You walk into a store to purchase comfortable women’s shoes. You put them on, they feel good, they look good. You buy them. Two hours into the first time you wear these shoes, you realize it is rubbing the back of your heel, killing the sole of your foot or stripping the skin off the top of your fourth toe. It felt fine in the store, but you were probably just standing there and taking a step or two. Here are the steps you should be taking when ensuring a comfortable shoe, heel or boot…
1) Make sure your feet are in a normal state when trying on new shoes, meaning no open wounds and irritations or band aids.
2) Bring socks, if you plan to wear them with socks and wear tights if you plan to wear them with tights. Don’t bring any of these if you plan on going bare foot in the shoe.
3) When you take the new shoes out of its box, put both shoes on, not just one.
4) With shoes in question on your feet, don’t just stand there or tentatively walk to the mirror. I am going to ask you to make a fool of yourself. I want you to walk as far as legally possible – meaning don’t leave the store, but go to the farthest end of the premises. Now, that you are there, I want you to walk as fast as you can in the shoes to the other end of the store.
5) I know you are winded, but let’s evaluate. Did your heel fall out? If yes, pass. I know there are all sorts of shoe tricks and pads, but they kind of suck and rarely stay put or actually work. Did you feel tightness? Pass. Snugness is good because it keeps your feet in the shoe, but tightness creates blisters. Did you feel specific pressure on a certain area of your foot? Maybe the left side of your back heel or one of your toes. Any sensation that is specific to one part of your foot can create irritation later. Pass. Lastly, how hard did it feel on the pad of your foot? If there is not enough cushion, a few hours on your feet could lead to such pain, even a night’s sleep off your feet can’t cure it. Pass.
6) If the shoe passes your speedy strut test, keep them on for your remaining time in the store. Twenty minutes of browsing with said shoe on your feet will give you the last bits of information needed to predict its future performance, especially when purchasing heels. Heels or shoes with height affects the entire leg’s muscles and tendons, which can only be revealed by standing time. This is also a better indicator of how hard the shoe will be on your sole. So, if you feel your calf tightening as you take your third stroll pass a row of pumps in your potential new kicks, pass. The heel is too high.
As mentioned, if a shoe fails any of these tests and/or you looked awkward walking in the shoes, skip them. Keep looking. Hunting for a good shoe that doesn’t strain your leg, stays on your foot and has no areas of specific pressure is a long process, but worth it. Your tootsies and you will be so much happier if you get it right the first time.
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