Chances are, you know your shoe size, or hopefully you know your shoe size. The correct shoe size is key to ultimate comfort for your feet. After all, you don't want shoes that are too small or so big that the shoes easily slip off your feet.
However, you may not be able to find the right shoe for your foot going based on size alone. If you have abnormally shaped feet or feet that aren't typical, you will know that simple size won't ensure a comfortable fit. For instance, your feet may be narrow and "swim" in a standard size shoe or your foot is wide and need more width than a traditional shoe.
Besides comfort, why is the right shoe size important? Here are some reasons to not try and cram your foot into a cute flat or be content with wearing loose sneakers:
Constant, unpleasant wear. Aside from being uncomfortable to wear, improperly fitting shoes can also make walking unbearable and embarrassing. Always having to stop and get your foot back into the shoes or needing to constantly stop to rest your aching, swollen feet from tight-fitting shoes, makes walking around a chore. The constant worry about your shoes falling off or causing you discomfort can be embarrassing as well as keep you from enjoying the moment.
When your feet hurt, you are less motivated to use them, which can lower your desire and ability to exercise and take care of the rest of your body.
Increased risk of foot issues. Blisters aren't fun and depending on the size and location, they can make moving around difficult. The excessive rubbing of loose-fitting shoes and the overly-tight confines of shoes with a small fit can cause additional foot issues such as corns, bunions and ingrown toenails. The foot problems not only hurt and cause discomfort, they can also make your feet look bad, enhancing some self-consciousness for some people.
Foot issues associated with ill-fitting shoes can also lead to back, hip, knee and ankle problems which can lead to decreased mobility and quality of life.
Things to Keep in Mind When Shoe Shopping
While shoe shopping may seem like a straight-forward event, it is worth being reminded that our feet do change over time. Feet specialists recommend getting your feet measured once a year. Certain life events such as having children and aging can make feet widen, lengthen or shorten. In many people, there is usually one foot that is longer than the other. When shopping for shoes, plan your trip later in the day when the swelling of your feet has gone down. It is estimated that one's feet swells 10-15% during the course of the day, with the most swelling occurring in the middle day when you're likely on your feet the most.
Different shoe manufacturers design and style their shoes differently. The fit of each pair of shoes can also be significantly different. It isn't uncommon to fit one size in one brand of shoe and be a different size in another. It's important to spend time trying on different shoes from manufacturers to get a feel for whether each pair is suitable for your feet.
And, of course, to avoid the discomfort, embarrassment and foot issues, such as ingrown toenails, associated with ill-fitting shoes, avoid flat, unsupportive shoes such as flip-flops and shoes with high heels and a small toe box.
If you're not sure what the proper shoe size and fit is for your foot, schedule an appointment with your local foot specialist.