We've all been there. It's the end of the day and the first thing you want to do when you get home is ditch your shoes. Whether you were wearing cute stilettos to the office, rigid hiking boots on the trail, or padded sneakers to the mall, your feet were probably killing you by the time you got home. What is it about shoes that is just so uncomfortable? Here are a few tips for finding comfort when you're on your feet.
Look for shoes with zero drop (flat). A shoe with any heel elevation will put unnecessary pressure on the ball of your foot and can cause pain after just a short amount of time. Having a flat sole also allows your foot to remain in it's natural position, just like if you were barefoot.
Free your toes. Most footwear on the market today (everything from running shoes, to casual and dress shoes) have a tapering toe box, which means that the toe area of the shoe is actually narrower than your toes themselves. This forces your toes into an unnatural position and causes discomfort. Over the long run, constantly restricting your toes can lead to deformities like hammertoes and bunions.
"The wide toe box allows you to spread your toes as you walk/run, and doing so has helped with the plantar fasciitis that I was struggling with. Thanks, SOM, for putting your hearts into producing a great shoe!"
-Anonymous product review
When buying a new pair of shoes, take the shoe liner test to find the best fit. Simply remove the insole (or sock liner) of the shoe and put it on the ground. Place your foot on top of the insole and make sure that your entire foot fits on it. Your foot and especially your toes should not hang over the edge of the insole.
A soft, flexible sole promotes natural foot function. Wearing shoes with a hard, rigid sole is not unlike wearing a cast on your foot. Since the rigid sole prevents your foot from being able to naturally propel itself forward, toe spring must be added to the shoe as compensation.
For maximum comfort, look for a shoe that is lightweight and flexible to mimic the feeling of being barefoot.
Now that you know what to look for in a comfortable shoe, get out there and explore the exciting world around you!