Shoes make or break an outfit, but what they also break are your stamina, pace, and feet, if they don’t fit properly. According to top podiatrists in Pakistan, Ill-fitting shoes that don’t take foot shape into account are the primary culprit behind most foot deformities and problems like hammer toe, claw toe, bunions, and heel pain. So, here’s a comprehensive guide to determining and buying the best shoes according to your foot type:
The Wet Test:
Wet your feet thoroughly and step firmly over high-absorbency paper. Now match the impression with one of the following descriptions for your foot type:
- Neutral: The heel, ball of the foot, and big toe are visible and near-aligned with a plain inward curve that is no more than 3/4th of an inch.
- High Arch: Only a small part of the heel and ball are visible with a highly pronounced inward curve. It is also known as ‘Supinated (outward rolling) foot’.
- Flat Foot: All parts of the foot are clearly visible with a slight inward curve or none at all. It is also known as a ‘Low Arch or Pronated (inward rolling) foot’.
People with neutral feet can technically wear any shoe type due to normal arches and a regular supination/pronation cycle (the foot’s inward and outward rolling motions during walking and running that help retain balance). However, they should still consider proper heel height (ideally no more than 2 inches) and walkability when buying shoes.
Since the middle of the foot doesn’t come in contact with the ground during motion, the foot’s shock absorbency is reduced by putting extra pressure on the front and back foot. This leads to balancing issues and pain in the heels, balls of the feet, and knees. Extremely narrowed feet also accompany high arches, which further increases the chances of foot damage due to sizing issues.
- Best: To minimize the impact of reduced shock absorbency, shoes with rubberized heels, extra side-cushioning, and a soft midsole are commonly recommended. Lace up shoes and cork wedges are good options for high arched feet. For narrow feet, shoes with adjustable straps are recommended to match the foot shape and keep it in place.
- Worst: High heels are especially damaging as they provide no lever or grip for proper foot movement. Similarly, flat and slip-on shoes are also not recommended due to no arch support.
Loosened or underdeveloped ligaments at the bottom of the feet result in fallen arches or ‘flat feet’. Since the foot rolls inward while walking and places extra foot-wide pressure, people with flat feet are highly prone to tripping and falling, along with shin splints, muscle cramps, and heel, knee, and lower back pain. Weight gain during the third trimester of pregnancy can also induce temporary arch collapse. Wide, outward-splaying toes are also a prime side-effect of low arches.
- Best: Closed shoes with broad, rounded toes can help control the widening of the toes that results from continuous high pressure and full foot contact with the ground, along with the absence of defined arches. Conversely, open summer sandals with low heels are also a good option. Similarly, wide kitten heels (2-2 ½ inches) are also suitable. However, if you want to wear higher heels, opt for wide block heels for improved stability.
- Worst: Ballerina pumps, slip-ons, pointy-toed shoes, and flip flops only increase foot widening and pressure, and are hence not recommended.
Feet continue to grow long past adulthood, so consider getting a professional foot measurement from a certified podiatrist at least once every 1-2 years to uncover any structural foot issues and accurately determine size changes.
You can also book an appointment with a top Orthopedic Specialist or top Podiatrist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your foot-related concerns.
About the Writer:
Yashfa Marrium is a freelance writer and health enthusiast. You can reach her at [email protected].