Did you know that 80% of the population wears the wrong shoe size? Many feet related problems can be prevented just by wearing properly fitted shoes. Ask yourself, when was the last time I had my foot measured? We recommend that you have it measured every year.
Often people have the mind set that they wear a particular size in every shoe. If I had a nickel for every time I heard the phrase I wear a size … I would be a wealthy lady! I always use the analogy “Do you wear the same size jeans in every style and every brand?” Shoes are similar in that each brand has their own sizing, there is no standard and companies make multiple different “lasts” in order to fit different foot shapes. Even Brannock devices measure different according to brands. It is best to remember that shoe fitting is an art and not a science. Use the Brannock device as a starting point and go from there.
I often hear people say “I feel my heel slipping, so this must be too big.” A little bit of movement from the bottom of the shoe is normal. If you are physically coming out of the top line of the shoe when you walk then yes, it is most likely too big or too small.
Should I be able to get a finger behind my heel in an athletic shoe? A properly fitted shoe should leave about a quarter of an inch in front of your big toe to the end of your shoe which will allow you to slide your foot forward, forming a gap between your heel and the back of the shoe. The foot will naturally shift forward in a shoe when you walk; therefore you want to allow just enough room so your toe nail is not being pushed back every time you take a step. If you often get black toe nails (runners/tennis toe) than you most likely are wearing your shoe too small or too narrow.
Our bodies are not symmetrical and it is normal to have one foot larger than the other. We often find a half size difference between two feet. It is recommended that you always fit your larger foot. However, if the difference between your feet is a size or more, you might want to consider buying two different size shoes to accommodate both. Discuss with you Pedorthist as shoe modifications can sometimes alleviate this problem. Some shoe stores will offer a discount on the second pair when you have a significant size difference between the two feet or are wearing a brace on one foot.
If you have been wearing your shoes too small, a proper size may feel a bit odd. Shoes mold to your feet over time, so sometimes we don’t realize the damage we’ve caused by wearing them too small. We’ve all heard the sayings “You don’t know, what you don’t know” and “Just because it feels normal doesn’t mean it is right”. Sometimes change is a good thing as is going outside your comfort zone. Wear the new, properly fit shoes a week or so, then put the old ones on and you might surprise yourself at how small your old shoes really were.
Our American Board Certified Pedorthists are available by appointment to help you find the right footwear for your everyday needs. When you come in for your appointment please remember to bring the following with you:
Any brace or orthotic you are wearing, the two pairs of shoes you wear the most or shoes you’ve been having issues with, the prescription from your doctor if your doctor sent you, and the socks you will be wearing with the shoes.
– Jamie Graham, C.Ped