|English: Red High Heel Pumps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Some studies indicate that up to 80% of the population is wearing shoes that are too small. Wearing shoes that are too small can lead to a plethora of foot pathologies including bunions, hammertoes, Morton’s neuroma, metatarsalgia, etc. Bottom line, PAIN.
How could so many people wear their shoes too small? Some were brought up to think the shoe had to fit like a tight glove. In certain areas of the shoe, it should be snug, but not tight. Also In some sport activities, the shoe should be even snugger but especially not so around the toes.
Any shoe that is exhibiting too much pressure from side to side can cause rubbing on the big toe joint, the little toe joint and on the toes, leading to capsulitis and pain. A chronic rubbing on the skin can lead to corns and callous formation which is thickened skin for protection. However, as long as the chronic rubbing is present, the skin will continue to build up. Eventually, this will feel like a stone or rock taped to your foot leading to inflammation and pain. The tight shoe can also cause your toes to curl which may lead to misalignment of the joints. Misaligned joints lead to osteoarthritis or wear and tear joint deterioration. Also, bunions and hammertoes can be enhanced by yet in most cases not caused by the tight shoe. The tight shoe simply aggravates or enhances their formation and often increases pain.
We often find that some think a tight shoe will support their foot. Although it may feel better because it limits overall motion, what it is actually doing is holding the foot in a bad position. This is usually not beneficial for support and function.
Overall, shoes that are too small or too tight can lead to improper function, less comfort and even pain.
How to be sure your shoes are not too small:
- Have your feet measured not only from the heelto the longest toe but most importantly the heel to the ball of the foot (the big toe joint). This is the most important measurement. A well designed shoe will for most cases be rigid on the bottom and only bend at the ball of the foot. It is imperative to match the ball of the foot with this bend of the shoe to allow the shoe to naturally move with the foot. Many times, when your foot is measured from the heel to the toe it may say a size 10, but when you measure the heel to the ball, it is a size 11. The 11 is the size you should get as it will match the bend of the shoe to your foot.
- Have your feet measured from side to side. The sizes vary more than just narrow medium and wide. They range from AAAA to EEEEEE. They should feel snug at the ball but not so tight that you can’t comfortably wiggle your toes.
- The girth of your foot needs to be taken into consideration. That is the height of your foot at the highest point of your arch. If it is especially high then you need to increase the measured width size.
- Not only should the toe box, or area around your toes, be the same shape of your foot but most importantly, when you have the shoe on, you should be able to slightly pinch the material of the shoe from side to side on top of your toes. If you can easily pinch the material, it is too big, if you can’t even come close to pinching it, it is too small.
- Finally, be sure the heel of your shoe is not too tight nor too loose, both, yes both, can cause rubbing on the heel or Achilles tendon causing blisters and pain. Ideally, in most cases the heel should slightly slip in the shoe when you are walking. Again, a little slip of the heel is ok, a lot is not.
Fitting of a shoe can be complex. Especially if your feet are not symmetrical, which most are not. The expert fitting specialistsat ArchMasters can help you find the ideal fit. We claim to fit feet, not shoes. We want you to have the most ideal fit to bring you function leading to comfort.
ArchMasters, a shoe store and a whole lot more!