Both men and women benefit from shoes constructed from materials that breathe, which help keep the foot dry and less susceptible to foot fungus. The following steps may also be helpful:
- Take a tracing of your foot with you when you go shopping. Place any shoe you think you might buy on top of the tracing. If it's narrower or shorter than the tracing, don't even try it on.
- Wait until the afternoon to shop for shoes -- your foot naturally expands with use during the day and may swell in hot weather.
- Wear the same type of socks that you intend to wear with the shoes.
- Have the salesperson measure both of your feet -- and get measured every time you buy new shoes. Feet change with age, often growing larger and wider (as the accumulated weight they bear exacts its toll over time). If one foot is larger or wider than the other, buy a size that fits the larger foot.
- Stand in the shoes. Make sure you have at least a quarter- to a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. This provides enough room for your foot to press forward as you walk, without jamming your toes. Wiggle your toes to make sure there's enough room, and press on the top of the shoe gently to determine where your longest toe lies.
- Walk around in the shoes to determine how they feel. Is there enough room at the balls of the feet? Do the heels fit snugly, or do they pinch or slip off? Don't rationalize that the shoes just need to be "broken in" or that they'll stretch with time. Find shoes that fit from the start.
- Trust your own comfort level rather than a shoe's size or description. Sizes vary from one manufacturer to another. And no matter how comfortable an advertisement claims those shoes are, you're the real judge.
- Pay attention to width as well as length. If the ball of your foot feels compressed in a particular shoe, ask if it comes in a wider size. Buying shoes that are a half-size bigger -- but no wider -- won't necessarily solve the problem.
- Feel the inside of the shoes to see if they have any tags, seams, or other material that might irritate your foot or cause blisters.
- Turn the shoes over and examine the soles. Are they sturdy enough to provide protection from sharp objects? Do they provide any cushioning? Also, take the sole test as you walk around the shoe store: do the soles cushion against impact? Try to walk on hard surfaces as well as carpet to see how the shoe feels on both.
More Answers from James Ioli