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By Dr. Kyle Stunden

Buying news shoes is always a gamble, is’t it? Some people say ‘Just go and try a few pairs, buys what fits, and you are done.’ If only things were that simple. The reason being, not all shoes are created equal. Good shoes are light weight but supportive of the foot and able to absorb impact when walking or running. No matter the season, give your feet (and the rest of your body) a good chance at comfort and ability to perform physical activities of all kinds.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before selecting shoes:

  • What activities will they be used for?
  • How long are you going to be on your feet?
  • What kinds of shoe has worked previously?
  • What kinds of shoes have not worked?

If you are wondering how to get the right answers to the above questions, here are some helping tests to help you when evaluating footwear:

 

  1. Torsional Rigidity “Dishrag Test” – To keep it simple if you grab the heel in one hand and the front of the shoe with the other you shouldn’t be able to twist it like your trying to “ring out” a cloth.

Figure 1: Image from http://www.mirondc.ca/blog/tag/foot-posture/

 

 

 

 

  1. Heel Counter Rigidity “Pinch Test” – With your thumb on one side of the heel and your pointer finger on the other you shouldn’t be able to squeeze your fingers together.

Figure 2: Image from http://www.mirondc.ca/blog/tag/foot-posture/

 

 

 

  1. Flexion Stability “Fold Test” – Attempt to fold the shoe in half. Ideally it will bend at the ball of the foot and you won’t be able to fold it in half.

Figure 3: Image from http://www.mirondc.ca/blog/tag/foot-posture/

 

 

 

  1. Shelf Test – With the shoe on a flat surface, look down the length of the shoe and check to see if the shoe is level. Well-worn shoes that are no longer even should be replaced as significant wear impacts the way you walk.

Figure 4: Image from http://therightshoe.net/what-worn-shoes-say-about-you/

Casual shoes: When weight isn’t important and you are looking for style, there is one feature you cannot ignore: your shoes need to have adequate support for walking you through a long day. Your feet will thank you, and you will be in better health for it.

Running Shoes: Weight, support, comfort are all factors at play when it comes to your running shoes. Ensure that you are purchasing shoes for the type of running you perform. For example, recreational street running versus trail running. When you go off the pavement, choose running shoes that have more aggressive treads to grip muddy trails.

Work boots: Opt for composite or alternatives to steel toes or steel shanks when required to help keep weight down. Other things to consider are breathability, which translates into healthy feet and comfort throughout long days of work. If you can find something to help keep your feet dry and comfortable throughout the day, go for it.

Orthotics

While this in itself is a completely separate and bigger topic, it’s important to consider the shoes you are putting your orthotics into. In the event that your shoes fail the above tests, the orthotics we make through computerized gait assessment and casting technology are less likely to meet the needs of your painful feet.

In other words, it all starts with properly fitting shoes and getting better, if need be, from there.

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