The ideal shoe
Despite the fact that the average person will walk the equivalent of four times around the world in their lifetime, footwear is rarely given the attention it deserves. In fact, the wrong choice of shoe is behind a vast number – perhaps even the majority – of foot problems. So, how do you choose the right footwear? With so many shoe types and styles on offer, it’s not always easy to know which is right for you. The perfect shoe, it hardly needs saying, varies from person to person. Most people put aesthetics high on their list of things they look for in a shoe, and this is reasonable enough. It’s natural that you want your shoes to look good. However, as the ‘wrong’ shoe can cause real problems with your feet, you should also take some basic practical and functional points into account. It may be obvious, for example, that a shoe too short or too narrow can lead to foot complaints such as pain in the joints, particularly those of the toes, as well as problems with the nails (this may not be so obvious), but shoes that are too wide allow excessive movement, which can also lead to foot problems. It’s also worth making sure that the toe box of your shoes has enough room, as toes spread and lengthen during walking and/or running. Also, the upper portion of the shoe should be made of material that’s both light and breathable in order to maintain comfort and minimise pressure on critical parts of the foot. The sole of the shoe should have an arch support, and the sole should - ideally - be removable. You should also remember that, to a certain extent, the ‘idealness’ of a shoe is relative to the use it’s intended for - an everyday work shoe, for example, will have different qualities to a tennis shoe...but what about high heels? Check out the post on high heels.