room and may add pressure to your bunion.


4- High Arches

If you have high arches, you’re looking for shoes with enough depth to accommodate them. Avoid anything that exerts pressure on the top of your foot as that is a clear indicator that the shoe is too tight. 


5- Final Tips

Always try your shoes on with the socks you intend to wear them with as that can add a significant amount of bulk. In fact, you also need to be measuring your feet with those socks on as well, as we explain in this blog post, to ensure you’re getting your measurements right.


Look out for pressure points too. If they’re appearing at the start, they’re unlikely to disappear after you break the shoe in. 


This also goes for anything that feels uncomfortable about the shoe at the start. Breaking in only allows the material to soften, mould to the shape of your foot and possibly loosen a little but it won’t make an uncomfortable shoe comfortable. Watch out for pain, blisters, calluses, cramping and any areas where the material cuts into your foot.

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