Choosing a “Comfort” Shoe?

The comfort shoe industry is growing.  This is due in part to people realizing how much better they feel to live in comfort with regards to their foot wear.

The definition of Comfort, as a noun is a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.  The word Comfort has now been assigned to a class of shoes called “Comfort Shoes.”  Well, duh! Who would want a shoe that hurts or is uncomfortable?  Seems obvious, however, this classification, Comfort, although abused by marketers and somewhat ambiguous, does have some features that you may want to consider.

Besides the obvious, look for these general features:

A rigid counter-that is the portion that wraps around your heel should be firm to assist your heel bone from moving around too much.

A rigid shank– that is the bottom or sole of the shoe should be firm from the heel to the ball of the foot.  It should only bend at the ball like your foot does when you walk.  It should not bend in half.  This will assist the short and long plantar (bottom) ligaments on the bottom of your foot, helping to reduce stress and strain.

The toe box should have ample space, not only in width but also height.  Reason is somewhat obvious here.

The sole should have a “last” or shape that matches your foot.  Example if you tend to toe in somewhat, then most likely your foot curves inward from the heel to the toes.  Shoe lasts can be straight to slightly curved to really curved.  Trying to fit your straight foot in a curved shoe is like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.

The upper or top material of the shoe should be made of material that is soft feeling, yet firm enough to resist abnormal motion of your feet, for example with over pronation.  Other options of uppers include laces vs velcro or buckle straps vs. slip on.  Each has their benefits and faults depending on your foot type.

The Foot bed– Most comfort shoes will have a removable foot bed so you can modify it with padding, etc., specific to your feet or you can replace it with another premade foot bed that better matches your feet or you can insert a custom made foot bed (orthotic) fabricated exactly to your feet.

So now that your geared with this knowledge, keep in mind some fitting points to consider when buying achieving your best comfort.

First, I believe there is no such thing as a “Perfect” nor “Proper” fit but rather an “Ideal Fit.”  The reason is that most of us do not have identically shaped feet left to right, yet shoes are manufactured identically!  Therefore, the fit on one foot has to be compromised.

Secondly it is not just a “Thumbs” length at the end of the shoe by your toes that determines the ideal length of the shoe but, most importantly where the big toe joint at the ball of your foot lines up with the bend of the shoe.  This is why one may have a great comfort shoe but if not ideally fit, then your comfort may be compromised.

Lastly, although your intentions are good, telling a friend with foot pain to buy your type of shoe because it helped you is like telling them to wear your glasses because you can see better with them!  We are not all alike-in regards to feet!

So to get the best success in “Comfort”, follow the above and have a professional help you with your needs.