The first known shoe was worn 40,000 years ago. It’s safe to assume that they were first worn as means of protecting the foot. Today’s shoes serve many other functions other than their original purpose. Styles and fashions have changed throughout history, but it is beyond the scope of this discussion to go into historical detail.
Let’s jump ahead to 1917, which marked the invention of the Keds sneaker. This was the first mass-marketed sneaker and marked the beginning of the modern sneaker era. Unless you’re looking to make a fashion statement, this is one of several shoes that should have remained in the history books. These shoes offer almost no arch support. The other such shoe, which causes me to cringe at the mere sight of them, is Toms shoes. You may as well just walk bare footed. I personally find both shoes hideous but that’s just my opinion.
I make it a point with almost all my patients to go over proper shoe and/or sandal selection. Quite often, the very reason my patients are experiencing pain is due to improper shoe selection. As such, getting the correct type and fit of shoe for specific activity or sport is a huge part of getting better, which I covered in depth in a recent post titled 6 Tips in Selecting the Correct Pair of Running Shoes.
I generally try to offer guidelines to patients to help them find the right fit for their shoes or sandals. Below are 10 Things to Consider When Choosing Shoes and Sandals that come directly from AOFAS, which I encourage:
- Sizes vary between shoe brands and styles. Don’t select shoes by the size marked inside the shoe. Judge the shoe by how it fits on your foot.
- Select a shoe that conforms as nearly as possible to the shape of your foot.
- Have your feet measured regularly. The size of your feet changes as you grow older. For women, it may change during pregnancy.
- Have BOTH feet measured. Most people have one foot that is larger than the other. Fit to the larger foot.
- Fit at the end of the day when your feet are largest.
- Stand during the fitting process and check that there is adequate space (3/8 to 1/2 inch) for your longest toe at the end of each shoe.
- Make sure the ball of the foot fits comfortably into the widest part of the shoe. If you have bunions or hammer toes, this is very important.
- Don’t purchase shoes that feel too tight, expecting them to “stretch” to fit.
- Make sure your heel fits comfortably in the shoe with a minimum of slippage.
- Walk in the shoe to make sure it fits and feels right.
It is a common misconception that supportive and comfortable shoes have to be “old people” or orthopedic shoes. There are several shoe store chains that have constantly good quality, attractive shoes. One of these is The Walking Company, which happens to carry many of my most recommended brands.
Every foot specialist will have his or her own favorite or recommended shoe/sneaker/sandal, but there are several brands, which stand out as the most commonly recommended shoes. Below is a list by shoe category that I commonly recommend:
Shoes: Clark, Ecco, Aetrex, Rockport, Merrell, Keen, Naot
Sneakers: New Balance, Brooks, Saucony, Asics.
Sandals: Keen, Ecco, Abeo (Made by The Walking Company), Aetrex, Olukai, Orthaheel, Birkenstock.
As a final note, I should tell you that I see more foot problems related to flat cheap flip flops than I do from wearing high heels.
Happy Shoe Shopping!
How Useful Was The Information On This Page